Spain - Education
At a glance
Spain has begun prioritizing education within its national and international policies
According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), Spain spent US$190 million on ODA to education in 2020, making it the 13th -largest donor to education in absolute terms and the 20th -largest donor in relative terms. This represents 6% of Spain’s total ODA (well below the DAC average of 10%). Spain’s education funding has been steadily increasing since 2016 (after years of decline).
Spain provided a relatively small portion of its education ODA as bilateral funding in 2020 (32% or US$61 million; DAC average: 70%). This included US$58 million channeled as bilateral funding and US$3 million channeled as earmarked funding for multilaterals. In 2020, Spain’s bilateral ODA for education was focused on education facilities and training (29%), higher education (16%), vocational training (12%), education policy and administrative management (10%), and primary education (10%). 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. Spain provided the majority of its education ODA as multilateral funding: 68%, or US$129 million in 2020. This funding was mainly channeled through the EU institutions and IDA, which received 53% and 11% of Spain’s total education ODA in that year, respectively.
Under the ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2020’ (Master Plan), the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on ‘Quality Education is outlined as a top strategic priority. 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 upcoming Foreign Action Strategy (2021-2024), fostering global education is highlighted as a key element of Spain’s development cooperation with partner countries. Education has also been listed as a priority intervention under the Spanish Foreign Ministry (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, MAUC) COVID-19 response plans for partner countries
Historically, Spain has been been a strong supporter of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), having contributed US$355 million since its founding in 2002. In July 2021, at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) replenishment summit, Spain pledged an initial contribution of €20 million (US$23 million) for the period 2021-2025, opening the door for an additional contribution depending on the Spanish budgetary and political situation.
In addition to providing funding for education, Spain has increasingly begun prioritizing and promoting education within its national and international policies. 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’. 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.
MAUC defines strategic orientations; AECID implements policy
Within MAUC, the General Directorate for Sustainable Development Policies (DGPOLDES) and its education division leads on education policies. The DGPOLDES leads policy formulation, planning, and evaluation. The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) implements education-related programs through its Directorate for Multilateral and Sectoral Cooperation and its regional departments (including the Directorates for Africa and Latin America), which manage bilateral programs on the ground. Other relevant stakeholders within the education sector include Spanish universities and development NGOs, such as the Global Campaign for Education Spain, Entreculturas, Ayuda en Acción, Plan International, as well as Fundación Carolina, and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Spain. DGPOLDEDS, AECID, and NGOs together coordinate support for education programs through the Spanish Cooperation Sectorial Board on Education (Mesa Sectorial de Cooperación en Educación).