The business community put forward big proposals at the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank, in a bid to generate billions of dollars in new resources for global education.
At a meeting convened by the Global Business Coalition for Education, over 100 public and private sector leaders discussed creating education bonds which would result in new investment opportunities for socially minded investors. The efforts are directed to back the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4, an agreement among governments to achieve free, inclusive, and equitable quality education by 2030.
Drawing inspiration from the climate sector’s use of “green bonds,” which raised more than US$500 billion in financing for sustainability initiatives, the proposals put forward by the business community would address the alarming trends in education which indicate that over half of the world’s young people will not have the skills necessary to enter the workforce in 2030.
With multilateral development banks, governments, municipalities, and other organizations working together, innovative financing, including the proposed education bonds, could help bridge the estimated $40 billion annual education financing gap in low-and middle-income countries. Leveraging the new International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) as a vehicle, these bonds could secure more resources for, and greater awareness of, the global education crisis and Sustainable Development Goal 4.
For access to a discussion memo on education bonds, follow the link here.
A new partnership between the Atlassian Foundation and the Global Business Coalition for Education was also announced, to engage more businesses in support of philanthropy to education. Through the partnership, funding will be made available to the Education Commission for the IFFEd credit rating assessment, bringing the finance facility one step closer to delivering 200 million new places at school.
Leaders also took center stage to raise the issues of education for refugees and displaced children. HP announced progress on providing its HP School Cloud technology to refugees in Uganda as part of its commitment to reach one million learners globally with the technology by 2025. The Dutch Postcode Lottery announced its multi-million contribution to Theirworld, which will be directed to education in emergencies. As part of the announcement, funding will be disbursed to the Education Cannot Wait fund to deliver first response education initiatives for refugees and displaced children. Efforts are also underway to address the needs of the more than 6,000 refugee children living in the Greek Islands.
Justin van Fleet, Executive Director of the Global Business Coalition for Education and President of Theirworld, said: “We are grateful that the business community is putting its talent and resources behind backing free, quality and inclusive education for every child. Our new partnership with Atlassian Foundation, as well as the support announced by HP and the Dutch Postcode Lottery, demonstrates that every company has a role to play in unleashing the potential of the next generation.”
Today, more than 260 million children and youth are out of school and another 175 million children are excluded from early education.