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.