Education systems are facing a devastating crisis, the challenges around public financing and the ever-increasing pressure on resources for public services are resulting in less prioritisation of education.
Even before COVID-19 hit, the world was experiencing a learning crisis. More than 250 million children of primary- and secondary-school age are out of school, and over half of all 10-year-old children cannot read and understand a simple text.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the education crisis, and the impact on this generation of learners is a long-lasting one. At the peak of school closures, approx. 1.6 billion children were out of school worldwide. While some learners have returned to school, the COVID-19 pandemic deepened digital exclusion of many, especially vulnerable communities, including children with special educational needs.
As a response to policy and political context in relation to education financing and COVID-19 the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) have developed the One Billion Voices campaign. #OneBillionVoices aims to urge governments, donors, international organisations to address the lack of education financing, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which also worsen the progress of the entire Sustainable Development Agenda and specifically SDG4. Some of the overall strategic intents of the campaign are for governments to allocate at least 15% to 20% of public expenditure to education and to improve the quality of teaching through adequate recruitment, remuneration and continued teacher training.
Based to the latest available data, the Republic of Moldova is very close to reaching the budget threshold proposed by the GCE. Although in a continuously decline starting with 2010 (when the share was 22.3%), education expenditures represented, in 2018, 17.5% of the total budget; for 2020, it is estimated that the downward trend will continue and the threshold will be 15.8%. On the other hand, challenges arise when assessing the effectiveness of these expenditures and how this is reflected by the quality of basic educational services.
Education system has to be rebuilt to cope with the pandemic shocks, to recover, and to lay the foundations to build back better, more resilient, and equitable education systems. In addition to increasing government funding for education, there are several measures that can be taken to accelerate the recovery and advancement of the educational process, including:
- preparing and supporting teachers to manage burnout, improve digital skills, identify those students needing support and adjust instruction to meet them where they are at;
- preparing and supporting school management, to develop and implement plans that ensure health and safety conditions for children’s return to schools and learning continuity;
- supporting learning at home, by distributing books, digital devices where possible and resource packs for remote learning to children and parents.
The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that promotes and defends education as a basic human right. With members in more than 100 countries, including APSCF in Moldova, GCE campaigns and advocates for everyone’s right to a free, quality, public education.