Kenya is staring at huge gaps in education funding when learning resumes as reports indicate that donor support will shrink as a result of recession caused by Covid-19 pandemic.
Unesco’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report reveals that the global aid to education is likely to decline, posing a threat to the recovery of the sector from the unprecedented disruption caused by the pandemic.This year alone, the education sector was allocated Sh505.2 billion, being the biggest recipient of the 2020/21 national budget.
The sector receives huge funding from the exchequer annually with a number of donors chipping in to plug the deficits.In basic education, Kenya has benefited from a multi-billion shilling School Improvement Project (SIP) project that has resulted in improved performance of candidates.
The SIP programme is a component for the overall Sh8.8 billion project called Primary Education Development (Priede) funded by Global Partnership for Education (GPE) under the supervision of the World Bank.The Ministry of Education has also made a request for some Sh1.5 billion funding by the GPE to assist in post Covid-19 preparations, which will include fumigation and improvement of learning institutions.
The Unesco report shows that Kenya received Sh87 billion education funding from the World Bank and the US government by end of 2018.
However, the overall funding is set to reduce tremendously under the projected 22 per cent drop that is likely to hit many countries.
“Just as aid to education seemed to have recovered its lost momentum, the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to take us back several years,” said Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO Director-General.She said the havoc caused by the coronavirus will push countries to require more aid.
“Countries will need additional funding to respond to the pandemic and education must be prioritised both in terms of aid and domestic allocations to avoid a setback to our global education goal, SDG 4,” she said.
Another report by Unesco, says domestic funding of the education sector will also suffer following extraordinary measures being taken to mitigate pandemic.
The report dubbed ‘anticipated impact of Covid-19 on public expenditures on education and implication’ says that the economic impact of the pandemic is anticipated to exceed that of the 2008 global financial crisis.
Already many countries are setting up or scaling up distance learning platforms (including through traditional media such as TV and radio), re-designing scheduled exams/ assessments and providing extra sanitary measures in schools (if schools are not closed).
Other countries are providing additional teacher training and support and also supporting to parents and families.
“The additional resources required for these measures can be substantial for any country, but especially for countries with resource constraints and fragile economies. Prolonged school closure in many countries is putting a significant strain on education systems throughout the world,” reads the report.
According to Unesco, the pandemic is likely to have a more damaging impact than the financial crisis of 2007-08 as the recession affecting the top 10 bilateral donors for education is expected to be more than twice as severe.