In 2020 the spread of the coronavirus and its resulting impact has led to a global crisis of unprecedented reach and proportion. Many countries have sustained several changes and are still struggling to cope with the posed problems. For the same, the governments are trying to recover from the financial and medical problems. This is reflected majorly in the annual budgets of all countries. The major trend that has been observed is that the governments have decided to cut down the education budget. The low and lower-middle-income countries have cut down their educational budget by 60% from the annual budget. While the high and middle- higher-income countries have cut down their educational expenditure by almost 30%.
The COVID-19 trail
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted several governmental and business processes around the world. Furthermore, it has affected millions and hundreds of thousands have been spent to control the virus. Thus the socio-economic conditions of several governments have suffered a serious blow. However, the virus has been brought under control. The governments brought lockdown and quarantine situations in effect to maintain sustenance by minimizing several expenditures.
Earlier, the expenditures were covering the medical aids. Certainly, with the increasing intensity of the virus, the expenses expanded. Furthermore, the governments activated several lockdown and quarantine protocols causing a lot of change in the daily lifestyle of the common people. Grounding for the collapsing businesses or moving to work from home processes, the development and return on investments for public and private sectors suffered severe consequences.
Nation’s hope for a sustainable environment
Besides business disruptions, sectors like agriculture, petroleum, transportation, and the manufacturing industry have faced severe problems due to the pandemic. The countries have had to overcome the following problems for maintaining a sustainable environment for the citizen.
- Traveling restriction and import and export limitation
- Lack of labor to maintain a work schedule
- Implementation of security protocols
- Checking mechanisms for all facilities
- Sanitization equipment installation
- Installation of thermal checking equipment
The emergence of education budget cut
With the nation’s increasing medical and infrastructural budget, the government had to cut down on some sectors like education. The Budget Cut on education has several reasons for low-income countries and high-income countries. The expenditure and annual budget require a balance to sustain contemporarily. On one hand, there was an education budget and on the other hand the medical expenditures. To cope up with the current situation, the government decided to compromise with the education expenditure by the budget cut. The education sectors required limited budget development for ensuring successful implementation and distribution of proper education. Due to pandemic, the education turned online helping the government to consider cutting the education budget. Comprising to maintain and control the pandemic in the countries.
Abstract of the education budget cut policy
The government decided to cut down on sectors to maintain a steady budget, due to the previous year’s medical and infrastructural expenditures. According to the latest reports by the World Bank, the education budget in low and lower-middle-income countries has been cut down by 65% after the pandemic. Additionally, the countries with a high and upper-mid income range had to cut down their education budget by 33%. The report collaborated with UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report. The current levels of government expenditure in low and lower-middle-income countries are restricted to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The education budget cut report
- The report stated, “In order to understand the short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education budgets, information was collected for a sample of 29 countries across all regions. The sample represents about 54 percent of the world’s school and university-aged population. The information collected was then verified with World Bank country teams.”
- Moreover, it also stated that the response to the Covid-19 crisis requires an additional expenditure to adapt schools for the compliance of all security protocols to maintain a safe environment for students. The government requires funding the institutions for reducing losses in the learning experience of students when the schools reopen.
- The report provided samples of low-income countries. That includes Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Uganda, and several lower-middle-income countries like Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ukraine, etc.
- Higher- middle and high-income countries were included too in the report for a detailed comparison and analyzing budget cuts. This report also included the names of the countries like Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and Panama.
- Countries like Afghanistan, Brazil, Egypt, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Russia have educational shares below 10%. And they are likely to have exterior financing sources besides the budget assigned by the central government.
- However, it is unclear if the countries that have received a budget cut are likely to recover from the increased costs during the pandemic. With the rise in regular expenditures needed to support the growing school-age population of the country.
Curbs in education budget cut
Around 50% of the country sample in the education budget cut, despite the urgency for adequate funding for the schools to reopen safely and soon. This scenario does not pose a favorable circumstance for the countries educational grounds. Undoubtedly, the macroeconomy of the country is expected to worsen with time due to the pandemic. Even with limited data, the household education expenditure in the share of GDP has improved in low-income countries. Additionally, the households still contribute majorly to the cost of education. Also, the pandemic has resulted in several large and negative income and health shocks for several households in all low and lower-middle-income countries.
You may also read: National Education Policy: Exposing Children to the Digital Era through NEP
The Covid-19 pandemic was an unexpected event and governments have been working extensively to make ends meet. To sustain, the government had to cut down on the educational budget along with other expenditures like medicine or infrastructure. The conditions may improve and we expect the budget to restore with time. With schools reopening around the world, the government needs to consider the effects of the virus spread. Eventually, assist the schools to follow protocol and maintain a healthy and safe environment for students. The governments are expected to provide a revised expenditure list for schools in all low and lower-middle-income countries for proper assistance.