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New white paper calls to prioritize education amid crisis, including $9b to fund EOF and others

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

New Save Our Future white paper, Averting an education catastrophe for the world’s children, calls for prioritization of education amid crisis, including $9 billion to fully fund EOF and other organizations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the global learning crisis. At the height of the pandemic, 1.6 billion children and youth were out of school, putting us on the edge of a potential catastrophe. To help unite world leaders around the actions needed to curb the growth of this tragedy, the Education Outcomes Fund (EOF) has joined with members of the Save Our Future campaign to produce a landmark new white paper that examines the heightened challenges to education, and calls for concrete actions to solve them.

Save Our Future is a global movement aimed at amplifying the voices of children and young people calling to safeguard their education and collective futures. The coming together of global education organizations to produce this joint document is an unprecedented collaboration and a powerful show of unity in the face of one of the greatest challenges of our time.

The movement has identified a set of three interlinked shocks to education: the pre-existing learning crisis; the exacerbating effect that the financial impacts of COVID-19 will have on the crisis; and the direct impacts of COVID-19-related school closures.

Save our Future—Averting an education catastrophe for the world’s children, highlights how the pandemic has affected the education of 90% of the world’s children, deepening a global learning crisis that impacted millions of children even before the pandemic. In low-income countries, a staggering 90% of children are in "learning poverty," meaning that they are not even learning to read a basic text by the age of 10. This number stands to increase amid COVID-19 unless drastic action is taken.

However, if education is placed at the front and center of COVID-19 responses, it can be a critical part of the solution to the crisis: if children receive the effective foundational education they deserve, they can fulfil the roles needed by society to build more resilient systems for the future. The whitepaper highlights:

“Protecting and upholding the human right to education is the key to addressing the economic, health, environmental, and social crises we face—and the opportunity to build back better.”

The white paper was launched today at the Global Education Meeting hosted by UNESCO. It calls for consensus around priority actions to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) of quality education for all, and to obtain high-level political commitments to deliver critical actions by the end of 2021 to help close the gap in education funding and use existing resources more effectively.

  1. Prioritize reopening schools, deliver vital services to children, and treat the workforce as frontline workers.

  2. Make education inclusive, engaging, and adaptive.

  3. Strengthen the education workforce.

  4. Focus education technology (EdTech) where it is proven to be effective and most equitable.

  5. Protect education budgets and target public spending at those left furthest behind.

  6. Mobilize international resources to fully finance education.

  7. Use resources better by improving evidence generation, coordination, alignment, and effectiveness.

In addition to these actions, we are proud to join Save Our Future in its call for a $9 billion commitment to fully fund the Education Outcomes Fund (EOF), the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) and the multilateral agencies engaged in the report to ensure that we can scale effective solutions to keep children learning. Our collective efforts to mainstream proven mechanisms such as outcomes funding will enable children to not just return to school, but to improve their learning through measurable and accountable approaches.

Only with these commitments can we “build back better” and collectively improve education for children across the globe, many of whom already were impacted by an education system in crisis long before the pandemic. Without these moves, it will be impossible to achieve and sustain not only SDG 4, but also other SDGs such as climate action and decent work and economic growth, as society will not have the required skillsets.

Save Our Future is led by a core hub of organizations including EOF, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, the Asian Development Bank, BRAC, Education Above All, Education Cannot Wait, the Education Commission, the Global Partnership for Education, Save the Children, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, the World Bank, and the World Food Programme in partnership with over 600 organizations and youth.

You can read the full report here.


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