Once children are in school, the next challenge is to ensure that they are learning to read, write and count, and acquire the skills they will need to become productive members of society.
Since 2000 significant gains have been achieved in access to primary education globally, however, the quality of learning remains a major challenge.
According to UNESCO, an estimated 250 million children either don’t make it to grade 4 or reach grade 4 without basic skills in reading, writing and math.
Factors such as poverty and extreme inequality put children at greater risk of not learning the basics. Living in rural areas or in remote parts of a country also reinforces disadvantages.
Schools in remote areas frequently lack trained teachers, and instructional materials are inadequate and often in short supply. These factors make it difficult for children and youth from marginalized groups to develop strong foundational skills in reading, writing and numeracy.
- In one-third of all countries, less than 75% of teachers were trained according to national standards in 2013.(UIS)
- Between 25% and 75% of children in the more deprived regions of poor countries cannot read a single word even after several years in school.
- The cost of 250 million children not learning the basics is equivalent to a loss of US$129 billion per year. (GEM Report 2013/2014)
- Children who learn less are more likely to leave school early. (GEM Report 2013/2014)
The Global Partnership for Education recognizes the importance of closing the learning gap and supporting governments to invest in teachers.
The Global Partnership provides financial and technical support to developing country partners to improve learning outcomes. As of 2013, nearly US$425 million were allocated for teacher salaries and incentives, training and learning materials, construction of teacher training centers, and management in GPE-supported projects (GPE Portfolio Review 2013).
More specifically, the Global Partnership:
- Funds components of education sector plans linked to promoting teacher quality and learning.
- Through a results-based funding model, incentivizes developing country partners to review their policies and strategies and agree on a results framework for learning outcomes.
- Helps promote national education strategies that respond to community needs and that empower local actors – including civil society and teachers – to demand and monitor the implementation of quality education services.
- Provides technical support in cross-national initiatives that seek to better understand and promote good practice in learning outcomes and quality education.
- Together with the Learning Metrics Task Force, the Global Partnership is leading the development of a proposal for an international platform to build capacity to conduct and utilize learning assessments at the national and regional levels, expand the availability of data on learning and thus strive to improve the quality of learning outcomes for all students.
- The literacy rate for youth in GPE partner countries increased from 71% in 2000-05 to 75% in 2008-2013. (GPE Secretariat)