The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Board of Directors convened virtually on June 9 to 11, 2020.
The meeting was opened by Vice Minister for Development Cooperation, Kitty van der Heijden, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands, and the Board expressed thanks to her government for hosting this virtual meeting of GPE’s Board of Directors.
The Board’s deliberations focused on debating and agreeing the core elements of GPE’s next strategic plan for 2021-2025. Recognizing the grave threat to education progress posed by impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is compounding an already urgent learning crisis, the Board affirmed the need to depart from business as usual. GPE’s strategy will have to leverage opportunities to transform education on a system-wide scale so no one is left behind. To that end, the Board approved a new vision and mission for GPE, and a goal, country-level and global-level objectives for the next strategic plan. The Board also affirmed the usefulness of a GPE rallying cry, aligned with the strategy, to drive support for the upcoming replenishment. The strategy, priority areas and operating model will be further developed over the coming months.
The Board also received the Independent Summative Evaluation (ISE), expressing appreciation for the work of the Independent Evaluators and the Independent Evaluation Committee and noting the timeliness and relevance of the recommendations for the strategy development. The ISE is the culmination of a two-stage process involving a comprehensive assessment of GPE’s overall relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, contribution to impact, and likely sustainability of the GPE model at both the country and global levels, and a thorough review of the existing evidence. Among its findings, the ISE noted GPE has built a strong partnership by supporting much improved education sector plans, more inclusive sector dialogue and monitoring processes, and better financing. While grant implementation was judged to be efficient, a key recommendation of the ISE was to improve sector plan implementation.
The CEO reported to the Board on the work of the Secretariat. Grant approvals for the current calendar year are on track for a record US$1.5 billion in the context of a mature portfolio that includes planning and implementation grants, the Accelerated Funding window and the Multiplier fund, as well as the Knowledge and Innovation Exchange and the Education Out Loud funds. The Board commended the partnership’s swift response to the COVID-19 crisis. GPE has provided just under US$510 million to help developing countries mitigate the immediate and long-term impacts of school closures due to the pandemic, making it the largest provider of funds for education in the global coronavirus response. The fund has approved 18 grants totaling over US$170 million in the past six weeks.
Other Board decisions included approving non-COVID grant financing of over US$177 million and approving the Secretariat’s operating expenses budget and work program for July 2020 – June 2021.
The Board will convene virtually August 31 - September 2, 2020 for further deliberations on the new strategic plan.