Education Financing

Results for Development is working to increase and improve education financing by quantifying the resources needed to achieve universal learning and identifying sustainable and innovative solutions that prioritize the needs of the poor and disadvantaged.

The Challenge

Despite overwhelming evidence of the economic, health and social-emotional benefits associated with receiving a quality education, domestic and global investments have flatlined. Education has been deprioritized by world leaders, and current investments have often been ineffectively and inefficiently disbursed. The UNESCO Global Monitoring Report estimates that there is an annual financing gap of $39 billion for reaching universal pre-primary, primary and secondary education of good quality in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Mobilizing these resources will require a dramatic increase in bilateral, multilateral, private sector and domestic support. In recent years, initiatives such as the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity have sought to build momentum and interest in education financing.

Our Approach

R4D promotes sustainable education financing using a multi-pronged approach: informing policymaking through data analytics, strengthening the technical capacity of country change agents and building learning communities of practice for joint problem solving.

R4D’s education financing experts:

  • Review current approaches, analyze their costs and make recommendations.
  • Assess and test the feasibility of new and innovative financing approaches.
  • Explore strategies that can help countries mobilize domestic resources, improve value for money and better leverage their existing resources.

Our Results

R4D has made progress toward improving and increasing education financing in key areas, including:

Results-Based and Innovative Financing

R4D conducted a scoping study on the role and application of output-based aid in education. This included a review of results-based financing schemes in education more broadly, analysis of existing output-based aid projects in education, and recommendations for applying output-based aid in education moving forward.

In addition, working with the Global Partnership for Education, we assessed the feasibility of loan buy-downs to support measurable reforms in education, while also increasing resources for education. Our report analyzes the loan buy-down model as it has been applied to different sectors. It also considers key design aspects to applying it to the education sector, including selecting suitable countries with large unmet needs in education, the type of triggers to link buy-downs to results and further operational issues.

Book Provision and Usage

In order to raise awareness and advocate for additional spending on books to support literacy efforts, R4D quantified the cost of providing an appropriate number of grade-level reading materials to all pre-primary and primary students in low- and middle-income countries for the Global Book Alliance. Our analysis is helping the Global Book Alliance to mobilize resources and maximize its impact.

Early Childhood Development

In order to develop an accurate understanding of the current state of international and domestic financing for early childhood development, we prepared a background paper for the Education Commission. The study analyzes the role of international, national and private actors in financing early childhood development; the principal financial barriers to promoting access, quality, efficiency and effectiveness in delivering early childhood development; and potential solutions to increase and improve the effectiveness of financing, while addressing issues of equity.


Photo: Students in Primary Seven at Zanaki Primary School ©Sarah Farhat/World Bank Photo 

Global & Regional Initiatives

R4D is a globally recognized leader for designing initiatives that connect implementers, experts and funders across countries to build knowledge and get that knowledge into practice.