Only 1% of aid funding is spent on pre-primary education despite its recognised importance
A new report by charity TheirWorld has revealed that pre-primary education receives only 1% of aid funding.
Research consistently proves that pre-primary education is critical for a child’s development, with 90% of their brain having developed before they turn 5 years old.
Evidence also shows that investment in pre-primary education has the greatest impact on the most disadvantaged children. However, it is these children who often have the least access to pre-primary education.
The World Bank highlighted the importance of pre-primary education in 2016 stating:
“The smartest investment a country can make [is on early childhood development] … If a child gets the healthcare, nutrition, affection, stimulation, and education that she needs – the gains she makes in those early years are hers for life.”
Investment in early childhood development can dramatically improve the life of individual children, as well as communities and countries, as it reduces inequality in education
In 2015, 193 countries agreed to the Sustainable Development Goal that all children should have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary learning.
However, TheirWorld’s report shows that only 38 of these countries provide free compulsory pre-primary education.
The lack of access to pre-primary education threatens over 200 million children aged 5 and under in developing countries.
A child’s ability to access critical pre-primary education remains a lottery on where they are born.
For example, a boy born into a wealthy family living in an urban area of Ghana is over two times more likely to attend pre-primary school than a girl from a poor family in a rural area.
The importance of addressing pre-primary education is being consistently highlighted as disadvantaged children who receive pre-primary care are more likely to stay in school through to secondary education.
For example, children in rural Mozambique who enrolled in pre-primary education are 24% more likely to attend primary school and exhibit better behaviour and understanding.
TheirWorld have suggested that if governments, donors and the World Bank focused 10% of aid budgets on pre-primary projects the benefits would be significant.
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