Reason #5: The Global Partnership for Education Gets Results


April 30, 2014
Dan Jones, Campaigns Manager at RESULTS UK

This post originally appeared on the RESULTS UK blog.

Over eight weeks, RESULTS affiliates in the U.K., Australia, Canada, and the U.S. are delving deeper into 8 key reasons to invest in the Global Partnership for Education now more than ever, outlined in our joint report Greater Impact Through Partnership. This blog about Reason #5 is by Dan Jones, Campaigns Manager at RESULTS UK. You can read the previous blogs written by staff from Australia, Canada, the U.K., and U.S., here.

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.

— The Report of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Global progress, but much more is needed

As RESULTS and our partners ramp up our advocacy in advance of the Global Partnership for Education’s replenishment conference in June, we know a crucial part of the case we need to make in order to persuade our governments to invest in the GPE is being able to demonstrate the results GPE can, and has, achieved.

Thanks to the efforts of many, including our governments’ own aid programs and the work of the GPE, dramatic progress has been made over recent years. For example, since 1999 the number of children out of school around the world fell almost by half.

Yet, as UNESCO recently reported, “by 2015, many countries will still not have reached the Education For All goals.” Globally, 1 out of 10 children still cannot go to school. Nearly 40 percent of children of primary school age (250 million) either do not reach grade 4 or, if they do, fail to attain even minimum learning standards — a “global learning crisis,” according to UNESCO.

If donor governments like ours make total pledges of US$3.5 billion in June to ensure that the Global Partnership is fully-funded, GPE has pledged in turn to support 29 million children over the next four years to receive a primary and lower secondary education. They plan to reduce the number of children not completing primary school by more than a third between 2014 and 2018.

GPE's results so far

So what results has the Global Partnership for Education achieved so far, and why are they a good investment of our money?

Since it was established in 2002, the Global Partnership has grown from 7 developing country partners to 59 in 2013 and has become the 4th largest donor to low- and lower-middle income countries. GPE highlight that with their help, low-income countries have enrolled nearly 22 million more children into school, including 10 million girls. In 2011, 72 percent of girls in GPE countries finished primary school compared to 55 percent in 2002. GPE has helped train 300,000 teachers, built or rehabilitated 53,000 classrooms, and distributed 50 million textbooks.

Strengthening education systems

GPE’s system-strengthening partnership approach of supporting plans led by the governments of their partner developing countries means that these improvements cannot and should not be attributed solely to the Global Partnership. Ultimately, it is the developing countries themselves that should take proud credit for these achievements. These are their results, and this nuance is absolutely fundamental to the success of GPE’s model and the reason why they received the praise I’ve quoted above from the UN’s High Level Panel on Post-2015 Development.

The Panel, which was brought together by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and co-chaired by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, sees GPE’s model as the kind of powerful, innovative approach that ending poverty needs. The bottom line is that collaborative planning, coordinated aid, increased oversight, and bolstered commitment — the strengthening of whole education systems that GPE specialises in — may not sound sexy or simple to communicate — but is absolutely fundamental to getting results for the world’s poorest children.

You can read more in our report about how developing countries that are part of GPE are clearly demonstrating accelerated progress that is seeing these low income countries catch up with the levels of education enrollment and completion shown by the mostly upper-middle income countries that are not part of GPE. Another tangible result for GPE — and more importantly for its partner countries — is that on average, domestic financing for education by GPE partner developing countries increases by 10% as a share of GDP after they join the partnership. A good demonstration of the national commitment needed, and which GPE is helping to deliver.

More tangible still is to look at some of the results achieved in GPE countries. In Cameroon, for example, a GPE grant was used during an economic crisis to pay teacher salaries as the country worked to address its teacher shortage. Over the grant period (2007-2011) 37,200 qualified primary school teachers were hired, 60 percent of them women. With this increased presence of female teachers, the ratio of girls to boys in school rose from 63 girls to 100 boys in 2007 to 89 girls for every 100 boys in 2011. That’s a result.

Action needed in June

As June’s replenishment conference approaches, RESULTS Affiliates in Australia, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. will continue to highlight these results to our Governments as a clear demonstration that we believe this is our money, well spent. That they should invest in the Global Partnership for Education now more than ever.

Check back next week for another reason!

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