Data from the United Nations reflects a downfall in international aid to India for education by more than 26%, compared with a global downturn of 2%.
In 2017, India received $464 million while in 2016, the country received a good amount of $634 million. (A global education aid monitoring report by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO.) Being a four-year low number, UNESCO said 2017 numbers are likely to affect inclusive education for all.
“A drop in aid to education in the country will make the task of closing the (education) gap harder. International aid is vital in tackling some of the more persistent barriers to inclusive education for all," said Manos Antoninis, the key author of the monitoring report.
There was a 20% increase in aid to post-secondary education, which can be explained by the World Bank’s decision to double the funding amount. However, aid to secondary education fell by 80%. The International Development Association (IDA) has reduced its aid to India significantly; however, it still remains a top donor in terms of real numbers.
Good news is that the European Union and Germany have increased their contribution to India. Another key donor, the UK has been slashing its international aid with India getting just $7.5 million in 2017, reflecting a 10-year low. UNESCO states, “The one country whose aid seems to be declining is the UK, as it has fallen from a peak of $208 million in 2009 to $7.5 million in 2017,"
Germany tops the donor scoreboard for education - $2 billion in 2017
The US gave $1.5 billion
France gave $1.3 billion. It increased its funding by $207 million from 2016 to 2017.
The UN education agency reported that the number of out-of-school children in primary sections in India has declined from 17% in 2006 to 5% in 2015, while the number of out-of-school adolescents in lower secondary schools has declined from 22% to 9% during the period.
“Despite rapid improvements in India’s education sector in recent years, there is still a core of hard-to-reach populations," the agency said.
“Both the central and state governments spend more than 3% of gross domestic product on education, and there is a clear focus on school education in terms of both financial and policy initiatives," said an official.
Thus, for the last couple of year, India has been asserting that its gross enrolment ratio in early school stage is 98%, reflecting near universal access to elementary education.
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