Second Installment of New Series Explores Successes and Challenges of USAID Education Strategy

November 18, 2013
by Tony Baker, Education for All Campaign Manager

The first blog entry on this series — as well as “Discussion Paper 1 of 3: The U.S. Commitment to the GPE Fund” — can be found here.

In its new series Towards Collaborative Support to Global Education: A Review of the U.S. Pledge to the Global Partnership for Education, RESULTS explores a variety of aspects contained in a pledge that the United States made to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in 2011. As part of its pledge, the United States reiterated Goals 1 and 3 of the USAID Education Strategy, namely, to improve the reading skills of 100 million children and increase equitable access to education in crisis and conflict environments for 15 million learners by 2015.

This second installment reflects on what RESULTS learned about the USAID Education Strategy during field visits to Liberia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia and presents recommendations on how USAID can improve the effectiveness of U.S. interventions in global education.


Download Discussion Paper 2 of 3: The USAID Education Strategy


Download Annex: Country Profiles




Over the course of its country visits, RESULTS found high alignment of USAID basic education projects with the goals of the Education Strategy. It also found that the goals of the Education Strategy and outflowing programming appropriately aimed to address country-level education needs and largely complemented national education plans.

Nevertheless, there were cases that demonstrated the restrictiveness of a top-down strategy, with some projects having been modified or discontinued, even if they had previously met important national needs. There were also reports of lack of genuine collaboration between USAID and local development actors.

In looking ahead at ways in which the United States can improve the effectiveness of its support to global education, the paper calls attention to the following:

  • Country ownership must be the logical starting point for USAID’s Education Strategy if the agency is to achieve sustainable development in education that fully responds to national needs.
  • The Education for All Act of 2013 can assist USAID in fostering country ownership, supporting national education plans, and maximizing collaboration with institutions such as GPE.
  • The Global Partnership for Education provides a necessary complement to USAID’s targeted education work and extends the reach of U.S. assistance.

The final installment in this series, “Discussion Paper 3 of 3: USAID Forward,” is soon to be released.

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