Event Highlights – Potentials of Innovative Financing Solutions for Inclusive and Quality Education

17 September 2020
photo representing the webinar
Credit: NORRAG

This article was originally posted on NORRAG's website on September 1, 2020.

On August 27, 2020 at 9:00 – 10:30 (CEST – Geneva), the KIX EAP hub held a webinar that brought together 99 participants from 33 countries to discuss innovative financing in education. The webinar was organized by NORRAG with simultaneous interpretation into Russian. The recording of the webinar can be found here and the webinar slides are available here.

Recent estimates show that in low- and middle- income countries, total spending on education will need to increase from USD 1.2 trillion in 2015 to USD 3 trillion by 2030 to meet the global learning challenge. Achievement of SDG 4, inclusive and equitable quality education, will require substantial increases in international aid and domestic financing for education. Innovative financing has the potential to attract additional funds for the education sector while also addressing quality and equity challenges. Innovation in development financing is taking place constantly with many approaches, mechanisms and instruments being conceptualised and implemented by various actors. Identification of what makes a particular financing modality innovative can lend to a better understanding of the technical aspect of the structure or the instrument and the actors involved. In turn it can help with analysing the applicability and adaptability of these instruments.

After a brief introduction from Gita Steiner-Khamsi (Professor, Director of NORRAG and KIX EAP Hub), Marc-Antoine Percier (Operations Analyst, Global Partnership for Education) presented the key challenges of education financing, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent need to explore incentives to improve equitable and inclusive education worldwide. Our featured speaker, Dr Arushi Terway (Senior Lead Research Associate, NORRAG), facilitated a discussion on:

  • What is innovative financing?
  • Examples of Innovative Financing Mechanisms used by development partners and by national and sub-national governments
  • Discussion on relevance, applicability and adaptability in addressing equity and quality challenges
  • Key takeaways: advantages of innovative financing and “optimistic caution” – i.e. clarity on what problem would the financing mechanism solve and understanding the limitations when it comes to IF mechanisms.

Participants engaged in a lively discussion and contributed to an insightful session on the following themes:

  • Innovative financing and income share agreements in TVET (case studies from Nepal, Ethiopia and Brazil);
  • Incentives for the private sector to invest in education and the possibilities for innovation in public financing through tax reforms;
  • Strengthening Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and the role of social and corporate responsibility in innovative financing for inclusive and quality education;
  • Navigating priorities i.e. ensuring that a particular sector of education is not neglected when governments engage in getting more loan for investment in secondary and higher education;
  • IFE is not a solution to everything. However, there are ways to unpack the complex societal/educational problem by breaking it down to make space for private sector involvement,
  • Concerns were raised on the effectiveness of Innovative Financing for education and whether adopting private management techniques to fund education has any implications on education policies, if perhaps it leads to a more narrow and instrumental focus on education.
  • Finally, key takeaways include:
    • Being very clear on what PROBLEM would the financing mechanism SOLVE
    • All stakeholders need to be transparent about their goals,there should be a balance between maximizing profits and managing equity,
    • Need for expertise on all sides on the negotiating table, and
    • Need for more data and research.

The KIX EAP Hub will be hosting different activities in the upcoming months, which respond to their 21 countries specific demand. Please check their website for regular updates.