GPE has put 160 million children in school since 2002

For close to two decades, GPE has been mobilizing funds and partnerships to support governments in lower-income countries to achieve lasting results and impact at scale. Discover our key results.

July 13, 2021 by GPE Secretariat
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4 minutes read
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Students sitting in class with notebooks open in Cambodia. Credit: GPE/Natasha Graham
Students sitting in class with notebooks open in Cambodia.
GPE/Natasha Graham

Since 2002, GPE has been supporting partner countries to build stronger and more resilient education systems that ensure children get a quality education, putting them on the path to reach their full potential.

Over this time, GPE has created better opportunities for millions of children, their communities and their countries.

160 million more children in school

Since 2002 GPE has allocated a total of US$6.5 billion in grants, prioritizing countries with the greatest needs and the hardest to reach children. This support has resulted in 160 million more children in school, including 106 million children in partner countries affected by fragility and conflict.

Giving children a strong foundation for learning throughout their lives starts early: children who attend preprimary education are more likely to start school on time, less likely to drop out or repeat grades, and more likely to complete primary and secondary school. That’s why GPE invests in pre-primary education, has put 46 million children under age 5 on track to a brighter future.

70% of partner countries have improved learning outcomes

Teachers play a critical role in improving learning. Beyond any other school-based factor, teacher effectiveness is the most important predictor of student learning.

To improve the quality of education, GPE wants to make sure that teachers are qualified and well supported. Since 2002, this has meant 67 million more children having access to quality teachers. And 70% of partner countries have improved learning outcomes.

A teacher explaining a lesson to her student at Hidassie School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. November 2013. Credit: GPE/Midastouch
A teacher explaining a lesson to her student at Hidassie School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. November 2013
GPE/Midastouch

82 million more girls in school

Investments in school-age girls have the highest returns in tackling future gender inequalities. Universal girls’ education would practically end child marriage, more than halve infant mortality and drastically reduce early childbearing, overcoming some of the main drivers of gender inequality.

Since 2002, GPE has helped partner countries enroll an additional 82 million girls in school. Primary enrollment for girls has increased by 65% and almost three quarters of partner countries have achieved gender parity in school completion rates.

  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, GPE helped implement a dedicated girls’ education strategy to tackle harmful sociocultural norms and practices against girls.
  • In Pakistan’s Sindh province, GPE’s support helped ensure that schools have toilet and sanitation facilities that meet girls’ needs and help keep them safe.

While girls and children in partner countries affected by fragility and conflict are still less likely to finish school, both groups are gaining ground and the gaps in access are narrowing at the primary level. Twice as many girls are on the path to equality in partner countries.

Gloria Disanka, a student in 6th grade at Mushie Primary School, is learning time measures. Kinshasa. Credit: GPE/Guy Nzazi
Gloria Disanka, a student in 6th grade at Mushie Primary School, is learning time measures. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
GPE/Guy Nzazi

$6 billion saved through more efficient spending

GPE creates incentives for partner countries to develop financially sustainable education sector plans, increase national budget allocations and improve the equity and efficiency of education expenditure.

Over the past two decades, this approach has seen savings of US$6 billion through more efficient education spending. Over time, partner countries have consistently shown that they increase domestic budgets dedicated to education at a faster pace than other lower-income countries.

With innovative financing tools such as the GPE Multiplier, which has helped catalyze more than US$1.6 billion in additional funding, GPE crowds in more external support behind investments to deliver transformation.

By using our funds as catalytic capital to drive more and better financing for education, and by advocating for funding to be aligned behind national priorities, GPE has continued to achieve impact that goes far beyond the direct funds we invest.

The future we want

For nearly two decades, we have achieved significant gains to build strong and resilient education systems so that more children in lower-income countries, especially girls, get the education they need to thrive and contribute to building a more prosperous and sustainable world. The GPE approach shows progress at scale is possible.

But this progress must be accelerated to bring Sustainable Development Goal 4 within reach. It’s time to raise our hand and invest in the future we want.

Find out more in our Case for investment.

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