World Bank pledges $5 billion to improve education in poor nations

Mon May 18, 2015 6:05pm EDT
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By leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The World Bank unveiled plans on Monday to double its investment in public education over the next five years with the main focus on improving the quality of education rather than concentrating on boosting enrollment numbers.

The bank said it would spend $5 billion by 2020 - double its spending of the previous five years - in an bid to reach more than 120 million children who are out of school and some 250 million more who cannot read or write despite attending school.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the bank was adopting a results-based financing system where countries only get money if they meet agreed performance targets.

The announcement comes as more than 160 countries gather in South Korea on Tuesday for the start of the World Education Forum to set new education goals for the next 15 years, particularly in developing countries.

Those will become part of the Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted by the United Nations in September that will replace the Millennium Development Goals and mark a new era in the global fight against poverty.

"The truth is that most education systems are not serving the poorest children well," Kim said in a statement.

"With nearly a billion people remaining trapped in extreme poverty today, sustained efforts to improve learning for children will unlock huge amounts of human potential for years to come."

The World Bank, which aims to end extreme poverty by 2030, has spent $40 billion on education since 2000 and describes itself as the world's largest international education funder.   Continued...