Skip to Main Navigation
publication February 22, 2021

Education Finance Watch 2021


This Education Finance Watch (EFW) is a collaborative effort between the World Bank and UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report

This Education Finance Watch (EFW) draws together and summarizes the available information on patterns and trends in education financing around the world. The EFW will be published every year soon after the main annual release of public expenditure and development assistance data at the end of the year. Each EFW will follow a similar format and explore annual changes in the main sources of education funding (namely governments, households and development assistance).

Each year the EFW also aims to shine a spotlight on an important education financing issue. The spotlight for this year’s EFW is on the impact of Covid-19 and provides a snapshot of how education budgets are changing in response to the pandemic.

To achieve national and international education goals, many countries will need to invest more in their education systems. During the last decade, government education spending has increased steadily, but the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted public finances dramatically, and the prospects for maintaining these increases have deteriorated. But the education finance challenge is not only about mobilizing resources but also about improving the effectiveness of funding. Unfortunately, recent increases in public education spending have been associated with relatively small improvements in education outcomes. Although access to education has improved, 53 percent of ten-yearolds in low- and middle-income countries are unable to read and understand a short age-appropriate text (World Bank 2019). Tackling the large spending inefficiencies and inequalities common to many education systems will be vital in order to make better use of resources and strengthen the link between spending and education outcomes.