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Last Updated 6th January 2024.

How much funding is the Education Sector forecast to receive in 2023?

Funding to the Education sector forecast to be between $960m and $1258m in 2023. Our central estimate is $1107m. For reference, the Education sector received $896m last year.

This forecast is based on our 95% probability range. In other words, we are 95% sure that funding will be between $960m and $1258m. Below are the other forecast ranges for the Education sector. As we become less sure about our forecast, the range narrows. So for example, we think there’s a 50% probability that funding will be between $1050m and $1164m.

But we need to put this into context. What does the forecast mean in terms of reaching the funding that is required for the sector (also known as the funding requirement)? The total funding requirement globally is determined by how much is needed in each context. If you hover over the donut below you’ll be able to see the chances of reaching 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of the funding that is required.

We think that it’s almost certain that Education will receive at least 25% of their funding requirement. Reaching this milestone was the norm for the sector between 2016 and 2022, but the sector dipped slightly below this threshold in 2021 at 19%.

How does the 2023 forecast compare to previous years?

The forecast has Education receiving 25% to 33% of the funding requirement. The percentage received didn’t particularly change too much until 2021 when the funding requirement exploded to $2.9bn. This was the primary factor behind the worsening funding gap in recent years.

To put it bluntly, our graph shows that in each year that passes more children are in need of education and will not be accessing it. The funding gap in 2021 was almost three times that of the funding gap in 2020.

The huge increase in the funding requirement since 2020 is partly reflective of greater visibility of Education funding requirements in Refugee Response Plans (RRPs). Previously, funding in RRPs was included in a catch-all ‘Multi-sector’ bucket, but not in 2021 where funding requirements were classified as ‘Education’ and other sectors. And therefore, the funding requirement in 2021 and beyond better reflects the complete picture of Education funding requirements compared to previous years.

Since 2016, funding has increased from $230m to $896m in 2022. Whilst this is a substantial increase, the funding requirement has also increased, meaning that the actual percentage of the funding requirement met in 2022 is lower than 2016, despite the huge amounts of additional funding.

However, the funding gap slightly closed in 2022, and thus the sector climbed out of the humanitarian recession that it was in previously. In this story, we’ve defined a real humanitarian recession as two consecutive years of a growing funding gap. So what are the odds of the sector continuing to close the gap?

We think that it’s highly unlikely that the Education sector will experience real growth this year (i.e. close the gap).

How does the 2023 forecast compare to other sectors?

Education is on course to rank as the 8th highest sector for funding received, completing the set of ‘top 8 sectors’ that tend to have high funding requirements, and funding received over $1bn.

The current state of things

Funding to the Education Sector is some way ahead of where the sector was at the same point last year. By the end of the calendar year of 2023, the sector had received $813m – over $200m more than it received at the same point in 2022.

By the end of 2022, funding to the Education sector ($896m) was above the level of any previous year. The particularly interesting thing is that Education funding in 2022 tracked above previous years throughout the whole year.

The story of funding to the Education Sector in 2020 and 2021 is particularly noteworthy. Whilst you may have thought there would be a noticeable ‘COVID slump’ in funding as funds are reallocated to efforts to fight the pandemic, or governments and donors may have tightened their purse strings as a result of the general economic climate, this doesn’t appear to be the case for Education. Funding in 2020 beat previous years and 2021 equalled the 2020 amount.

Features of the Education Sector in 2022

The average Education response only received 18% of what was required in 2022. This is below the average across the sectors (25%), and the fifth lowest average across all sectors. Of the 40 Education responses in 2022, only 6 of these were able to meet 50% of their funding requirement, including Ukraine (108%), Afghanistan (94%), and Iraq (93%).

However, at the other end of the spectrum, 6 contexts didn’t even reach 10% of what was required. These included five non-HRP plans, including Flash Appeals in Mozambique, Kenya, Madagascar, Pakistan, and the regional Afghanistan plan.

This begs the question: why are some contexts more funded than others? Is it just year-on-year variation, donor preferences, underreporting, or something else? We’ll explore this in more detail in the future in our Stories section. We’re also currently working on an “Equity Index” to measure the extent to which funding across a sector is unequal – stay tuned!

The Education sector is diverse, with no one donor dominating the sector. The largest donors are: the US Government (22%), ECHO (19%); the Asian Development Bank (9%), the European Commission (7%), Other (6%), and the Government of Germany (6%). Together, this amounts to 69% of all funding to the sector. Another 77 donors contribute the remaining 31%.

There are two implications to this apparent diversity in funding sources. Firstly, the lack of reliance on a few donors, and the sheer number of sources of funding for Education, hints towards a sector that is resilient to external shocks. If one donor suffers a short-term shock to funding, there are enough sources of funding for the sector as a whole not to suffer. The extreme scenario can be seen in 2020 when you might expect all actors to suffer from an external shock due to COVID (each to varying extents). Even despite this ‘Act of God‘, the Education sector posted it’s best year ever in absolute terms, receiving $556m, and meeting 40% of it’s funding requirement (above 2016 levels). This suggests a sector that’s sufficiently diverse enough to be resilient to shocks. We’ve published a story about this here.

The second implication of this is that power is distributed, and no one donor dominates the sector. We can calculate the market concentration using the Herfindahl Hirschman Index. Though definitions differ, on a scale of 0 to 10,000, a sector is unconcentrated and competitive with a score under 1,500. The Education Sector has a score of 1,096, indicating an unconcentrated sector. A plurality of perspectives is good in terms of limiting the power of any one actor, enabling a diversity of thought, and increasing competition between programme models, which should all in theory be best for beneficiaries.

In terms of those receiving the funding, UNICEF is unsurprisingly the biggest recipient of funding (58% of total funding), followed by WFP (9%). This is then followed by Save the Children (5%), NRC (5%), and UNHCR (4%).


The usual health warning: FTS doesn’t capture everything. It is a platform that relies on voluntary reporting by organisations. But it is the most comprehensive source of data for humanitarian funding.

For forecast methodology, click here. We’ll be keeping a record of all our forecasts and success over time, which you can find here.

To find out methodology and sources for other things on this page which aren’t the forecast, click here.

Note: Numbers in ‘The current state of things’ graph may differ from elsewhere on the page as the data was extracted on a different date (8th July 2023) than other numbers that also show how much was received (i.e. the column chart).