A Fresh Approach to Education Funding

Worldwide, aid commitments to education are declining at an alarming rate. Innovative financing is one promising way help.

Around the world, access to education has dramatically increased over the past decade. Yet at least 57 million children remain out of school, and 250 million who are currently enrolled are not learning at grade level. 

Despite this crisis, aid commitments to education are declining at an alarming rate. The funding gap for achieving quality basic education is estimated at $26 billion, not including pre-primary and secondary education. 

Innovative financing is one promising way to reduce that gap.

What is “innovative financing”?

“Innovative financing” refers to ways of generating public and private funding that will augment traditional forms of international aid (such as donor funds) for global public goods such as education, health, and addressing climate change. This form of financing can create fresh streams of revenue through bond issuances, taxation (for example, proposed levies on airline tickets and financial transactions), public-private partnerships, and new approaches to increasing existing resources (such as debt buy-downs and commitment of future revenues from natural resources). 

Why do we need innovative financing for education?

The international community has acknowledged that traditional approaches to financing are insufficient to fill the gap in achieving quality basic education. That’s where innovative financing can help, as it has in the health sector.  

For example, UNITAID, a global health initiative established by the governments of Brazil, Chile, France, Norway, and the United Kingdom, has raised over $2.5 billion for health projects worldwide through an airline ticket levy collected in several UNITAID member countries.  The health sector has also benefited from the International Finance Facility for Immunization, a public-private partnership that has generated $4.5 billion for vaccines by issuing bonds against donor pledges. 

What lessons can be learned from innovative financing in other sectors?

As demonstrated in other sectors, innovative financing can accomplish a variety of objectives. It can be used to mobilize financing (such as taxation or bond issuances) and to raise the visibility of a sector or a priority within a sector (for example the RED campaign, which raises funds for and awareness of HIV and AIDS). Innovative financing can also engage a broader range of partners and target resources to scale specific interventions (for example mobile technology). 

These experiences are all applicable to the education sector, where innovative financing could be used to raise the profile of education or a specific priority such as girls’ or early childhood education. It could also be used to promote innovation by harnessing experiences from the private sector that can increase the efficiency of school construction or the delivery of materials to classrooms.

How are the Open Society Foundations supporting innovative financing development?

Since 2010, the Open Society Education Support Program has been shaping the debate on innovative financing for education  and exploring potential mechanisms (such as debt conversion development bonds) for improving the availability of resources for public education.  We have supported the work of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development’s Education Task Force, a convening of 64 countries and 38 international organizations.

We engage partners such as the Innovative Finance Foundation, Results for Development Institute, and D. Capital Partners to advance the discussion and assess the feasibility of prospective financing instruments. We support research at the global level and in the developing world, and build the skills of education and finance practitioners through a summer program at Central European University and workshops in southern Africa. 

We have worked closely with the Global Partnership for Education, a multilateral group that has channelled over $3 billion of aid to support developing countries in building quality education systems. The partnership is exploring ways to leverage bilateral contributions to buy down developing country debt, enabling governments to commit more funding to the education sector. 

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Education mirrors society. Education must be relevant to life. We are what our education has made us.

As co-founder of a non-profit organization that has been in East and West Africa over the past 30 years, I would like to know if AHEAD, Inca could submit a proposal for funding an education-health project that helps youth obtain vocational skills?

Taia Development Programme (TDP) is registered with the Ministry of local Government and rural Development, Republic of Sierra Leone. It has an executive of eleven (11) people. There are six (6) women and five (5) men in the executive. The organization comprised board members of five (5) of which three (3) shall form the quorum for decisions. The general membership of Taia Development Programme (TDP) is five hundred (500) of which two hundred (250) are women and one hundred and fifty (150) are youths. There are one hundred (100) men in the general membership. The organization works on the promotion of Women, children and youth rights. The organization is a net work of other national organizations in Sierra Leone. The organization has also extended it coordinating efforts to women’s world summit foundation (WWSF) , a Switzerland based international coalition with United Nations (UN) consultative status (ECOSOC, UNFPA and DPI) working on women, children and youth rights. Our organization has joined globalgiving foundation, an online fund raising portal for grass root organizations around. Our organization joined globalgiving foundation in June, 2013. The first challenge weeks we took part was in Dec, 2013. We were to raise $5,000 to have a permanent site on globalgiving project portal. We fell drastically below the $5,000 threshold that was to qualify us to have a permanent site at globalgiving project portal. But due to our commitment, dedication, participations, we are giving another chance to participate. Can you please donate to our organization to educate 100 disabled children in Sierra Leone? Or can you please assist our organization to reach the $5,000 threshold? Can the open society trust education section donates, $25, $50, $100, $200, $300, $500 etc to help us reach our threshold or educate 100 children with disability in Sierra Leone.
Best Regards,
Harding Mac-Boima
Project Leader

good afternoon greetings from Uganda
i would really want to know how OSIEA can help me join their scholarship or education grant. i really like what OSIEA is doing but in Uganda especially, they just came & disappeared without a trace. does it have any thing to do with the youth action fund? please help me know because am a rights activist for youth and women in particular in NORTHERN Uganda. can our society in the names of NORTHERN UGANDA DEBATES SOCIETY be funded under any of your grants? it will be a pleasure to get back from you.
thanks

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