w 1GOAL: Financial Crisis Now Hits Schools and Teachers in Poor Countries
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PRESS RELEASE
Financial Crisis Now Hits Schools and Teachers in Poor Countries
9 November 2010
Financial Crisis Now Hits Schools and Teachers in Poor Countries

* Education Fund runs out & Mozambique education system’s bailed-out*


The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) today revealed that the impact of the financial crisis is forcing many poor countries to consider closing schools and sacking teachers as funds in the worlds’ only global education financing body – the Education For All Fast Track Initiative (FTI) – dry up.  At a meeting in Madrid this week, representatives will allocate the last remaining $80 million in the FTI funds – less than 10% of  what would be as much as  $1 bn in requests by twenty of the poorest countries in 2011.

This comes as Mozambique’s education sector, which has made remarkable progress over the past 10 years, narrowly avoided having to cut 20% of its education funding and reduce by half its new school building programme following a last minute and much welcomed bail-out by the World Bank which provided $56 million.

GCE, a coalition of 100 organisations in 100 countries including Oxfam, Education International, ActionAid and Save the Children, argue that Mozambique is the first clear example of how a double whammy of food and financial crises are hitting poor countries education systems.  The food crisis, which led to riots in Maputo in September, forced the Mozambique government to divert funds from the education budget to implement food subsidies, affecting thousands of teachers and almost 100,000 pupils.  The Netherlands, previously the leading donor in the country, is withdrawing its support for the sector from 2011 and Denmark will follow suit in 2013.

Kailash Satyarthi, President of the Global Campaign for Education said:

“This news confirms our worst fears and shows that unless radical action is taken at the donors meeting in Madrid this week, millions of children will have the school gates shut on them and teachers will be out of work. The progress made in the last decade is on the brink of being reversed which will mean more children could join the 69 million children out of school.”

GCE fears that this is the start of a trend and that similar problems could spread across Africa. Shortage of funds means that Rwanda’s request for $100 million – which would help make secondary education free and improve the quality of teacher provision across the country – will not be met in full.  Haiti, which lost 4,000 schools as a result of the earthquake and is the third worst place in the world to be a school child, is expected to approach the FTI with a funding request in 2011. African countries such as Ghana and Kenya, who have 900,000 and 750,000 children out of school respectively, are also expected to submit funding requests to the body.

A recent round of high-level lobbying by FTI in donor capitals around the world has not resulted in any new funding to meet poor countries’ education needs.  The Global Campaign for Education is calling on the leading donors including France, Germany, US, Japan, UK and Netherlands to make good on their promises on education and for developing countries to prioritise education investment from their national budgets.

Satyathi added:

“We welcome the World Bank’s investment but it’s a great tragedy that they are having to bail out poor countries schools with emergency support because western donors withdrew their support. If $1 trillion can be found to bail out the banks, surely $16 billion a year can be found to ensure that children’s’ futures are not jeopardised.”

The campaign is backing the creation of a Financial Transaction Tax, more commonly known as the Robin Hood Tax, to help a range of anti-poverty initiatives which could raise as much as $200 billion each year, and be used to ensure predictable funding to put millions of children into school.

Max Lawson, Senior Policy Adviser at Oxfam said: “'The financial crisis created by billionaire bankers is hurting the poorest hardest, with aid cuts meaning millions of children remain without the fundamental human right to an education. A tax on the banks could end this and put every child in school'

Since joining the Fast Track Initiative in 2003 and abolishing school fees in 2004, Mozambique has made incredible progress getting children into school. The number of newly enrolled children nearly doubled between 2002 and 2010 from 3.3 million to 5.3 million but still more than 650,000 children in Mozambique cannot go to school today. Since 2008, Mozambique has hired 20,000 new teachers and built 3,000 new classrooms, with support from donor countries participating in the Fast Track Initiative.

ENDS

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1GOAL is a campaign seizing the power of football to get all children into school and learning. Run by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), 1GOAL mobilised millions to help ensure Education For All is a lasting legacy of the FIFA World Cup. We continue to call on world leaders to make education a reality for 69 million children by 2015.