Solutions that last: GPE’s approach to transforming education systems

As a shared commitment to work in partnership to fulfill the right for the world’s most marginalized children to access education, GPE is working to transform education systems in partner countries in order to create lasting changes. Here’s how.


June 07, 2021 by GPE Secretariat
4 minutes read
Students working in small groups at Hidassie School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Credit: GPE/Midastouch
Students working in small groups at Hidassie School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Credit: GPE/Midastouch

GPE was born out of an unshakable belief that every child deserves the hope, opportunity, and agency that a quality education brings. GPE is also the shared commitment to work in partnership to fulfill this right for the world’s most marginalized children.

This spirit of collective dedication has helped GPE grow into a thriving multi-stakeholder partnership, the world’s largest global fund solely dedicated to transforming education in lower-income countries.

To create lasting change, GPE focuses on improving education at a systems level, with a view to leverage the profound transformations required to deliver at least one year of preschool and 12 years of quality education for all children. GPE does this through a twofold approach:

  • building stronger, more effective education systems, and
  • improving the volume, equity and efficiency of domestic resources.

Together, these combine to create and sustain change.

A new operating model for stronger education systems

To drive change at the systems level, our strategic plan - GPE 2025 puts in place a new operating model that is more flexible and responsive to country contexts and needs. Greater investments will be made in organizational capacity, monitoring and country-level learning to ensure partner countries can achieve ambitious reforms to achieve lasting change.

We are hardwiring gender equality throughout everything we do, building on the gains many partner countries have made toward gender parity in education, while recognizing that more needs to be done to tackle the pervasive—and different— barriers that stand in the way of children realizing their full potential through education.

Our new operating model also promotes more equitable and efficient domestic education spending while offering innovative financing mechanisms sought by partner countries, including a matching fund and debt forgiveness mechanisms, as well as expanding the impact of the successful GPE Multiplier.

GPE’s edge

GPE brings together a unique set of partners, tools and resources to transform education. We help countries develop effective education plans, establish robust data and monitoring systems, and identify solutions to pressing problems in order to improve teaching and boost learning for the most marginalized students.

Through country grants, GPE supports governments to strengthen their education systems. This includes improving the training and deployment of teachers, building schools where they are most needed and strengthening the availability and quality
of learning materials.

We leverage our strength as a partnership to ensure GPE funds create transformational change, delivering added value for every dollar invested for example:

  • In Ethiopia, we influenced a seismic shift in government spending toward basic education including preschool education, which has seen a more than 20-fold increase in access.
  • In Sierra Leone, we supported the overturning of a prejudicial law so that pregnant girls will never again be banned from classrooms.
  • In Vietnam, we enabled a fundamental shift in teaching practices by placing children at the center of the learning process. By supporting the highest performing teachers to become “master trainers” for their peers, a far greater number of teachers were able to receive continuous professional support and quality training.
  • In Uganda, we worked with the government and other partners to integrate education for refugee children within the national system at a time when children needed the normalcy of school the most.
  • In the Sahel countries of Burkina Faso and Niger, we helped align development partners behind domestic budgets for the first time, driving national reform, improving aid effectiveness, securing efficiencies and enabling results at scale in order to reach more of those furthest behind.

Innovating at scale

In its pursuit of quality learning, equity and inclusion, GPE has pioneered innovations and taken them to scale, catalyzing more than $882 million toward achieving learning for all through an innovative financing mechanism with a high return on investment, the GPE Multiplier.

Additionally, GPE leverages increased focus and financing for education through partnerships and innovative platforms that include:

  • Establishing the world’s largest fund solely dedicated to creating global public goods for strengthening education systems, the Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX). By sharing and funding proven innovations, KIX is ensuring that the most promising, evidence-based solutions get in the hands of national policymakers and can be scaled. From adapting and expanding.
  • Setting up the biggest education advocacy fund in the world, Education Out Loud, to promote accountability to prioritizing education for all.
  • We have tried and tested a successful emergency support mechanism that strengthens humanitarian development coherence, empowering partner countries to respond rapidly to crises while keeping sight of their long-term goals.

Today’s children and young people hold the keys to a more peaceful, prosperous, resilient and sustainable tomorrow.

The world is being dramatically redefined by common threats to our survival, from conflicts to climate change and health emergencies.

But by investing in education at a systemic level, GPE helps partner countries build their capacities to mitigate and respond to crises in the present while simultaneously increasing their resilience to future threats.


GPE is currently calling on world leaders to “Raise Your Hand” and pledge at least $5 billion for the next five years to help GPE transform education in up to 90 countries and territories, which are home to more than 1 billion children.

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