RESULTS Education Campaign Hits Tokyo


October 19, 2012
Tony Baker

In recent years, World Bank support to basic education through the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s “Fund for the Poorest,” has been increasing overall. Nevertheless, IDA investments in basic education have been decreasing in many of the countries most off-track from reaching the education MDGs, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, there are growing trends in which IDA support to basic education is decreasing in countries that are part of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the membership to which indicates a particular need and readiness for additional education support.

RESULTS raised the flag about these trends in its 2010 report World Bank Education Financing: Less or More for the Poor in IDA 16?, and that September the World Bank pledged to increase IDA support to basic education by $750 million over the 2011-15 period. RESULTS applauded this announcement in a press release, World Bank Corrects Course with $750 Million to Education.

However, as RESULTS advocates know, it is questionable if the World Bank is indeed staying the course on its 2010 pledge to basic education (see recent RESULTS report Staying the Course? The World Bank’s 2010 Pledge to Basic Education).

The pledge’s details — a numbers game which has set pledge targets so low that a pledge to “increase” support has actually become a pledge to decrease it — have inspired some to write op-eds and letters to the editor calling for the World Bank’s new president, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, to step in to set the record straight.

Last week, RESULTS took this campaign on the road to the World Bank Annual Meetings in Tokyo. As part of the Annual Meetings’ Civil Society Policy Forum, RESULTS organized a policy session entitled “Basic Education and the World Bank’s 2010 Pledge.”  As it turned out, this would be the only policy session on education at the week-long Civil Society Policy Forum.

With speakers from the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education, Oxfam International, the Japanese NGO Network for Education, as well as RESULTS, the session examined three areas:

  • Recent trends in IDA support to basic education, paying specific attention to complements formed by IDA funds and GPE grants;
  • Progress on the 2010 pledge; and
  • Mechanisms which may be put in place to help increase the effectiveness of IDA support to basic education.

 

Check out what the speakers had to say:

 

April Golden, Operations Analyst, Global Partnership for Education

“Around 2008, we began to notice that for many GPE partner countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, World Bank IDA allocations…for education were decreasing and, in some cases, disappearing all together. … Over the past decade, GPE developing country partners in this region increased their domestic financing for education by approximately 6% per annum…. Yet we are not seeing the same commitment from Bank country directors in terms of the allocation of IDA for education in GPE partner countries.”

 

Tony_Baker_Tokyo_2012″ height=Tony Baker, Education for All Campaign Manager, RESULTS

From 2006 to 2010, IDA support to basic education totaled $4.9 billion. Now, this pledge to ‘increase’ IDA support to basic education aims to total $4.5 billion from 2011 to 2015. … The refusal to acknowledge the difference between an increase and a decrease, up from down, is unacceptable. … It is time that the pledge is clarified to commit a total of $6.8 billion from 2011 to 2015 so as to genuinely accelerate progress towards the education MDGs (Millennium Development Goals).”

 

Carolyn Reynolds, Senior Communications Officer, World Bank

The numbers are quite staggering — $29 billion that the Bank has provided for education since 2000. About two-thirds of that has…gone towards basic education. … [The pledge’s] baseline is $742 million. … That is the pledge — an additional $750 million over the baseline. … In terms of pursuing GPE co-financing…we agree that’s a goal. It’s not something we can make happen in an automatic way, but it’s a discussion we have country by country with the ministers of finance and partners.”

 

More coverage of these issues and the RESULTS policy session in Tokyo can be found in a blog from Dan Jones, Campaigns Manager at RESULTS UK.

 

 

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