Dr Elyas Abdi Jillaow
Director General, Ministry of Education, Kenya

For sustainability, developing countries need to increase their domestic spending. It is up to them to finance their education budgets. International donors will not be here forever. We have gone to great lengths to show the results of the funding by monitoring, constantly evaluating projects and programs and providing feedback. We assess skills, so it’s not just about whether kids are going to school, but also what is going on in classrooms to see that learning is taking place.

Samer Al-Samarrai
Senior Economist, World Bank

You need more resources in some countries, but there is also a big program to improve efficiency and fairness of spending. If you look at government spending forecasts and the impact of the pandemic on households and aid, it’s going to be a very difficult few years for education. Perhaps there are opportunities to focus on how to ensure that resources are better spent.

Gulzar Natarajan
Officer, Indian Administrative Service; secretary, finance, government of Andhra Pradesh

In my 22 years of public life, education is by far the most difficult public policy challenge to solve, especially learning outcomes in schools. Even when the teacher and the students are in the classroom, learning does not happen. We need a unique focus on interventions that are directly relevant to improving classroom instruction and to use public spending and donor money to focus on that. It’s good to hear about small pilot projects, but if we want to dramatically improve learning outcomes, we need to think about what can be done on a large scale.

Obiageli Ezekwesili
Senior Economic Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative

We need to look at the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing funding. There is a weak constituency for reform in many developing countries because the middle class has withdrawn from public education. We really have to integrate a very strong demand for quality public education to ensure government accountability. We must put human capital at the center of economic development strategies. We need to generate the data to link human development, especially education, to improvements in the global economy.

Jamie Drummond
Co-founder, ONE campaign

Until not so long ago, education was a sector that looked at itself more than others, talked to itself and was a bit insular. The more we empower local communities to hold local communities to account, the more taxes they will pay that will improve services such as education and health. The middle classes have had to use health services in new ways recently and have discovered how problematic they are. Hopefully, they will engage more now in improving these services. This is essential for sustained progress.

Maki Katsuno-Hayashikawa
Director, Education 2030 Division, Unesco

We have been considering a mechanism for global cooperation to move towards better alignment of policy with funding, both internal and external, as well as technical needs. We still need to work with our partners to achieve a system of mutual accountability around aid. One idea is to have a platform where all donors share successful experiences in aligning their programs with national priorities.

Justin van fleet
President of the Theyworld charity; Executive Director, Global Business Coalition for Education

We ignore the elephant in the room that we still need at least $ 75 billion a year to fund education. We are currently mobilizing $ 15 billion from the international community, so there is a great void to fill.

Justin sandefur
Principal Investigator, Center for Global Development

Spending more on schools and getting more children to attend is a good investment. I am concerned that my colleagues will quickly turn to the need to improve efficiency, instead of generally arguing for a sector that has high returns. I’m not sure we have ready-made investments to improve pedagogy, but we are doing it to get more children into school: make it free. We have witnessed notable failures of private operators to improve learning outcomes. Some reduce costs in the short term, but by paying teachers less. We cut our noses to mock our faces by making education less remunerative and less attractive.

Beef Liesbet
Director, Education Commission

The private sector has often been a black sheep that some have equated with the private provision and commercialization of education. The company is a skills seeker but is not part of the discussion. Government leaders are not pressured to improve education, although the availability of skills is essential. We lack constituencies that we can mobilize to fight for more resources. Why are we not more successful and mobilizing resources for this critical sector? The answer lies in the lack of constructive relationships with people outside of education.

Alice P Albright
Managing Director, Global Partnership for Education

The education sector is at an existential moment. Before the pandemic, we weren’t able to attract enough money. . . and given the prospect of aid and economic pressures on national budgets, every dollar must count. What we are hearing from countries is that they want to work closely with us to identify systems-based solutions to determine how best to deliver and implement education.

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