Lower-middle income countries slashed education budgets post COVID-19: Report
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: Education budgets were cut by 65 per cent of low and lower-middle-income countries after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic while only 33 per cent of high and upper-middle-income countries did so, according to a report by the World Bank.
The report, compiled in collaboration with UNESCO's Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report said the current levels of government spending in low and lower-middle-income countries fall short of those required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
"In order to understand the short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education budgets, information was collected for a sample of 29 countries across all regions. The sample represents about 54 per cent of the world's school and university-aged population. The information collected was then verified with World Bank country teams," the report said.
"Responding to the COVID-19 crisis requires additional spending to adapt schools for compliance with the necessary measures to control contagion and to fund programs to make up for the losses in learning students experienced while schools were closed," it added.
The sample includes three low-income countries (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Uganda); 14 lower-middle-income countries (Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Tanzania, Ukraine, Uzbekistan); 10 upper-middle-income nations (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Jordan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Turkey); and two high-income countries (Chile, Panama).
"The following countries have education shares below 10 per cent and therefore are likely to have other main financing sources besides budget assigned by the central government: Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Russia," the report stated.
"It is not clear that countries that have seen a decline in their education budget will be able to cover these costs increased during the pandemic alongside the regular increases in funding needed to support growing school-age populations.