Despite solid progress towards the global goal of universal primary education since the Millennium Conference and the Dakar World Education Forum in 2000, it is likely that the world will miss its target of having all children in school by 2015. This Project Briefing finds that part of the problem is that few donors have delivered on their collective promise to support national programmes with increased and more effective financial support. The most recent Global Monitoring Report estimates a $16.2 billion annual external financing gap between available domestic resources and what is needed to reach the EFA basic education goals in low-income countries. Current aid levels address only 15% of that external financing need and are rarely directed to the countries in the greatest need (UNESCO, 2010). The main obstacles to greater funding include donor priorities, aid architecture, and the lack of evidence and advocacy. More support for the sector requires aid effectiveness, innovations in financing, better evidence, and reaching out to politicians, business leaders and new partners.
Liesbet Steer and Geraldine Baudienville