The Global Partnership for Education Pledging Conference could not be coming at a more critical time for global education. Despite substantial progress in access to education since 2000, nearly 40% of children of primary school age (250 million) worldwide either do not reach grade 4 or, if they do, fail to master even minimum levels of literacy and numeracy. Meanwhile, global support to basic education is drastically declining. According to the latest figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), total aid disbursements for basic education across all donors have dropped for three years in a row, resulting in a 16% reduction — and rolling basic education aid levels back to where they were in 2008.
As a genuine partnership that brings together governments, multilateral agencies, international organizations, foundations, the private sector, and civil society, the Global Partnership for Education has the power to put education on the right track. And as the peak moment of its “360 degree” replenishment campaign in which all partners have vital roles to play, the Global Partnership for Education Pledging Conference holds the possibility of being a turning point for global education.
Not only is the Pledging Conference an opportunity to rectify current challenges in education, but it also brings with it strong indications as to the future of global support to education. As the replenishment period spans 2015 to 2018, the pledges that partners make at the Pledging Conference will be some of the first global commitments to education in a post-2015 world.
To navigate this turning point and deliver on the promises of a post-2015 development agenda, the Global Partnership for Education has announced that it will need US$3.5 billion. On Monday of this week, the Global Partnership for Education released 250 Million Reasons to Invest in Education: The Case for Investment chronicling the need for this support and what it can accomplish.
RESULTS Educational Fund and its affiliates in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States have taken an in-depth look at what the Global Partnership for Education's replenishment campaign means for their own respective governments and the roles they must play to ensure the continued success of the Global Partnership's work. Greater Impact Through Partnership: 8 Reasons to Invest in the Global Partnership for Education Now More Than Ever explores how partnering with the Global Partnership for Education is particularly valuable to Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Getting help to where it is needed most
Despite agreeing on the importance of education aid in conflict-affected and fragile situations, donors allocated only 1.4% of global humanitarian assistance to education in 2012, and the majority of aid for basic education is directed away from conflict-affected and fragile states. On the other hand, since its establishment the Global Partnership for Education has committed 61% of its funds to conflict-affected and fragile states — higher than the donor average, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, or the World Bank. Contributions to the Global Partnership for Education get support to where it is needed most.
Complementing bilateral efforts in global education
The Global Partnership for Education’s strategic goals and objectives directly align with the education strategies of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, helping them to more successfully achieve their own goals in the education sector. For example, the Global Partnership’s objectives of supporting education in fragile and conflict-affected states and increasing basic numeracy and literacy skills support the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Education Strategy goals of improved reading skills for 100 million children in primary grades by 2015 and increased equitable access to education in crisis and conflict environments for 15 million learners by 2015.
This alignment has been noted to support national interests as a whole and has been highlighted by the United Kingdom and Australia. For example, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) rated the Global Partnership for Education as “very strong” in “alignment with Australia’s aid priorities and national interests” in its 2012 Australian Multilateral Assessment.
The Global Partnership for Education also extends the reach of taxpayer money and bilateral assistance by enabling Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States to support education plans and programs in countries where they themselves have not established education projects. As noted by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) in its Education Position Paper: Improving Learning, Expanding Opportunities.
A Tried-and-True Model
The Global Partnership for Education has been repeatedly cited as a model to replicate and has scored high on multilateral assessments conducted by some of RESULTS’ Education for All campaign affiliate country governments. In the 2012 Australian Multilateral Assessment, Australia’s DFAT rated the Global Partnership for Education as mostly “strong” in the seven assessment components — placing the Global Partnership for Education among the highest overall scores. After rating the Global Partnership for Education as “good value for money for United Kingdom aid” in its Multilateral Aid Review (MAR), DFID updated the MAR in 2013, rating the Global Partnership for Education as demonstrating “reasonable progress” against all reform priorities — an evaluation equal to that of other major multilaterals.
The UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has also praised the Global Partnership for Education. From its report:
Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are front-running proponents of global education and leaders in the development community writ large — a successful Global Partnership for Education replenishment and the education progress it promises depends on their ambitious commitment as well as that of all other stakeholders.
For all 8 reasons on why now is the time to invest in the Global Partnership for Education, see the full brief Greater Impact Through Partnership. Over the next 8 weeks, RESULTS Educational Fund and its affiliates (RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund, RESULTS International (Australia), RESULTS Canada, and RESULTS United Kingdom) will also be blogging about one of the eight reasons each week on their respective websites as the Global Partnership for Education's Pledging Conference in June draws near.