Background note - Session 2 - Task Force Education
The challenge of ensuring learning for all
Education is central to achieving a sustainable, prosperous and equitable planet. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, through the 4th
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), enjoin
policy makers to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all and promote lifelong learning
opportunities.” Failure to deliver on SDG4 puts at risk the achievement of all other SDGs. The World Development
Report 2018 also notes that, when delivered well, education is the cornerstone of sustainable development: it saves
lives, promotes employment, lifts people out of poverty, improves health and fosters shared values.
Notwithstanding the role that education plays to achieve sustainable development, and although worldwide
improvements have been made in achieving universal access to education over the period 2000-2015, the education
landscape today is worrying. The World Development Report 2018 notes that there are still millions of children and
youth worldwide without even the most basic life skills, such as literacy and numeracy. The World Bank’s recently
ACTIVITIES OF THE ACG-DAC TASK FORCE ON EDUCATION OVER 2017-18
Following the adoption of the Education Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4) in 2015, Arab and DAC providers
agreed, during the 2016 Arab-DAC Dialogue on Development, to explore setting up a joint task force on education
in fragile settings. Since then, the Islamic Development Bank, Norway and the United Kingdom, with support from
the OECD, have taken this idea forward with the aim of accelerating access to quality education in areas that are
not being addressed through other initiatives or that have gaps in coverage. This session will be an opportunity for
the Task Force members to update participants on its activities over 2017-18, with a particular focus on Education
in Emergencies (EiE).
Key issues for discussion:
How is education currently being delivered in emergency situations and what successes and challenges can be
shared among Arab and DAC providers? Where are the gaps of ACG and DAC members when delivering EiE?
What are the challenges to deliver EiE in protracted crises? How can ACG and DAC providers of development
co-operation transition from humanitarian to development education programming? Can the partnership
draw on the expertise of global funds such as the Global Partnership for Education?
How can the Arab-DAC partnership harness innovations in financing for EiE, such as the potential International
Financing Facility for Education (IFFEd) and engage with existing funds such as Education Cannot Wait (ECW)?
Would you agree with the proposed next steps of the Task Force to provide an action plan for delivering EiE?
Agree to the next steps of the ACG-DAC Task Force on Education, namely to:
o Launch a survey and summarise the findings in a report on support for education by Arab and DAC
providers of development co-operation, providing insights into EiE.
o Continue measuring Arab and DAC providers’ support on education in their partner countries.
o Create a joint action plan for delivering education to children in emergency conflict areas launched
through a follow-up event. This plan could include measurable indicators and goals to track progress
towards SDG4 and to report back at the 2020 Arab-DAC Dialogue on Development.
THE 2019 ARAB-DAC DIALOGUE ON DEVELOPMENT
14 January 2019, Kuwait City
launched Human Capital Index quantifies the contribution of health and education to productivity and highlights the
effects that low skills have on the next generation and economic growth. Recent progress has been dampened for a
number of reasons, including conflicts, resulting in large-scale displacement and the consequent problem of children
with limited or no access to education. In addition, global education is starved of resources: the latest Global
Education Monitoring Report estimates a financing requirement of USD 39 billion per year to reach the SDG4 targets
– this requirement could be met if sufficient domestic resources are mobilised and DAC members and other major
providers were to meet the international target for aid of 0.7% GNI and allocated at least 10% of their development
co-operation to basic and secondary education.
Education in Emergencies
In 2016, there were 56 countries experiencing armed conflicts, with the vast majority occurring within their own
borders. As a result, over 40 million people are affected by insecurity and displacement, with devastating impacts on
children and education systems. Conflict-affected countries have only 20% of the world’s primary-school-age
children but 50% of the world’s out-of-school children. This is a challenge affecting many member states of the Arab
Coordination Group institutions, as concluded at the Arab-DAC Dialogue on Development in 2016. For example, in
the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen, a whole generation of children is being deprived of education today. The OECD
States of Fragility Report (2018) notes that fragile contexts are present in almost 60 countries and territories
Education provides much needed stability for children displaced by conflict and crises, it supports their emotional
well-being and builds resilience. Research also shows that education is a key factor in reducing the risk of conflict.
However, there are multiple challenges in delivering education in conflict. Working through the state may not
always be possible and pre-existing fragility often results in education systems being weakened, with low levels of
political and financial commitment, as well as weakened service delivery capacity. Keeping schools open, ensuring
children and staff are safe, and realising the potential of schools as places of safety, learning and hope are priorities
that require diverse and flexible approaches.
The ACG-DAC Task Force on Education and its activities since 2017
The challenge of achieving SDG4 is a key concern for both Arab and DAC providers. The issue was raised during the
2016 Arab-DAC Dialogue on Development when the Islamic Development Bank suggested creating a joint ACG-DAC
Task Force to explore how the two communities could work together to support education in fragile contexts and, in
particular, to address the needs of the growing number of refugees in the MENA region and worldwide. Since then,
the Task Force has started operating as a platform to exchange ideas and develop a common framework for joint
activities on a number of priority areas that would ultimately accelerate access to quality education for all and the
attainment of the SDGs, in particular SDG4.
1 OECD (2018), ‘States of Fragility 2018’. Available at: http://www.oecd.org/dac/states-of-fragility-2018-9789264302075-en.htm
Since then, the ACG-DAC Task Force on Education has focused on the following activities:
Mapping of international education-related initiatives: the Task Force mapped the international landscape of
education-related initiatives to ensure that its activities do not overlap with other activities that are already
operating. The mapping also helped Task Force members to conclude that the current education landscape is
fragmented, with numerous un-coordinated activities, initiatives and institutions with a variety of mandates,
although there are more and more efforts being placed to ensure a more coherent global landscape on
education. Arab and DAC providers participate to different degrees in myriad international initiatives and there
is scope to increase the participation of Arab providers in some of the financing initiatives that are supporting
the implementation of SDG4, such as the Global Partnership for Education, Education Cannot Wait and the
International Finance Facility for Education.
Study on DAC and non-DAC concessional financing for education: the study helped understand, using the OECD
Development Assistance Committee statistical database, the volumes and trends in concessional financing for
development in the area of education over 2012-16 (and complementing the analyses performed by the Global
Monitoring Report or the Report of the Education Commission). One of the conclusions is that the education
sector is substantially underfunded, although the previously downward trend has halted and education-related
Official Development Assistance increased in 2016 for the first time in three years. Notwithstanding the recent
advances, education-related humanitarian assistance is still not reaching the 4% target agreed at the World
Humanitarian Summit in 2016.
Draft survey to gather information on Arab and DAC providers’ priorities and activities on education: Task
Force members prepared a draft survey that could be launched if Arab and DAC providers were interested in
understanding better how Arab and DAC providers carry out their development co-operation activities in the
field of education.
Building on these inputs, members of the ACG-DAC Task Force on Education propose to continue collaborating by
launching the survey, preparing a report focused on EiE with the main findings from the survey and combining these
with an updated version of the study on DAC and non-DAC concessional financing for education. These items could
complement the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in low- and middle-income
countries. These items could also be presented at an international event on education or a side-event, jointly
organised, in 2019-20.