The World Bank and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have issued a joint report revealed that two-thirds of the low and medium-income countries across the world reduced public education budgets since the outbreak of Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19), despite the need to additional funding to cope with fallouts of the pandemic.
The joint report quoted by the Chinese agency “Xinhua” said that education budgets are not adapted in proportion to the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in poor countries.
On the other hand, the reduction was limited to a third of upper-middle-income countries and high-income countries only, according to the report, which added that these budget cuts were “relatively small so far.”
The report stated that there is a risk that the cuts will intensify as the pandemic continues to cause economic losses and the deterioration of the financial situation across the world.
These different trends will lead to a significant increase in the already existing inequality in spending between low- and high-income countries.
“The educational poverty crisis that existed prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened, and we are concerned about its uneven impact,” Mamta Murthy, World Bank Vice President for Human Development, said in her statement.
Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, said external funding is essential to support educational opportunities for the world’s poorest.
“But it is likely that donor country, and some have already begun to do so, will shift their budgets from aid to local priorities, and health and other emergencies compete for funds. We expect aid-dependent countries to face difficulties,” she said.
The UNESCO estimates that educational aid may decline by $ 2 billion from its peak in 2020, and not return to 2018 levels for another 6 years.
The Director-General of the “UNESCO”, Audrey Ouzilai, stated that the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic has caused the largest educational disruption in history.