Public authorities in democratic countries are responsible for ensuring that free education, accessible to all, is well-resourced and continuously updated and developed. By raising funds through progressive taxation, they can and must invest at least 6% of the state’s GDP in education. Sufficient investment should ensure that all education sectors - from early childhood education through to higher education and life-long learning – are developed in balanced way.
Governments often claims that there is not enough funding for quality public education; that taxation levels are too high, that investments should go to businesses to foster economic growth, that education should be funded more through private resources.
This is not true!
There is enough money to fund quality public education. Privatisation of public education is not a solution.
How taxation can help
Fair and responsible taxation of multi-national corporations could provide funds for national and community social needs. It is estimated that several trillion US dollars of tax revenues are lost to national budgets every year through tax avoidance schemes. This lost revenue could pay for the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the budget requirements for social services in industrialised countries, including the growing costs associated with migration and global mobility.
In countries dealing with armed conflicts, finances are diverted from public education to military spending. Twenty-one developing countries, including Afghanistan, Angola, Yemen, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, D.R. Congo and Burundi, currently spend more on arms than on primary schools. If these countries were to cut military spending by 10%, they could put an additional 9.5 million children into school. Military spending is also diverting aid resources. It would take just six days of military spending by aid donors to close the US$16 billion Education For All (EFA) external financing gaps.