The EU is failing to deliver on its commitments to support education in developing countries. That is the main finding of a new report launched by Alliance2015, a strategic partnership of European non-governmental development organisations, on the occasion of World Teachers´ Day.
The report, The EU´s contribution to the Millennium Development Goals - Special focus: Education, highlights a number of major weaknesses in the EU´s development policy with regard to supporting basic education, particularly in terms of funding and country programmes.
"Basic education is key to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals", said Jaap Dijkstra, President of Alliance2015. "Despite strong political commitments and an improved policy framework, the EU is simply not translating its rhetorical support for basic education into real implementation on the ground".
The new report is the third in Alliance2015´s series of reports which measure donors´ contributions to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It assesses the EU´s performance in orienting its development policy to these goals. It also includes the alarming results of Alliance2015´s first specific analysis of the quality of the EU´s policy to support basic education.
Despite a benchmark in the EU budget for a 20% allocation to basic education and health since 2000, the proportion of EU aid allocated to basic education has decreased from 6.38% in 2000 to just 1.53% in 2004. Furthermore, support for basic education is largely absent from the EU´s country programmes.
Alliance2015´s report is being launched in the wake of last month´s agreement on the EU´s aid regulation. A major component of this new legally-binding piece of legislation will be a 20% benchmark for allocating EU aid to basic health, basic education and secondary education.
"This report shows just how much the EU needs to step up its efforts to support the achievement of education for all", said Dijkstra. "The ongoing revision of the EU´s country programmes provides an excellent opportunity for it to translate its commitments into reality. Alliance2015 will continue to closely monitor the European Commission in order to ensure that it does so".