In a welcomed decision, on 13 November, the European Parliament resolved that “the European Union and the Member States, in accordance with SDG 4.1 and Article 26 of the UDHR, must not use ODA [overseas development assistance] to support private, commercial educational establishments.”
Reflecting on this ground-breaking resolution, Education International General Secretary David Edwards said “SDG 4.1 unambiguously refers to the right of all girls and boys completing free primary and secondary education. In the interest of every child, no matter where they live or their background, financing must be used to strengthen and expand the provision of free, universally accessible, quality public education for all. In a world where so many children are denied access to education, allocating scarce funding to anything but public education is totally unacceptable.“
International financing institutions should take note
This decision is very timely in the context of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the global fund dedicated to supporting education in developing countries, actively considering the financing of non-state actors. The EU is the largest funder of the GPE.
It is also timely in the context of the proposed establishment of another international financing institution, the Education Outcomes Fund (EOF). Reports indicate that the EOF aims to support non state actors across Africa and the Middle East. In doing so it would transfer tax-payer funds intended for the well-being of children to private investors who seek to profit from education.