Issue Deep Dive

Spain / Education

Last updated: May 19, 2023

ODA Spending

How much ODA does Spain allocate to education?

Spain spent US$189 million on ODA to education in 2021, making it the 15th-largest donor to education in absolute terms and the 23rd-largest donor in relative terms. This represents 5% of Spain’s total ODA, below the DAC average of 9%. Spain’s education funding dropped slightly from 2020 levels.

How is Spanish educational ODA changing?

Apart from a small spike in 2018, Spain’s education funding has stayed relatively stable since 2017, despite the government’s interest in fostering this sector.

How does Spain allocate educational ODA?

Bilateral Spending

Spain provided a relatively small portion of its education ODA as bilateral funding in 2021 (38% or US$71 million, far below the DAC average of 72%. This included US$67 million channeled as bilateral funding and US$4 million channeled as earmarked funding through multilaterals.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

As cuts have been made to ODA, Spain has prioritized mandatory contributions to multilateral organizations—particularly through the EU—across all sectors within its development portfolio. In 2021, the majority of its education ODA, 62% or US$117 million, was disbursed as multilateral funding.

Historically, Spain has been a strong supporter of GPE , having contributed US$355 million since its founding in 2002. In July 2021, at the GPE replenishment summit, Spain pledged an initial contribution of EUR20 million ( US$24 million) for the 2021-2025 period, opening the door for an additional contribution depending on the Spanish budgetary and political situation.

Funding & Policy Outlook

What is the current government's outlook on educational ODA?

SDG 4, Quality Education is outlined as a top strategic priority under the Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2020.

Spain aims to focus its external action in the field of education towards

  1. Strengthening educational systems;
  2. Fostering quality, inclusive education; and
  3. Strengthening schooling of the most vulnerable children.

Under Spain’s Foreign Action Strategy (2021-2024), fostering global education is highlighted as a key element.

Education has been listed as a priority intervention under MAEC’s COVID-19 response plans for partner countries.

Spain has increasingly begun prioritizing education within its national and international policies. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Spain prioritized education support as a key component of the socio-economic recovery cooperation extended to partner countries affected by the pandemic. In 2019, at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers conference, Sánchez named health and education as two of the most valuable sectors of development for accelerating progress on Agenda 2030.

At the Transforming Education Summit, held on the sidelines of UNGA77 in September 2022, Spain announced that Barcelona will host the Giga Technology Centre to foster digital education in collaboration with UNICEF. Before the UNGA plenary session, Prime Minister Sánchez outlined education among Spain’s development priorities. Sánchez stated that it is essential to continue fostering quality education, particularly girls’ education, to advance the human rights and sustainable development agendas.

UN Transforming Education Summit Round-up

Key Bodies

Related Publications

September 2023 Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Roundup 

Japan's revised Development Cooperation Charter: Adapting to contemporary challenges

Funding critical skills: How are donors supporting Foundational Literacy and Numeracy?

Looking for a cross donor perspective?

Learn more about SEEK's work on education

Lydia Sung

Lydia Sung

Lydia Sung

Lydia Sung

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