Greater Impact Through Partnership

March 27, 2014
by Tony Baker, Education for All Campaign Manager

This post originally appeared on the Education for All blog.

New RESULTS brief highlights the role of Australia, Canada, U.K., and U.S. in GPE replenishment

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Pledging Conference could not be coming at a more critical time for global education. Despite substantial progress in access to education since 2000, nearly 40 percent of children of primary school age (250 million) worldwide either do not reach grade 4 or, if they do, fail to master even minimum levels of literacy and numeracy. Meanwhile, global support to basic education is drastically declining. According to the latest figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), total aid disbursements for basic education across all donors have dropped for three years in a row, resulting in a 16 percent reduction — and rolling basic education aid levels back to where they were in 2008.

As a genuine partnership that brings together governments, multilateral agencies, international organizations, foundations, the private sector, and civil society, the Global Partnership for Education has the power to put education on the right track. And as the peak moment of its “360 degree” replenishment campaign in which all partners have vital roles to play, the GPE Pledging Conference holds the possibility of being a turning point for global education.

Not only is the GPE Pledging Conference an opportunity to rectify current challenges in education, but it also brings with it strong indications as to the future of global support to education. As the replenishment period spans 2015 to 2018, the pledges that partners make at the GPE Pledging Conference will be some of the first global commitments to education in a post-2015 world.

To navigate this turning point and deliver on the promises of a post-2015 development agenda, the Global Partnership for Education has announced that it will need US$3.5 billion. On 

Monday of this week, the Global Partnership for Education released 250 Million Reasons to Invest in Education: The Case for Investment chronicling the need for this support and what it can accomplish.

RESULTS Educational Fund and its affiliates in Australia, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. have taken an in-depth look at what the GPE replenishment campaign means for their own respective governments and the roles they must play to ensure the continued success of GPE’s work. Greater Impact Through Partnership: 8 Reasons to Invest in the Global Partnership for Education Now More Than Ever explores how partnering with the Global Partnership for Education is particularly valuable to Australia, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S.


Getting help to where it is needed most

Nearly three-quarters of the world’s 57 million primary-school-age children who are out of school live in GPE developing country partners. Of the 250 million children estimated by UNESCO to not be learning the basics, 100 million (40 percent) of them are in GPE developing country partners. GPE developing country partners are home to 85 percent of the world’s out-of-school children living in conflict or fragile conditions.

Despite agreeing on the importance of education aid in conflict-affected and fragile situations, donors allocated only 1.4 percent of global humanitarian assistance to education in 2012, and the majority of aid for basic education is directed away from conflict-affected and fragile states. On the other hand, since its establishment the Global Partnership for Education has committed 61 percent of its funds to conflict-affected and fragile states — higher than the donor average, Australia, Canada, the U.K., the U.S., or the World Bank. Contributions to the Global Partnership for Education get support to where it is needed most.

Complementing bilateral efforts in global education

GPE’s strategic goals and objectives directly align with the education strategies of Australia, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S., helping them to more successfully achieve their own goals in the education sector. For example, GPE’s objectives of supporting education in fragile and conflict-affected states and increasing basic numeracy and literacy skills support the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Education Strategy goals of improved reading skills for 100 million children in primary grades by 2015 and increased equitable access to education in crisis and conflict environments for 15 million learners by 2015.

This alignment has been noted to support national interests as a whole and has been highlighted by the U.K. and Australia. For example, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) rated the Global Partnership for Education as “very strong” in “alignment with Australia’s aid priorities and national interests” in its 2012 Australian Multilateral Assessment.

The Global Partnership for Education also extends the reach of taxpayer money and bilateral assistance by enabling Australia, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. to support education plans and programs in countries where they themselves have not established education projects. As noted by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) in its Education Position Paper: Improving Learning, Expanding Opportunities,

By 2015, GPE and DFID will be supporting nine of the twelve countries in the world with the largest numbers of out-of-school children. Of these, DFID will be relying on GPE to reach four of them (Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali).


A tried-and-true model

The Global Partnership for Education has been repeatedly cited as a model to replicate and has scored high on multilateral assessments conducted by some of RESULTS’ Education for All campaign affiliate country governments. In the 2012 Australian Multilateral Assessment, Australia’s DFAT rated the Global Partnership for Education as mostly “strong” in the seven assessment components — placing the Global Partnership for Education among the highest overall scores. After rating the Global Partnership for Education as “good value for money for U.K. aid” in its Multilateral Aid Review (MAR), DFID updated the MAR in 2013, rating the Global Partnership for Education as demonstrating “reasonable progress” against all reform priorities — an evaluation equal to that of other major multilaterals.

The UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has also praised the Global Partnership for Education. From its report:

The Global Partnership for Education is getting quality education to marginalised children, coordinating education’s many players, offering aid without wasteful replication, and following local leadership. … GPE is single-sector (education) but shows how collaboration can bring better results. Similar models might prove useful in other areas.

Australia, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. are front-running proponents of global education and leaders in the development community writ large — a successful GPE replenishment and the education progress it promises depends on their ambitious commitment as well as that of all other stakeholders.

For all 8 reasons on why now is the time to invest in the Global Partnership for Education, see the full brief Greater Impact Through Partnership. Over the next 8 weeks, RESULTS Educational Fund and its affiliates (RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund, RESULTS International (Australia), RESULTS Canada, and RESULTS UK) will also be blogging about one of the eight reasons each week on their respective websites as the June GPE Pledging Conference draws near.


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