3 lessons from GPE country-level evaluations to better support partner countries’ education goals

Key findings and lessons on how the partnership can sharpen its support to partner countries, especially with respect to sector planning, monitoring and implementation, from the synthesis of 28 country-level evaluations commissioned by GPE between 2018 and 2019.

May 21, 2020 by Nidhi Khattri, Global Partnership for Education, and Anne Guison Dowdy , Global Partnership for Education Secretariat
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3 minutes read
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Representatives from GPE partner developing countries met in Cotonou, Benin, on November 28, 29 and 30, 2018 to prepare the upcoming Board meeting, learn from each other and exchange experiences.
GPE/Chantal Rigaud

The synthesis of 28 country-level evaluations commissioned by GPE provides key findings and lessons for how the partnership can sharpen its support to partner countries, especially with respect to sector planning, monitoring and implementation.

The lessons summarized in the report are the culmination of a two-year large-scale evaluation comprising 28 case studies that focused on how GPE works at the country level. The sample included countries from all regions in which GPE operates and is representative of income level and fragility status.

What do the findings show?

  • GPE contributed strongly to education sector plan development through its dedicated grants and quality assurance processes. The quality of plan development processes and resulting education plans have increased over time. This increase in quality is necessary but not sufficient for actually using the plans to advance on sector priorities.
  • GPE’s contribution is mixed with respect to strengthening sector dialog, monitoring and plan implementation, indicating that GPE needs to sharpen its approaches in these areas to help countries achieve their education goals. Sector dialog became more inclusive, with more participation of diverse stakeholders, such as CSOs, in local education groups. This is partly due to GPE advocacy, especially at the plan preparation stage. However, dialog weakened during plan implementation, jeopardizing the collective energy and coordinated actions needed to achieve education goals.
  • There is progress in the quality and use of sector monitoring frameworks, but much more improvement is needed. The evaluations showed that mechanisms for monitoring progress, such as practical and relevant results frameworks, operational plans, and data, are still weak and therefore could not be used adequately for decision-making and fulfilling accountability. Donors’ programs were often not aligned with the countries’ education sector plans.
  • Plan implementation varied considerably across countries. This is due to capacity gaps, funding shortcomings, deficient operational planning and prioritization, as noted above, and donors’ project-focused approaches, which tended to weaken sector plan implementation. The results-based portion of GPE implementation grants, while still in early stages, is having a promising effect on plan implementation. Implementation grants remain modest vis-à-vis total plan implementation costs, but they provided major resources for capital investments. The evaluation noted that GPE needs to play a stronger role in supporting sector plan implementation.
  • Domestic education financing increased or remained stable, determined by the socio-economic and political factors within each country. GPE played an important role in maintaining a dialog on financing, but its requirements for domestic financing have not been consistently successful. The GPE Multiplier holds promise and played a role in attracting ODA faster.

We draw three lessons from the evaluation:

  • Lesson 1: Build more capacity

    GPE should strengthen how it helps countries assess and build their capacity to effectively implement and monitor sector plans. This effort should include helping develop plans that are achievable in the first place and that take into consideration sector management and implementation capacity. The results-based tranche of implementation grants holds the potential to contribute to sector-wide monitoring of plan implementation.

  • Lesson 2: Support implementation and monitoring

    GPE convenes stakeholder support around sector plan development but should also devise stronger mechanisms to rally development partners, grant agents and coordinating agencies systematically behind supporting sector plan monitoring and implementation.

  • Lesson 3: Benchmark domestic financing

    There is a need for evidence-based and contextually appropriate benchmarks to leverage domestic sector financing.

These lessons are informing GPE’s strategy development for 2025.

The evaluation was conducted by a consortium led by Universalia Management Group. You can find all individual country studies on the GPE website.

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