Earlier this month, Honduras’ new 2017-2030 education sector plan was presented to partners in Honduras and to a joint GPE-World Bank delegation.
The education plan, currently in the final stages of getting ready for implementation, is an ambitious roadmap for ensuring quality, equitable and inclusive education for all. One of the key strategic directions is having a coordinated and harmonized education sector operating holistically and as an integrated system. Currently, education subsectors are operating in isolation and institutions are not systematically coordinating based on a common plan.
The new plan also relies on education as a key factor to reduce gang related violence, a major problem in the country.
Under the leadership of the Government of Honduras, the education plan is the result of a collaborative journey of multiple consultations and workshops. These gatherings have provided a platform to over 36 institutions (collectively representing more than 200 individuals) to discuss education policies, technical issues and build consensus on the development of the education system.
The unprecedented inclusive and participatory approach has resulted in a comprehensive education plan that addresses the specific challenges and needs facing the sector in Honduras. This high degree of engagement has also generated strong ownership and accountability by all partners within the sector.
"The plan is inclusive. We must be inclusive and strive for equity and quality in our work. We have thus been participatory from the very start of the plan… This plan has not been developed in the offices of technical experts,” noted Marcial Solís Paz, Executive Secretary of the National Education Council
The new education plan propels systemic reforms
The plan serves as a thrust to complement financing and coordinated actions. It’s also pivotal for the country’s economic socio-economic growth, the development of the education sector, and the reduction of inequalities, a major issue in Honduras, where exclusion and inequalities are the highest in the Latin America according to the World Bank.
Envisioned to be the starting point of a sector-wide education reform, the new plan not only responds to Honduras’ needs in education in the short term, but more importantly creates the necessary conditions to ensure an increased number of children and adolescents have access to quality education, through progressive reform of the sector during the next 12 years.
The new education plan is an important milestone for Honduras; the country never had a long-term education plan and vision for the sector, relying instead on short-term strategies and interventions.
"The plan also points out specific ways of uniting the government and Honduran society with international cooperation around common objectives such as ensuring the right of the people of Honduras to a quality education” mentioned Rutilia Calderón, Honduras’ Minister of Education
GPE’s support to Honduras has been crucial
In 2015, the Global Partnership for Education allocated a grant of US$500,000 to Honduras to support the development of the education sector plan, which was co-financed by the government of Honduras and other partners, with the World Bank acting as GPE grant agent. The country-led process of analyzing the education sector and developing the sector plan received technical support from a highly-qualified team from IIEP-UNESCO.
"The most important thing about the involvement of the Global Partnership for Education is that it integrates with the country’s process. The country determines what the needs are and what it wants the financing for. That is not what we have become accustomed to. Usually it is the cooperating partners that bring in their own programs and offer them to us. It is just the opposite in this case: we will have to sell this plan to them.” said Yolanda Barahona, National Convergence Forum (FONAC) Education Adviser
In addition to financial support, GPE has been instrumental in ensuring that a wide range of voices and perspectives are incorporated in the plan, which has increased the collaboration between partners. This positive experience has led to a strong desire for continued collaboration from all education partners for future activities stipulated in the plan.
The end of the beginning
During the presentations of the new education plan, it was emphasized that, “this is only the end of the beginning”. The next phase will focus on the approval by the National Education Council. Simultaneously, efforts will continue to mobilize sustainable investments from domestic and external sources, which will ensure that the plan is implemented.
GPE applauds Honduras’ efforts and strong commitment to give all children access to a quality education, and will continue to work with the government and all partners in strengthening the education sector in Honduras.