Progress in education in the world’s poorest countries is possible

GPE releases its Results Report 2015/2016, with positive trends for 16 of the 19 indicators it monitored in 2016

A teacher and her students at the Beenapani General Primary School in Bangladesh. Credit: GPE/Daisuke Kanazawa
A teacher and her students at the Beenapani General Primary School in Bangladesh. According to the report, a growing number of countries has improved their pupil-to-trained-teacher ratios, exceeding the partnership's expected milestones.

Today, GPE launches its Results Report 2015/2016, which monitors the partnership’s progress in meeting its goals and objectives for improved learning, through educational systems that are responsive to equity, gender equality and inclusion.

The report highlights significant progress in educational outcomes across the partnership, which met targets in 16 out of 19 indicators reporting in 2016.

The report tracks the effectiveness of GPE’s approach: it demonstrates how efforts to raise more and better quality finance, internationally and from domestic budgets, can lock together with improvements in evidence-based sector planning and mutual accountability to produce strengthened and more responsive education systems, capable of meeting the learning needs of children and youth in some of the most challenging international contexts.

GPE is making an impact on learning and equity

The report highlights progress in improving learning outcomes, increased equity, gender equality and inclusion.

Two thirds of countries with available data show improved learning outcomes – demonstrating that with the right support learning can improve even under the most difficult circumstances.

The report notes that good quality data on learning outcomes remains a top priority for the partnership, essential for driving a stronger focus on results for children.

When it comes to equity and inclusion, a greater proportion of primary and lower-secondary school-age children are in school across GPE developing country partners, completing primary and secondary school, compared to 2013, particularly in countries affected by fragility and conflict.

In addition, milestones for improvements in gender parity among children completing lower-secondary school were surpassed.

At the country-level, education systems are being strengthened

The really good news is that education systems are being strengthened, providing the foundation for stronger educational outcomes for children in coming years. According to the report, a growing number of countries has improved their pupil-to-trained-teacher ratios, exceeding the partnership's expected milestones.

Countries are doing their part to ensure sustainable finance for education: more than three quarters of GPE developing country partners dedicated 20% or more of their public expenditure to education or increased their expenditures between 2014 and 2015.

And the availability of key data on education is improving: 42% of partner countries reported key education data to UIS in 2016, compared to a baseline of 30%.

GPE’s grants reinforce these gains. They target countries with high levels of educational vulnerability – especially low income countries and countries affected by fragility and conflict. GPE’s funding model is designed to strengthen the national focus on domestic financing, data and good quality sector planning.

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In addition, the report demonstrates that GPE funding provides resources in areas essential to strengthened and more effective educational systems:  through improvements in teacher training, learning materials, learning assessment systems and education data, as well as through targeted interventions that support gender equality and inclusion.

At the global level, the partnership works

GPE plays a critical role at the global level in advocating for, and raising, more and better quality financing for education systems. With US$6.4 million raised from non-traditional donors and all pledges by traditional GPE donors fulfilled, the partnership achieved important 2016 milestones in this area.

The partnership has also strengthened its effectiveness, improving in the areas of fiduciary oversight, risk management, quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation and advocacy – all while keeping Secretariat operational costs at 4%.

Progress is possible, but the hard work must continue

There are of course areas where the partnership must continue to improve. An important purpose of the Results Report is to reinforce the principle of mutual accountability for results – ensuring that all partners are doing their part for educational progress. 

The report highlights three areas where milestones were missed and greater attention is needed: pre-primary enrollment rations, gender parity in out-of-school children (where girls remain significantly disadvantaged), and alignment of GPE grants and international financing with national systems.

More generally, the report highlights an urgent need for better data and evidence (especially through strengthened learning assessment systems) to support improvements in planning and achieving results; and the need for improved international financing for education.

With these challenges clearly in sight, and data that demonstrates significant progress, the results report charts a path forward for the partnership. 

GPE is on the move, creating a better future for millions of children through strengthened educational systems.

Author(s)

Chief Technical Officer, Global Partnership for Education
Karen Mundy is the Chief Technical Officer at the Global Partnership for Education, where she directs the Strategy, Policy and Performance team. Dr. Mundy is a globally recognized leader and specialist in education. She...
Moritz Bilagher is Head of Monitoring and Evaluation at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), in charge of its M&E strategy, including its results framework, containing learning indicators. Before joining GPE, Moritz...

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