4 examples of civil society advocating for more national education funding

Photo of the week

Clockwise from top left: A girl holds a globe in class in Sierra Leone (Credit: GPE/Stephan Bachneheimer), two students study together in Timor-Leste (Credit GPE/Tara O'Connell), A girl looks out the window of her classroom in Malawi (Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud), Three girls walking out of school in Bangladesh (Credit: The World Bank)

Clockwise from top left, images of students in Sierra Leone, East Timor, Malawi, and Bangladesh. In these four countries civil society organizations--supported by GPE Civil Society Education Fund grants--succesfully lobbied for increases in domestic financing for education.

CREDIT: Sierra Leone, GPE/Stephan Bachneheimer; Timor-Leste, GPE/Tara O'Connell; Malawi, GPE/Chantal Rigaud; Bangladesh, The World Bank

In Sierra Leone, the Education for All Sierra Leone (EFA-SL) coalition tracked and monitored government expenditure to assess whether the commitments made by the government were upheld and resources were actually reaching intended beneficiaries. Based on the research findings, the EFA-SL advocated for changes in policies, which contributed to the government of Sierra Leone allocating 20% of the national budget to education, the internationally-recommended share.

In Malawi, the Civil Society Education Coalition has been at the forefront of budget advocacy. Through active campaigning, the coalition contributed to education being included as a key priority in the national development framework for 2011–2016. Expenditure on education as a percentage of total government expenditure rose from 12.5% in 2010 to 16.3% in 2014. During the same period, education as a share of GDP increased from 4.4% to 6.9%, one of the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In Bangladesh, the Campaign for Popular Education, a well-established civil society coalition, has actively advocated for increasing domestic resources for education. In 2015, it held public hearings to discuss the education budget with local communities. It also organized a policy dialogue on education financing, which brought together development partners, teachers’ associations, parliamentarians, ministers and other influential public figures. The coalition submitted an open appeal to the prime minister to ensure that the education budget is increased to 20% of the total government budget (from the current 13%) by 2021.

In Timor-Leste, the Coalition of Education has developed a major media campaign, in partnership with television and radio networks, to lobby for a significant increase in the education budget. The media campaign focused on informing the Timorese people about the lack of basic inputs and low quality of education due to insufficient government funding. Public expenditure on education remained low (between 7 and 10%) and the coalition has urged the government to allocate at least 25% of the national budget to education.

These examples have been extracted from the policy brief: GPE’s engagement for domestic financing for education.

Read the policy brief


The Global Partnership for Education Secretariat is headquartered in Washington DC and has approximately 100 staff. The Secretariat provides administrative and operational support to all its partners including...

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