Global education ranks higher than climate change and social justice in list of priorities for overseas spending, a new Theirworld poll shows.
Education is the top global priority for Dutch citizens, according to a new poll by global children’s charity Theirworld.
When asked what their government should prioritise in its overseas development spending, more Dutch people selected education than any other issue.
Almost half of those polled – 45% – think education is a priority area for global investment – almost twice as many as those who selected the environment (24%).
Social justice came a close second (42%) followed by the growth of the economy (41%), physical health (40%) and mental health (36%).
The survey findings will send a clear message to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte who won the general election in March that his government should prioritise education in its post-Covid recovery global development plans.
The Netherlands is a world leader in education and advanced innovative financing initiatives. Together with the UK, in 2019 it spearheaded the creation of the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd), a new global fund which could help to deliver billions of dollars to support education in lower-income countries once operational.
If the new government convinces other countries to support the fund, the result could transform the pandemic recovery for millions of children shut out of school around the world, especially vulnerable girls. The new Facility could multiply the Dutch investment of $40 million, currently earmarked in the budget, more than 20 times. This would leverage about $1 billion in new funding for education.
The poll comes only weeks after Theirworld published a new report warning that without bolder financial commitments from world leaders, more than half of the world’s children – more than 800 million girls and boys – will not be able to read or write by 2030.
The charity’s Education Finance Playbook warned that at least $75 billion a year was needed for the next 10 years to end the global education crisis – but that current aid to education amounted to just $16 billion per year, leaving a shortfall of $59 billion.
It called on world leaders to increase funding for education through innovative financing mechanisms such as IFFEd.
IFFEd “supercharges” education finance through a combination of grants and guarantees, unlocking up to $27 for every dollar paid into the fund.
Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on children. At the height of the crisis, more than 1.6 billion children were forced out of school, pushing the most vulnerable, including girls and children with disabilities, further to the margins.
It is estimated that without proper investment in education more than 20 million children are at risk of never returning to the classroom.
Justin van Fleet, the President of Theirworld, said:
“The findings of this poll send a clear message to the new Dutch administration that they must prioritise education in their post-Covid recovery plans.
“Education is the key that unlocks benefits not just for children but for their families, communities and wider societies. It underpins every single one of the United Nations global goals, from climate action and good nutrition to economic growth and gender equality. Without education, we just won’t be able to tackle some of the biggest challenges the world is facing.
“The Dutch government has always been a champion of global education. Now they have an opportunity to demonstrate this leadership to the world and honour their commitments to millions of children who remain shut out of the classroom.”
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The findings are based on a survey, conducted by Theirworld in partnership with Hall & Partners. The survey was carried out among a nationally representative group of 305 respondents from the Netherlands.
Theirworld is a global children’s charity committed to ending the global education crisis.
It anticipates, targets and solves the complex barriers keeping children and young people from education and opportunity. The organisation mobilises the power of campaigning, policy change and innovation to provide every child, especially the most marginalised, with the best start in life, a safe place to learn and skills for the future.
Informed by breakthrough research and activated by an influential network of partners, Theirworld works with governments, businesses, NGOs, young people and campaigners to develop and deploy solutions to unleash the potential of the next generation.
For more information, visit www.theirworld.org. Twitter @theirworld.
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