Every year, from April 26th – 30th, the world comes together to celebrate the Global Action Week for Education (GAWE). It is during this week that all educational stakeholders are reminded that education financing is crucial and more specially during and post the Covid-19 times. This year, 2021, the world celebrated GAWE at a time when education budgets around the world had been reduced as a result of the pandemic. It was noted, therefore, that securing an increase in the public financing of education to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all is very much needed.
According to the Education Financing Watch (EFW), education budgets are not adjusting appropriately to the many challenges that have been brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic. This is especially true for poorer countries. In the last decade, government education spending had increased steadily but the pandemic has had a huge impact to public finances. In addition to this, the prospects of maintaining the commendable increase have greatly declined. About two-thirds of low- and lower-middle-income countries have, in fact, cut their public education budgets since the onset of the pandemic. In the EFW report, it is noted that as compared to upper middle income and high-income countries, only one third have reduced their budgets. This is relatively small but there is a looming danger that it will grow to bigger cuts as the pandemic continues to have an economic impact. The differing trends are actually an implication of the existing spending disparities between the low and high income countries.
As the world continues to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative that governments reconsider the decision to reduce education budgets as education is more important in these unprecedented times than before. There is need to educate children to have better education to combat any future threats to the Globe. This is the time for governments to increase their education budgets.