According to a report by the World Bank, the education budgets for the low and lower-middle-income countries were cut by a massive 65 per cent after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report which was prepared in collaboration with UNESCO's Global Monitoring (GEM) Report stated that the current levels of spending in such countries fell short of those required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2015, seventeen interlinked goals were adopted by the members of the United Nation. Collectively, these goals act as a blueprint for the member countries to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality and climate change.
The report was prepared to analyse and understand the short term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on education budgets. A sample size of 29 countries included three low-income countries ( Afghanistan, Ethiopia and 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," it added.
It further pointed out that at a time when there was an urgent need for allocating adequate funds to allow schools and educational institutions to reopen safety and to function as per the guidelines, about half of the countries in the sample size had cut their education budgets.
"This scarcely bodes well for the future, when macroeconomic conditions are expected to worsen," the report said.
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