UNESCO says money spent on education does not match its importance

The amount spent on financing education does not match the view that education is important, says UNESCO

The amount spent on financing education does not match the view that education matters, said Priyadarshani Joshi, a research officer with UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report team.

No one would say education isn’t important, “but the money doesn’t seem to add up,” Joshi told CNBC. Asian squawk box last Friday when he spoke about the GEM report released by the United Nations agency in April.

About $4.7 trillion is spent annually on education worldwide, with just 0.5% spent in low-income countries, according to the 2019 Edition of the GEM Report.

Joshi said that for a long time, the GEM Report would show how the annual funding gap needed for basic education could “compare to three days of military spending.”

Education is one of the most cost-effective ways to train or empower women to empower their communities.

Priya Darshan Joshi

UNESCO World Education Monitoring Report

‘Gender Consequences’

“Education is one of the most cost-effective ways to train or empower women, to empower their communities,” said Joshi, who emphasized that women in low-income countries are disproportionately affected by inadequate funding for education. education.

That was confirmed during the covid-19 pandemic, as children in developing countries did not face the same level of setbacks when schools closed, he added.

The girls faced “gendered consequences” such as lack of access to electronic devices, limited use of time and risks of early pregnancy, she said.

Despite the narrowing of the gender gap in school enrollment and attendance over the past two decades, illiteracy among women in developing countries remains a problem.

Arun Sankar | Afp | fake images

While parents in countries like Bangladesh, Jordan and Pakistan were reluctant to give girls access to smartphones, “boys had slightly better access… which may have helped with their continuity of learning.” .

He said “very basic things” are needed in girls’ education, such as better textbooks, gender-sensitive training and leadership role models, worth “a few million and a few billion that could probably add trillions.” to the global economy”. .”

Teachers also bore the brunt of school closures, with many forced out of their jobs or suffering a pay cut.

“Teaching is a very feminized profession. So in many countries, teachers really suffered,” said Joshi, explaining how countries with a high share of the private education market, such as India, suffered major disruptions when teachers “lost their jobs or are running out of work.” pay less.”

Illiteracy

The gender gap in school enrollment and attendance has narrowed over the past two decades, but illiteracy among women in developing countries remains a problem.

Approximately 771 million adults lacked basic literacy skills in 2020, with women accounting for 63% of all illiterate adults, according to the report.

The gender gap in adult literacy was greatest in Central and Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The slow progress in increasing literacy rates means that, in absolute terms, the number of illiterate people has barely changed,” UNESCO said.

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