Since 2021, GPE has been on a journey of supporting the transformation of education in partner countries. This journey is not always easy.
As a partnership, we are learning together what education system transformation means. Partner countries are coalescing around a priority reform (in many cases focusing on foundational learning), building a shared sense of purpose and aligning different parts of the education system towards the attainment of that core goal.
This is a new approach. We don’t yet have much tangible knowledge of how such a shift happens in the education systems of lower-income countries. Concepts and literature on system transformation are often esoteric and theoretical. There is little in the way of concrete examples and lived experience.
The journey of Sobral
But last week in Brazil, we had the unique opportunity to learn and live education change in concrete terms. At the invitation of partners from the philanthropic community, GPE took part in a 4-day immersive visit to learn from the experience of Sobral, a municipality of 200,000 people in the northeastern state of Ceará.
Between 2000 and 2004, students in Sobral made remarkable progress in foundational learning (particularly literacy in the early grades), which has been sustained over two decades and is lauded as a positive outlier in a world mired by a global learning crisis.