JICA and GPE: A deepening partnership to address the learning crisis

JICA and GPE work together to leverage Japan’s knowledge and experience to advance education in partner countries by addressing the pressing issues facing the basic education sector among others.

August 10, 2023 by Nobuko Kayashima, JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development, JICA Human Development Department, Kazuo Kuroda, Waseda University, and Yuto Kitamura, Tokyo University
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3 minutes read
Students engrossed in studies in a classroom in Papua New Guinea. Credit: JICA
Students engrossed in studies in a classroom in Papua New Guinea.
Credit: JICA

The learning crisis in lower-income countries is a matter of urgent concern. To address the pressing issues facing the basic education sector, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been deepening its partnership with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

Collective impact, which involves sustained cooperation and collaboration between diverse development stakeholders to maximize the impact of their efforts, is recognized as essential to JICA’s Global Agenda for Education (2021).

JICA collaborates with GPE and utilizes the GPE Multiplier to scale up funding for educational programs in partner countries. Through this financial partnership, JICA’s educational models, materials and other project achievements have been disseminated throughout several countries and regions, including in Niger, Mongolia, Senegal, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Cambodia and Ukraine.

Students in Papua New Guinea show off their new textbooks, completed in 2019. Credit: JICA
Students in Papua New Guinea show off their new textbooks, completed in 2019.
Credit:
JICA

In Papua New Guinea and Pakistan, JICA has built on the success of past cooperation efforts and has been named the coordination agency, acting as a liaison between GPE, the local ministries of education and other development partners.

In this role, JICA leads the local education group to drive policy dialogue and foster collaboration. JICA will continue to maximize its impact on educational development according to the needs of lower-income countries and through effective collaboration with GPE.

Developing textbooks and teacher's manuals for science and math in Papua New Guinea based on Japanese models. Credit: JICA
Developing textbooks and teacher's manuals for science and math in Papua New Guinea based on Japanese models.
Credit:
JICA

Japan’s International Cooperation in Education: History and Prospects

JICA’s current focus on collective impact through diverse partnerships can be understood within the context of the evolution of Japan’s international cooperation in education over the past 70 years since its inception.

Japan’s early focus on human resource development expanded to basic education in the 1990s and has since grown to include a variety of modalities such as dispatch of experts and volunteers, technical cooperation, large-scale grant aid, and partnerships with international organizations and NGOs.

To capture this rich history, the JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development published Japan’s International Cooperation in Education: History and Prospects with Springer in 2022.

“Japan’s International Cooperation in Education: History and Prospects,” published in 2022. Credit: JICA
“Japan’s International Cooperation in Education: History and Prospects,” published in 2022.
Credit:
JICA

The book brings together experts in Japan’s international cooperation in education, who provide insights for the future of educational development in the era of the sustainable development goals and global governance.

In addition to a comprehensive understanding of the features of Japan’s educational cooperation, the book provides details on topics such as shifts in aid policy, cooperation efforts within each education subsector (basic education, TVET and higher education), Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) and international yen loans, among others.

Chapters 4-6 feature Japan’s work in basic education, discussing school construction projects from 1990-2000, Japan’s contributions to science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) education, including teacher training and material development, and successful school management programs in Africa. 

Chapter 11 examines Japan’s partnerships with international organizations and initiatives such as GPE, including policies and shifts in relationships over time. Short videos introducing the chapters are available here.

Leveraging Japan’s knowledge and experience to advance education around the world

244 million children are unable to attend school worldwide, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this situation in low-income countries. Beyond access, quality learning must be secured for all children, but we are far from reaching this goal.

SDG 17 aims to strengthen “multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Japan has leveraged knowledge gained through its own educational development experience and its 70 years of educational cooperation to contribute to such partnerships and will continue to do so through the promotion of global governance in education.

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