Education sector planning

GPE provides technical assistance and funding to lower-income country governments to help them develop and implement good quality education plans, which are fundamental to building stronger and equitable education systems

GPE gives partner countries the tools and support they need to strengthen planning, policy dialogue and monitoring, and help them achieve their education goals.

By providing technical and financial support during the planning cycle, GPE promotes quality education sector plans (ESPs), which are fundamental in building stronger and more equitable education systems.

Education plans are key to align efforts of all education partners and ensure all children are in school and learning, while mobilizing the necessary domestic and external resources. By outlining the government’s goals and strategies to achieve them, strong national education plans enable partners to better coordinate their efforts, avoiding wasteful duplication. Credible and achievable sector plans also inspire the trust of donors, leading to increased funding for education.

Local education group

In line with its partnership approach, GPE brings together in the local education group all education partners, which enables them to contribute at all stages of the planning cycle, from sector analysis to evaluation.

Led by the government, the local education group is comprised of all development partners, including civil society organizations, teacher associations, donors, multilateral agencies and private sector and foundation partners.

The local education group improves the coordination of technical and financial support and promotes an inclusive sector dialogue, allowing all partners to contribute to a country’s education policies and their implementation.

Visit the partners portal

Promoting alignment

GPE promotes the alignment of external funding with national systems and education sector plans. This means using a country’s public procurement and financial systems to channel aid rather than project approaches.

Aligning aid with country systems offers unique opportunities to support and influence domestic financing, policy, strategy, reforms, implementation and coordination.

In promoting alignment, GPE enhances ownership and accountability, and strengthens capacity of national education systems while increasing financing to support sustainable education outcomes.

Planning cycle

GPE’s core work at the country level is to strengthen education sector planning and policy implementation. The education planning cycle consists of six steps:

  • Analysis - Based on quantitative and qualitative data, the education sector analysis examines policies and causes of weaknesses in the sector, and reviews sector financing.
  • Planning and appraisal - Includes strategies to improve access to quality education in all subsectors. Development partners commission an independent appraisal to establish the soundness of the sector plan.
  • Approval and endorsement - Once follow-up recommendations are addressed; the government adopts the sector plan and development partners endorse it. This demonstrates their commitment to technically and financially supporting the plan’s implementation.
  • Implementation - Implementation arrangements are established in multiyear implementation plans, which should contain detailed information on activities, targets, budgets and responsibilities. The government is responsible for implementing the plan and development partners provide support.
  • Monitoring – Includes regular monitoring by the ministry of education under the plan’s monitoring framework, and periodic joint sector reviews to assess progress and discuss solutions to bottlenecks.
  • Evaluations - Usually take place at midterm and the end of an ESP period to assess impact and outcomes, relevance, cost effectiveness and sustainability of strategies. Lessons learned feed into the second half of a plan period or a new sector plan.

Financing at scale

GPE financing is contingent on an independent assessment and endorsement of education sector plans, and on partner countries making increased domestic investments in education — ideally 20% of the national budget, with a significant concentration on basic education.

In addition to funding education planning, GPE provides grants to partner countries to support the implementation of education programs in line with their sector plans. Through the GPE Multiplier, partner countries can access more GPE funding by mobilizing additional external financing.

GPE incentivizes countries to obtain results by tying 30% of the value of an implementation grant to countries achieving agreed-upon results in equity, efficiency and learning outcomes.

Partner countries experiencing humanitarian crises can request accelerated funding, with an accelerated approval in as little as 8 weeks. Exceptionally, during 2020 this allows countries to apply for an additional 20% on top of their regular implementation grants.

GPE also finances advocacy for education and social accountability in partner countries through the Education Out Loud fund, and supports research to address persistent education challenges through the Knowledge and Innovation Exchange.

More about GPE grants

Joint sector reviews

A government-led process, joint sector reviews (JSRs) bring together education stakeholders to monitor and evaluate sector progress. GPE promotes regular monitoring through JSRs and facilitates peer learning on effective JSRs among partner countries.

JSRs are typically organized once or twice a year by the government and offer an inclusive forum to assess progress toward agreed-upon objectives. JSRs review past achievements as well as bottlenecks in plan implementation while proposing forward-looking remedial actions.

When effective, JSRs can serve as a valuable tool for responsive sector planning and may also act as platforms for building and supporting mutual accountability.

A JSR is likely to achieve its objectives if it is:

  • Inclusive and participatory
  • Aligned to shared policy frameworks
  • Based on evidence
  • A monitoring tool of sector progress
  • Effectively embedded in the policy cycle

Support to education in crisis

Ensuring that children have access to education during crises protects their right to education and gives them hope for a better future. GPE supports countries affected by fragility or conflict through:

  • Transitional education planning: GPE provides financial and technical support to help countries establish a transitional education plan, which creates a foundation for a coordinated approach to recovery by identifying priority and medium-term actions.
  • Operating principles in complex emergencies: These principles provide guidance on GPE engagement in situations of total or considerable breakdown of national authority resulting from conflict, including on the coordination principles that GPE should follow.
  • Inclusion of refugees: GPE encourages the inclusion of refugees and displaced populations in education sector plans and is strengthening the partnership by bringing in key actors such as UNHCR to address the needs of displaced and refugee children affected by conflict and crisis.

Latest blogs and news