The world is facing a massive educational challenge. Too many children and young people are not in school, and many of those who are still do not learn. The situation is worst in the poorest and most fragile states, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Inequalities are vast, and some are even growing. Several global initiatives have been launched to ensure that the second Millennium Development Goal is achieved. However, the fundamental problems of a widening gap in finance, falling commitments from donors, an increasing number of targets and a lack of clarity about how to ensure the most important issues of equality and quality in education, remain to be handled. The EU is a large player in education, home to some of the most progressive donors, who can play important roles in meeting the challenges and scaling up the impact on education.
This study analyses recent trends and changes in European Union (European Commission and selected member state) aid to education. In light of the global challenges, it identifies potentials for increased EU impact on education after 2015, considering especially how the EU can contribute to building better education systems, ensure quality learning and enhance financing for education. The analysis concentrates on the EC and six member states: Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, which together provide around eighty per cent of total aid to education from EU member states, making them important actors in education.