The Investment Case for Education and Equity says that on average 46 per cent of public education resources in low-income countries directly benefit the 10 per cent of students who are the most educated.
However, in lower-middle income countries the figure is 26 per cent. This imbalance disproportionately favours children from the most affluent households who typically attain the highest levels of education.
The report, which is the first in a series UNICEF is releasing this year with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, advocates for more equitable education spending, calling for governments to prioritise the needs of the most marginalised children.
The report also highlights serious crisis in education. Progress in increasing access to schooling has stalled ? with 58 million primary school-aged children not in school.
“it is clear that Millennium Development Goal 2 (achieve universal primary education) will not be met. In addition, many of those currently attending classes are not actually learning. Data reveal that 130 million children who reach Grade 4 do not master the basics of reading and arithmetic.”
The report noted that the situation will worsen as the size of the school-age population increases, indicating that, in order to achieve universal basic education, the world will have to enroll an additional 619 million children between the ages of 3 and 15 by 2030.
UNICEF therefore called on governments and donors to increase their spending on education and ensure that funds are utilised more efficiently and are distributed more equitably.