Funding | Global Partnership for Education



Children listening in a school in Sierra Leone. Credit: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer
GPE mobilizes development financing from public and private donors around the world to support the implementation of quality education sector plans.

Resource constraints continue to hamper education progress in many developing countries: despite their efforts, they simply do not have sufficient budget resources to provide all girls and boys a full cycle of a quality education.

External resources are necessary to support developing countries’ efforts but trends for education aid have been on the decline for the past 5 years.

In addition, many investments are not targeted to the poorest countries to reach the most marginalized children. Low-income countries do not receive enough aid, yet these countries concentrate the majority of out-of-school children.

The increasing youth population in low-income countries, the repercussions of the global financial crisis, the impact of climate change, large migration movements due to crises and conflicts further exacerbate the challenge to finance education at sufficient levels.

It costs on average US$1.18 a day per child in developing countries (low and lower-middle income) to provide a full cycle of pre-primary through secondary education (13 years). The largest share of this cost, 88%, is borne by developing countries. The international funding gap is just 14 cents a day per child, on average.


Policy Brief
GPE's engagement on domestic financing for education
GPE creates incentives for partner countries to prepare financially sustainable education sector plans, increase national budget allocations and improve the quality of education expenditure.
GPE's engagement on domestic financing for education
GPE’s engagement on domestic financing for education
The Global Partnership for Education is a catalyst for increasing and improving the effectiveness of partner developing countries’ domestic financing for education.
Factsheet. GPE’s engagement on domestic financing for education

The challenge

  • US$39 billion: the annual external financing gap to provide quality pre-primary, primary and secondary education to all children by 2030.
  • Donor aid to basic education in developing countries has dropped by more than 14% in real terms between 2010 and 2014, while overall development aid increased by almost 8% over the same period.
  • 41% only of education aid goes to basic education (2013).


GPE response

GPE recognizes that both fresh thinking and extensive efforts are required to bridge the enormous resource gap in the education sector.

  • Objective 4 of the GPE 2020 strategy aims to mobilize more and better financing for education. GPE works to attract additional donors to education as well as seeking increased financing from traditional donors. Through innovative ways of mobilizing funding, including new financial instruments, GPE is determined to unlock further investments.
  • GPE encourages developing country partners to provide sufficient domestic financing for basic education. We work with partners to attain transparent reporting and government budgetary allocations to education that progressively reach the internationally agreed-upon benchmark of 20% of total expenditure, with a significant proportion (45%) for primary education.
  • GPE advocates for improved alignment and harmonization of funding from GPE and its international partners around nationally owned education sector plans and country systems.
  • Objective 3 of GPE 2020 seeks to ensure that GPE grants efficiently and effectively support sector plans focused on improved equity, efficiency and learning.
  • GPE adheres to high standards of transparency in regards to its governance, policies, financing, and program funding. We regularly publish data compliant with the standards of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) registry. View GPE data in the IATI registry

Funding model

Reading is Divine. Credit: Miksham Lal, India

To enhance its impact, the Global Partnership for Education has adopted in 2014 a results-based funding model. Funding allocations are made with an emphasis on equity, efficiency and learning, and ensure that results are the key focus:

  • Allocations are based on countries’ needs. Eligibility to receive a Program Implementation Grant is based on poverty level, education vulnerability (number of children out of school) and fragility.
  • Performance is key:
    • Eligible countries can receive 70% of their maximum allocation based on a credible education sector plan endorsed by national and international partners, the commitment to collect and analyze data to better manage their education system, and an increase in domestic spending on education up to at least 20% of the national budget.
    • To receive the remaining 30% of the allocation, countries must demonstrate significant results in three essential dimensions of the education system: equity, efficiency, and learning outcomes.


  • 4.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) is allocated to education in GPE partner developing countries after they join GPE (4.3% before joining). This represents an average increase of 11%.
  • The share of government expenditures allocated to education by GPE partner developing countries increased from 16.7% in 2008 to 17.3% in 2012.
  • Since 2003, GPE has allocated US$4.6 billion in grants to its developing country partners.


Grant allocation per year, 2003-2015

GPE implementation grant allocations by year


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