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$175 million on official development assistance (ODA) to education in 2019, making it the 16th-largest donor to education in absolute terms. This represents 6% of Spain’s total ODA, below the DAC average of 10% making Spain the 22nd-largest donor in relative terms. Spain’s education funding increased by 65% between 2015 and 2016 after years of decline and has remained at around US$175 million since.
Spain provided a relatively small portion of its education ODA as bilateral funding in 2019 (33% or US$58 million; DAC average: 70%). This included US$57 million channeled as bilateral funding and US$1 million channeled as earmarked funding for multilaterals. As cuts were made to ODA during an economic downturn, Spain 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: 67%, or US$117 million in 2019. This funding was mainly channeled through the EU institutions and the World Bank’s International Development Association, which received 55% and 10% 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) COVID19 response plans for partner countries.
Historically, Spain has been a strong supporter of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), having contributed US$355 million since its founding in 2002. Despite a five-year gap in contributions between 2014 and 2018, Spain remains the ninth-largest donor to the GPE. In February of 2018, Spain pledged €1.5 million (US$2 million) to the GPE for its 2018-2020 replenishment.
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 the 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).