EU humanitarian aid for education should be longer-term and reach more girls

In recent years, EU aid for education in emergencies and protracted crises has worked quite well through relevant assistance projects. But a special report published today by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) also identifies several shortcomings. Overall, EU support reaches more boys, even though it is girls who are more likely to be out of school in conflict regions. The efficiency of EU aid would also benefit from longer-term projects, improved cost analysis and greater sustainability of cash-for-education programmes.

An estimated 64 million children in developing countries do not attend primary school. Half of them live in conflict-affected areas. Access to education offers them learning opportunities, and also provides immediate physical protection as well as life-saving knowledge and skills. The European Commission has recently increased aid for education to 10 % of its total humanitarian aid, equating to some €160 million in 2019.

The auditors found that EU aid helped to restore and maintain access to safe and good-quality education during humanitarian crises. Projects were relevant and well coordinated, and the European Commission addressed the problems it had identified during monitoring visits. As a result, projects were able to achieve most of their objectives.

With relatively limited means, the EU has been able to help many out-of-school children in crisisaffected areas”, said Hannu Takkula, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “However, its support for education in emergencies needs to be finetuned in order to reach the level of efficiency and relevance this noble cause deserves.”

Press Release: EU humanitarian aid for education should be longer-term and reach more girls