‘Education budget slashed in two-thirds of poorer countries’

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Washington, Feb 23 | Despite additional funding needs, two-thirds of low- and lower-middle-income countries have cut their public education budgets since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

The Education Finance Watch 2021, jointly released by the World Bank and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that education budgets are not adjusting proportionately to the challenges brought about by Covid-19, especially in poorer countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

In comparison, only one-third of upper-middle and high-income countries have reduced their budgets, the report showed, adding that these budget cuts have been “relatively small thus far.”

“But there is a danger that future cuts will be larger, as the pandemic continues to take its economic toll, and fiscal positions worsen,” it added.

The annual report noted that these differing trends imply a significant widening of the “already large spending disparities” seen between low- and high-income countries.

“The learning poverty crisis that existed before Covid-19 is becoming even more severe, and we are also concerned about how unequal the impact is,” Mamta Murthi, World Bank vice president for human development, said in a statement.

“External financing is key to support the education opportunities of the world’s poorest,” said Stefania Giannini, assistant director-general for education at UNESCO.

“Yet donor countries are likely — and some have already begun — to shift their budget away from aid to domestic priorities. Health and other emergencies are also competing for funds,” Giannini said. “We foresee a challenging environment for countries reliant on education aid.”

UNESCO estimates that education aid may fall by $2 billion from its peak in 2020 and not return to 2018 levels for another six years.

Source: IANS

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Global Strategist and Philanthropist Drummi Bhatt returns to her homeland to bring about a vernacular infotainment content revolution

Global Strategist and Philanthropist Drummi Bhatt returns to her homeland to bring about a vernacular infotainment content revolution

Drummi Bhatt has successfully donned many hats including that of a global strategy professional, mentor, and investor to early-stage startups encouraging women entrepreneurship, and a philanthropist.

Drummi currently leads Market Intelligence and Strategy team at Mitsubishi Power, USA building corporate-level strategies for global markets. Drummi is also the founder of KarmaKonnect, a Woman and Rural Empowerment Non-Profit Organisation which works for projects in remote rural, tribal, and conflict areas.

Her philanthropy work has taken her to various corners of India, including, far end corners of Leh, Ladakh, Telangana, and remote areas of Chambal. During these visits, she got mesmerized by culturally rich, vernacular, and diverse, the true “Bharat”.

During her interaction across the country, she got enchanted by the whirlwind of talent residing across Bharat, which is not restricted to a language, city, or just tier-1 cities but is found in abundance all across tier-2, tier-3 cities, and rural-tribal clusters.

With OTT platforms ruling the world in 2020, Drummi decided to bring her strategic insights and data analytics strength to this field by joining hands with seasoned entrepreneurs, Rahul Narvekar and Narendra Firodia, to launch its kind, vernacular OTT platform, Letsflix.

In 2019, Drummi, Rahul, and Narendra have successfully launched India’s first vernacular infotainment app, LetsUp, which now caters to 1.5 million users and in 7 vernacular languages, a feat achieved by none. The trio has now been passionately working towards creating and delivering vernacular content for every viewer in India with Letsflix.

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