Learning from the partner countries piloting the GPE 2025 approach

Insights and lessons from the stakeholders in partner countries who are piloting GPE’s new model to transform education systems at scale.

July 14, 2022 by GPE Secretariat
9 minutes read
Students in second grade classroom.  Nyamachaki Primary School, Nyeri County, Kenya. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Students in second grade classroom. Nyamachaki Primary School, Nyeri County, Kenya.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch

GPE's new operating model – GPE 2025 – focuses on system transformation, which sources, supports, and sustains transformative reforms with the potential for impact at scale.

GPE organized a 2-day webinar on 21-22 June 2022 to hear from stakeholders in partner countries that piloted the new model: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), El Salvador, Kenya, Nepal, Tajikistan and Uganda. Marcellus Albertin, head of the Human and Social Development Cluster at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, moderated the discussions.

The webinar was a partnership learning moment, allowing exchanges among countries on lessons learned from their respective experiences. The discussions provided insight into various aspects of GPE's new model for other partner countries who will subsequently engage with it, and more broadly for the whole partnership.

Day 1 – Partnership compact process (prioritization and system transformation; sector dialogue and alignment)

1. Regarding the prioritization process, what went well, what advice could you give other countries, and what can be improved? Could you highlight the factors making it easy or difficult to select one priority reform area?

Representatives from Kenya, El Salvador, Uganda, Nepal and DRC talked about the value of assessing bottlenecks to system transformation alongside data and evidence, and cited challenges as well as the usefulness of selecting one priority reform area. They highlighted the importance of engaging a wide range of education stakeholders in the process.

“We saw a big change in the way we were identifying priorities. The difference we found in this particular process was that we concentrated on coming up with the bottlenecks. … This was a very useful process because the ministry, technical team, and development partners in the country were able to put our heads together and reason and see what exactly is hindering us to achieve systems transformation. This was a departure from the past, where we came up with wish lists of challenges affecting the sector. This time we were focused on the bottlenecks, and I found this very useful.”

Martha Ekirapa, Deputy Director of Education, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Kenya

“There were so many priorities, and we had a very long list, maybe a wish list, but they were all priorities. In the end, we had to start clustering them, and eventually come up with not even one but about 20, and then eventually we focused on one. …With collective effort and all the evidence and data gathered around each of those, finally we could go to that one position.”

Jane Egau Okou, Director of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education & Sports in Uganda

"We had a lot of discussion and involved the [local education group] in several rounds on narrowing down from the 12 issues that we had found to 3 areas. …We’re finding it hard to now de-prioritize 2 of them. We’re still moving forward wanting to keep all three of them in our compact."

Jimmy Oostrum, Education Specialist, UNICEF (Coordinating Agency, Nepal)

2. How can countries best manage the partnership compact development process? How can the process be more effective and efficient?

Representatives from Kenya, Nepal, El Salvador and Uganda shared that country ownership, particularly leadership from the ministry of education, is critical to the process, as is clearly mapping the technical, operational and resources required. Additionally, the reform area prioritization process needs to align to a country's policy cycle.

“First of all, a roadmap needs to be clear, precise, with schedule guidelines, and with those who are going to be responsible for the process – what we’ll do and how we’ll do it. Second, we need a leader; we need to show the institutional leadership from the education sector the changes we want to carry out, whether it is a change in the syllabus or quality of learning – very clear. Third, we need to say, from the beginning, this is based on evidence.”

Ana Marta Najarro, Acting Planning Director, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, El Salvador

3. How is the partnership compact process fostering inclusive dialogue and helping to align partners and resources behind the priority reform area?

Representatives from all pilot countries noted that while sector dialogue was not new to them, the partnership compact process helped strengthen inclusivity and alignment. Some said it fostered a more meaningful dialogue and created space for stakeholders to contribute more actively, beyond listening to and validating ministry plans.

“The GPE process, particularly in developing the partnership compact, has revitalized sector dialogue. The exchanges and discussions around the main reform have interested many stakeholders (technical and financial partners, civil society organizations, teacher unions, etc.). This dialogue around the main reform was led by the Technical Working Group stemming from the Sectoral Consultation Committee (CCS) which regularly reported the conclusions of the discussions to the members of the CCS. The sector dialogue was dynamic and, above all, inclusive. Moreover, we welcomed the participation of the ministries providing public resources – the Ministry of the Budget and the Ministry of Finance – which endorsed the choice of the main reform. The representatives of these ministries especially insisted on the alignment of resources allocated by partners with the resources and policies of the State.”

Hamissou Oumarou, Representative of Secrétariat Permanent d'Appui et de Coordination du secteur de l'Éducation (SPACE), Democratic Republic of Congo

“Nepal has recently gone through a federal transition. We have 753 new key stakeholders – the local governments, which have the main mandate for the implementation and management of school education. …Going through compact guidance and undertaking the consultations further helped us think of how to systematically engage with local governments, so it’s not just a one off asking for input, but we have a system where we go back to the local governments with next steps and allow space to validate.”

Jimmy Oostrum, Education Specialist, UNICEF (Coordinating Agency, Nepal)

“All our partners came together like never before. We’ve never seen such inclusive sector dialogue the way it has happened at the moment. Even private foundations have come in. Every partner wants to hear what is the thinking of the government as contained in the partnership compact.”

Martha Ekirapa, Deputy Director of Education, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Kenya

“The process will help us set up a national coordination council so that we can monitor and oversee the implementation of our strategic documents and our programs in the education and science area in Tajikistan. The joint work with the local education group and joint efforts with other non-government actors have helped us in the process of preparing and putting together [the compact].”

Muzaffarzoda Badriddin, Head of Economics and Planning Department, Ministry of Education and Science, Tajikistan

"It is not realistic to expect that the ongoing partner support will necessarily always align with the identified priorities. That’s another issue we are fully aware of as we continue and go along with this process."

Rosemary Rugamba-Rwanyange, Education Specialist, UNICEF (Coordinating Agency, Uganda)

Day 2 – Enabling factors analysis and gender equality

GPE 2025 identifies 4 enabling factors as crucial drivers of system transformation: data and evidence; sector coordination; gender-responsive planning; and volume, equity and efficiency of domestic public expenditure on education.

4. To what extent did the enabling factors analysis process contribute to the inclusive sector dialogue for the 4 enabling factor areas? Did the process raise issues that wouldn’t have come up otherwise?

“I think a major point in this reform was realizing how to disseminate and use data. And most importantly, I think the realization that having a strong strategy doesn’t necessarily help monitoring and implementing it, unless we have strong indicators and capacity to monitor those [key performance indicators] at the country level.”

Alberto Biancoli, Chief of Education, UNICEF (Coordinating Agency, Tajikistan)

“On the sector coordination, and the inclusive sector dialogue, this review and the validation through the [Independent Technical Advisory Panel] led us to discuss this in our budget review meeting, which is a joint sector review, and agree that we need to do a landscape exercise, map the composition and the types of CSOs that are engaged in or have a stake in the sector, and we need to find ways to facilitate meaningful engagement for the different type of CSOs.”

Jimmy Oostrum, Education Specialist, UNICEF (Coordinating Agency, Nepal)

5. To what extent will this process help address issues around the volume, equity and efficiency of domestic financing?

“I have seen our development partners go to the top level of government to say ‘let’s increase financing to education’. I’ve seen that commitment, but they are not able to move at the pace we want them to go. It remains a challenge, but I really appreciate this process because up to the top level of government, now everyone knows, there is this pressure, a need to increase the budget for education.”

Jane Egau Okou, Director of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education & Sports, Uganda

6. How was gender equality integrated in the process and dialogue?

Representatives from all pilot countries acknowledged the importance of gender equality and talked about how the partnership compact process helped them assess their gender-responsive planning and identify measures to more effectively address this foundational issue.

“There is a national strategy on gender equality and girls (2015-2025), but there is no recent diagnostic on the education of girls and gender equality theme. …The work on the partnership compact and the enabling factors analysis has allowed us to work with partners and the Ministry of Education to better harmonize and coordinate our interventions as well as to better analyze the problem to respond in a more coordinated manner within the compact. There is still work to be done, and we will pursue this work, particularly with the funding window of the Girls Education Accelerator, to define interventions.”

Helena Murseli, Chief of Education, UNICEF (Coordinating Agency, Democratic Republic of Congo)

“When we analyzed the sector evaluation, we saw gaps when it came to gender equality. The compact allowed us to deepen the dialogue and identify those gaps clearly. Many of the activities proposed include the gender equality aspect in a transformative way. We included an expert in gender equality from the Ministry of Education team in all dialogues, working groups, local education group meetings, etc. I would like to add that the support from our GPE focal point was key, and support from KIX which also helped us prepare the spaces for dialogue and hence count on the support of CSOs. They know how to integrate the gender aspect into all of it.”

Marta Navarro Montes, Education Specialist, UNICEF (Coordinating Agency, El Salvador)

"In Kenya, at the national level we have realized gender parity. But you find that we have serious disparities in certain regions. So we are now saying let us zero down in those particular areas. One lesson I want to give to colleagues – do not just concentrate on the national level data. It might be misleading. Dig into the subnational level and have interventions that will ensure that everyone, every child, girl and boy is on board."

Martha Ekirapa, Deputy Director of Education, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Kenya

"The question was, by making [gender] a mandatory priority, might it get less ownership than the other priorities coming up through sector dialogue, and through the analysis, and through the validation? … And we felt gender cannot be seen as standalone. In Nepal, disparity isn’t just gender, but it is gender combined with caste/ethnicity, remoteness, socio-economic status, ability, etc. By itself, there is gender parity, but if you take these other factors into account, there is intersectionality."

Jimmy Oostrum, Education Specialist, UNICEF (Coordinating Agency, Nepal)

Related blogs

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • Global and entity tokens are replaced with their values. Browse available tokens.
  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.