UNESCO says money spent on education does not match its importance

Priyadarshani Joshi, a research officer with UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report team, says the amount spent on funding for education does not match the critical aspect of education.

No one will argue that education is not important, “but money does not seem to add up,” Joshi told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia last Friday, referring to a GEM report released by the United Nations in April.

According to the 2019 edition of the GEM report, approximately $ 4.7 trillion is spent annually on education worldwide, of which only 0.5% is spent in low-income countries.

Joshi said that in the long run, the GEM report will show how the gap in annual funding required for basic education “matches three days of military spending.”

Training or empowerment of women, education is one of the most cost effective ways to empower their community.

Priyadarshani Joshi

UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report

‘Sexual Consequences’

“Education is one of the most expensive ways to train or empower women in their communities,” said Joshi, who emphasized that women in low-income countries are unequally affected by inadequate education funding.

It was born during the Covid-19 epidemic, because boys and girls in developing countries did not face the same level of danger when they closed schools, he added.

Girls face “gender-based consequences” such as lack of access to electronic devices, limited time use and the risk of early pregnancy, she said.

Although the gender gap in school enrollment and attendance has narrowed over the past two decades, illiteracy among women in developing countries is still a problem.

Arun Shankar | AFP | Getty Images

In countries like Bangladesh, Jordan and Pakistan, parents are reluctant to give girls access to their smartphones, saying “boys had some good access … which could help them continue their learning.”

She said education for girls requires “very basic things”, such as good textbooks, gender-sensitive training and leadership role modeling, valued at “millions and billions, which could potentially add trillions to the global economy.” “

Teachers have also been forced to close schools because many were forced to quit their jobs or their salaries were cut.

“Education is a very feminine profession. So teachers in many countries have really suffered,” said Joshi, who explained how countries with high private market share in education – such as India – have been given less of a “major disruption in losing or gaining jobs”. . “

Illiteracy

The gender gap in school enrollment and attendance has narrowed over the past two decades, but illiteracy among women is still a problem in developing countries.

In 2020, an estimated 771 million adults lack basic literacy skills, with 63% of all illiterate adults being women, the report said.

Central and South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa had the largest gender gap in adult literacy.

“Slow progress in raising literacy rates means, to be exact, the number of illiterate people has changed very little,” UNESCO said.

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