Results Report 2021: Looking back on five years of progress and challenges

GPE is releasing its final report on the implementation of GPE 2020, its strategy for the 2016–2020 period. See what the key results are in partner countries and for the partnership as a whole.

September 09, 2021 by Élisé Miningou, Global Partnership for Education Secretariat
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3 minutes read
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Girls studying books in a primary school in Lao PDR. Credit: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer
Girls studying books in a primary school in Lao PDR.
GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer

With the completion of GPE 2020, the strategic plan for the 2016–2020 period, the 2021 Results Report presents the progress and achievements of the partnership as measured against targets set in the GPE 2020 results framework. The report also discusses GPE's response to the education emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, the report shows that partner countries have made progress in learning, access and equity. For instance:

  • More children are learning – 70% of partner countries with data improved learning outcomes between 2010–15 (baseline) and 2016–19. Partner countries' capacity to conduct quality learning assessments also improved: almost half of partner countries had quality learning assessment systems in 2020, up from 40% in 2015.
  • More children have access to trained teachers – 39% of partner countries have fewer than 40 primary students per trained teacher in 2020, up from just 25% in 2015.
  • More and more children are completing basic education and the gender gap is narrowing.

The results report points out some areas that require special attention to accelerate progress and bring SDG 4 within reach. For instance:

  • The out-of-school rate declined more slowly than expected, particularly among girls. In 2020, 18% of primary school-age children and 31% of lower-secondary school-age children were out of school. These figures do not capture the impact of the pandemic as the UIS data used in the results framework have a two-year lag.
  • Only 23% of 10-year-olds in partner countries can read and understand a simple text.
  • In one out of three partner countries, the share of government expenditure on education did not increase between 2015 and 2020, and education spending is below the 20% recommended threshold. Domestic financing for education could become a more concerning challenge in the coming years, given the economic impacts of the pandemic and the risks of budget cuts.

Despite the overall learning progress, learning outcomes need to improve at a faster pace and access to education should accelerate to meet SDG 4. This will require stronger and more efficient education systems. Such systems cannot be built without both an increased commitment by partner countries to finance education and better-quality data systems to inform evidence-based policy design and implementation.

The teacher helping a group of students at the Hidassie School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Credit: GPE/Midastouch
The teacher helping a group of students at the Hidassie School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
GPE/Midastouch

With millions of children facing the long-lasting impacts of COVID-19, GPE’s work is more important than ever. GPE announced more than US$500 million in support to partner countries just weeks after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

Three different but complementary grant mechanisms were made available to partner countries: (i) response planning grants ($8.8 million to 87 partner countries), (ii) accelerated funding grants ($467 million to 66 partner countries) and (iii) the continuity of learning global grant ($25 million to UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank).

Preliminary findings show that activities financed by GPE COVID-19 grants were aligned overall with the GPE 2020 strategic goals and targeted the countries where COVID-related learning losses are predicted to be higher (low-income countries and sub-Saharan Africa).

In response to the challenges still facing the education sector in partner countries, GPE has introduced GPE 2025, its strategic plan for the period 2021–2025.

GPE 2025 aims to accelerate access, learning outcomes and gender equality through equitable, inclusive and resilient education systems fit for the 21st century.

In July 2021, the GPE Global Education Summit raised $4 billion from donors to finance the GPE 2025 strategy. Partner countries also committed to providing up to $196 billion in domestic education financing over the period 2021–2025.

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Thank you so much for your hard work & commitments and congratulations to the achievements so far and more to come!!

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