Over the last decade and a half, we've seen historic gains in the global education sector, but enormous challenges remain. One set of figures sums it up: while the number of out-of-school children and youth dropped by 111 million between 2000 and 2014, 263 million remain out of school. That's a reality no one should be willing to accept.
According to the International Commission for Financing Global Education Opportunities, failure to substantially increase financing for education means that tens of millions of children will continue to be denied the opportunity to go to school and learn basic skills for decades to come. Based on current trends, only one out of 10 young people in low-income countries will be on track to gain basic secondary-level skills by 2030. Consequently, we'll see slow progress on poverty, health and other development goals that depend on educating more people. That's simply not acceptable as every child should get the education he or she needs and deserves.
At GPE, we're constantly thinking about how we can enlarge and deepen the pool of financing needed to accelerate progress in education. That's why GPE's Board of Directors has approved a new financing and funding framework to leverage additional educational financing from a wider range of sources and better target those resources to address countries' needs.
Mobilizing more and better resources for education
The new framework enables GPE to play a more central and impactful financing role by taking advantage of the strengths of a growing partnership to mobilize more and better financing, as well as harnessing innovation and commitment in support of learning.
The framework will help GPE's developing country partners expand the pool of as-yet untapped sources of education funding from both public and private sources, leverage countries' domestic financing through GPE's results-based financing model, share more knowledge with other countries about innovations and increase domestic political will and accountability for education.
Reaching more countries
It will also make lower middle-income countries eligible for some GPE support, extending the partnership's reach from 65 countries currently to 89 and with a new allocation formula that delivers support where it is needed most – based on poverty (GDP purchasing power parity), population, education needs (primary and lower-secondary completion rates) with an additional weighting for fragile and conflict affected countries. Additionally, there will be more opportunity for contributors to the GPE Fund to target funds to specific geographic and thematic areas.
A flexible and nimble framework to leverage more funding
To meet these objectives, the new framework includes four primary elements:
GPE will, first of all, continue its focus on education sector strengthening with its results-based funding model. In addition to GPE's funding for education sector plans, GPE will now also support countries to develop comprehensive investment cases for their plans which will help attract new financing that's better aligned and coordinated.
Second, we are creating a leverage fund – a dedicated pool to incentivize low- and lower middle-income countries by offering them one US$1 for every US$3 of additional funding they can mobilize from external sources. The leverage fund will initially be capitalized with a minimum of U$S100 million that GPE will make available separately from its traditional funding of education sector plan implementation.
The main objective of the leverage fund is to crowd-in additional sources of funding that countries may not have had access to before – such as from multilateral development banks, other development partner organizations and the private sector. The leverage fund will be open to all partner countries.
Funding for knowledge exchange, innovation and accountability
Third, the new framework will support countries' knowledge and innovation exchange activities. The countries within our partnership offer diverse experiences, tested interventions and other information and best practices that others can use to solve their own education challenges.
With this in mind, GPE will launch a knowledge and innovation exchange platform that will make it easier for developing country partners to seek out and find new ideas from other partners. This platform will focus primarily on global-level activities, and it will set out to attract non-traditional actors into GPE's work, including the private sector.
Fourth, the new framework provides funding to support advocacy and social accountability. It builds on the experience from GPE's Civil Society Education Fund, which has supported civil society country level advocacy. The new effort will help non-governmental organizations, think tanks, research organizations, university departments, and others enhance citizen feedback and participation and build political will to help public sector institutions address policy, strategy and implementation challenges.
Addressing remaining education challenges efficiently
The financing and funding framework is a groundbreaking way for GPE partner countries to attract new, untapped funding sources for education – both domestically and externally. It will enable governments to address remaining challenges in the education sector and help us to drive major progress around the globe at a very critical time.
The framework sets the stage for the scale of progress needed to ensure that SDG 4 can be reached by 2030.
Learn more about GPE's funding