Data to December 2021
A quality education is a fundamental human right. Research shows that giving a child access to good education reduces poverty and inequality, increases life expectancy and gives women and girls more decision-making power.
The past two years of education have been marked with widespread disruptions to schooling for children in developed and developing countries – UNICEF reported 147 million children worldwide missed more than half of their in-person schooling over the past two years. This resulted in significant learning losses and the risk of children never returning to school – especially girls.
In the second half of 2021 as more schools reopened across Asia, children began returning to school in greater numbers. Independent schools once again began accessing school improvement loans, with the number of loans accessed in the last three months of the year up 33 per cent from the same period in 2020. In the second half of 2021, Opportunity EduFinance also onboarded new partners, and built a pipeline of new financial institution partners to scale Opportunity’s education programs in 2022.
Affordable, independent schools will play a crucial role in filling gaps in education systems, recovering learning losses and ensuring access to quality education. In India alone, an estimated 162 million children will attend low-cost private schools by 2031.
School Improvement Loans and Opportunity’s Education Quality program are improving facilities, teacher training and improving access to a quality education for students as schools reopen across Asia. School Fee Loans are providing families with the ability to spread out the costs of sending their children back to school while they recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Education Loan Makes Online Learning Accessible
Eighteen-year-old Malika lives in Bogor, Indonesia. When COVID-19 lockdowns closed her school, Malika had to switch to online learning, using the family smartphone. The teenager has always loved school and sharing ideas with her teachers and friends.
Excelling in science, Malika has studied hard and achieved good grades. Completing her final year of school online was always going to be a challenge but trying to study on a smartphone made it even more difficult.
Malika’s parents used an Opportunity EduFinance loan of IDR 3.9 million (around A$345) to put their daughter’s future back on track by buying her a laptop.
She continued to study at home while her school was closed. She was able to connect with her teachers, and her schoolmates formed online study groups to support each other. Whatever Malika chooses to pursue after school – perhaps a career in STEM – her future looks brighter thanks to staying connected with learning throughout the school closures.
Realising the Opportunty
Opportunity EduFinance recently completed in-depth market research in India to understand the need for financial institutions to provide loans to support people living in poverty to improve their skills and employability through vocational training and skill development courses. As a result of the research, EduFinance has partnered with four financial partners and will collaborate with them to develop socially-focused loans to finance vocational education and training.
In the second half of the year, Opportunity held a series of webinars with low-cost education service providers, school associations, financial institutions, donors, and technology providers who are part of the rapidly changing dynamics of the Indian education ecosystem.
Opportunity began working with one new partner, and completed technical assistance work with a new financial institution partner, who will begin providing School Fee Loans to families in India.
Opportunity’s EduFinance team and the Indonesian Microfinance and Business Institute (IMANI) co-hosted a virtual town hall meeting on education finance for financial institutions in Indonesia, to increase the awareness of opportunities for financial institutions in Indonesia to invest in the education sector, ultimately benefiting children’s access to quality education.
Opportunity also built a pipeline of new financial institution partners in Indonesia, where there is huge potential to unlock capital to benefit millions of children with pathways to a quality education.
There is a significant shortage of education resources in Pakistan, where 22.6 million children are out of school. Boys outnumber girls at every stage of education, which is why Opportunity EduFinance is focused on providing more school seats and giving more children – including girls – the opportunity for a quality education.
In 2021, Opportunity onboarded one new partner. After a pilot program in the country pre-COVID-19, the EduQuality team also began gearing up to expand the EducationQuality program in 2022.
With Opportunity’s extensive existing networks in India, a large school-aged population, and substantial gaps in the education system, India is a strategic growth area for Opportunity EduFinance. Affordable, independent schools in India need more access to capital to invest in improving infrastructure and facilities in their schools, and professional development training for educators to continue improving the quality of education delivered.
Opportunity will partner with five new financial service providers in India to reach an additional 1.18 million children with quality education by 2025.
In Pakistan, there is a massive opportunity to improve access to quality education by linking schools and parents to capital, and offering training to school leaders and teachers. In 2022, Opportunity will be expanding the Education Quality program to support 100-200 schools in the Punjab and Sindh regions. Opportunity aims to scale to reach 1.7 million students with access to quality education by 2030.
Reaching More Children
Field research indicates that Opportunity EduFinance could achieve significant outcomes for families living in poverty in countries across the region, including Nepal, Myanmar, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Cambodia. Opportunity aims to enable families living in poverty in other countries in Asia to access the benefits of a quality education.
Opportunity International US implements the Education Program in 25 countries and along with Opportunity Australia, is part of the broader Opportunity International Network.
Opportunity Australia provides funding to support the Education Program in four countries in Asia.
Your support is empowering these women—and millions more like them—to create a new future for their families, free from poverty.
"I spend everything on my daughters’ education."
– Sindhu, Nagpur
Sindhu and Sikkander knew they wanted to educate all of their five daughters, no matter what the cost. Taking out yearly school fee loans made this education possible.
"My daughter came first in the whole school!"
– Madhuri, Nagpur
Madhuri used to worry about how they would afford school fees for her children, Ria (4) and Yesh (5). Thanks to a school fee loan, she doesn’t worry about that any longer.
"Thank you for understanding what we wanted."
– Charanjeet, Dongargarh
Charanjeet's youngest son, Mandeep, is a talented student with dreams of becoming an engineer. A school fee loan is making his dreams possible.