GCE response to the Education Financing Commission’s report ‘The Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World’

The Global Campaign for Education broadly welcomes the report of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, The Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World, in a response released on the day of the report’s launch. It is a significant contribution to the efforts being made by the global education community to address the serious shortfall in financing for the right to education around the world.

The Commission has picked up on some important issues for example around the need for increases in the size of government budgets overall, greater shares being allocated to education, more effective spending linked to equity and greater transparency and accountability. The report has the right level of ambition in showing that the sustainable development goal on education is achievable. However, there is insufficient focus on ensuring all future financing mechanisms are harmonised, long term and predictable.

The Commission could have been much more explicit in calling for public money to be spent only on the central challenge and obligation of adequately funding free, quality public education. The report is not explicit enough in opposing subsidies to for-profit private providers even where the evidence is clear that these undermine equity. The report leaves too much scope for different interpretations of some of its recommendations.

GCE particularly welcomes the focus on equity and ensuring that budgeted funds reach the most marginalised. However we note with disappointment the lack of emphasis on the full spectrum of lifelong learning, which leaves questions over financing for adult and youth education. This is surprising, particularly given the Commission’s access to a dedicated Youth Panel and its recognition of the need for people to acquire new skills throughout life.

GCE shares the report’s belief that maintaining political momentum is crucial, but we have concerns regarding the creation of new architecture to do this. All parties, including Member States, UN agencies and civil society actors, adopted the Education 2030 Framework for Action after years of negotiation, where a new architecture was agreed, in particular the setting up of the SDG4-Education 2030 Steering Committee. Similarly, the role of the UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Education, which has been of great importance in past years, must be acknowledged. GCE considers it crucial to build on the current architecture, in order to foster full implementation of the SDG Agenda.

There is clearly much to be welcomed in this ambitious report, not least the positive tone that emphasises that dramatic progress on the right to education is achievable if leaders at all levels are held to account and if adequate financing is raised and effectively used.

GCE President, Camilla Croso, stated:
“GCE hopes that the Finance Commission’s report will help to boost the size and predictability of both domestic and international resources, harnessing these for the strengthening of public education systems. Ultimately, States must be focused on the critical task of improving the quality and equity of free public education and we all need to recognise the need to curb commercial and profit motives that detract from the realisation of the right to education”.

GCE’s response to the Education Financing Commission can be downloaded in English here.

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