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Enabling greater investments in education

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Nicola Ruddle

Overview

We worked with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) on two workstreams as part of the Financing and Funding Framework, to support delivery of the GPE 2020 Strategic Plan. The first workstream was a study to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of key actors in the current GPE country-level operational model. The study used qualitative primary data collection and document review to explore the perceptions of partners, and set out a number of recommendations to improve the model. These led to actions under the Effective Partnerships Review by GPE.

The second workstream developed an Education Sector Investment Case (ESIC) approach at country level to mobilise more and better financing for education, through support for identifying and convening funders, and ‘making the case’ for investment.

The Challenge

GPE supports the efforts of developing country partners (DCPs) in building effective education systems to improve equity and learning. Members of GPE (over 80 national governments, alongside international organisations, civil society, teachers, and the private sector) work together to ensure that education sector plans (ESPs) are sound, credible, effectively implemented, and rigorously monitored, and that development aid is strategically invested. The Partnership is guided by its Strategic Plan, GPE 2020.

In 2017, GPE’s Board approved a new Financing and Funding Framework (FFF), which aimed to create an expanded platform for resource mobilisation and deployment across DCPs. The FFF called for enhancement of GPE’s core funding mechanisms, including focusing on improved operational efficiency as a partnership to achieve country-level objectives. GPE wanted an external firm to examine the issues and options for ensuring country-level actors are operating efficiently and effectively as well as learning from past experience to deliver GPE 2020

Also as part of the FFF, GPE’s Board was interested to know whether an Education Sector Investment Case (ESIC) approach could help leverage greater financing for education sectors from traditional and non-traditional sources, in line with the ESP development process. It was envisaged that the ESIC would involve the Secretariat’s active engagement with all relevant partners to achieve greater additionality and more coordinated funding.

Our Approach

We led two separate workstreams in response to GPE’s needs. The first was a study to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of key actors in the current GPE country-level operational model. The study sought the perceptions of partners on whether the key actors (grant agents, coordinating agencies, local education groups and the GPE Secretariat) were effectively and efficiently working towards fulfilling GPE 2020, by supporting developing country partners to deliver learning for all.

The study used telephone interviews, written and online group consultations with developing country partners, bi- and multi-lateral development partners and civil society organisations. The report was presented to the GPE Board in June 2018. This was proceeded by a short technical piece of work to further map out the responses of participants in the study and identify the key decision areas for the Board and Secretariat to address.

The second workstream involved close partnership with GPE to develop an ESIC approach. The team reviewed existing costing and financing frameworks in ESPs, investment case approaches in other sectors, and consulted with developing countries (the demand side) and potential investors (the supply side) to scope the objectives and ideal products and processes for an ESIC. We went on to develop a case study with pilot products for an ESIC. The final approach proposed included three interlinked activities: support to DCPs for convening potential funders; scoping potential financing; and supporting development of high level ‘pitches’ that set out the case for investing in the sector.

Outcomes and wider impacts

Following the approval of the effective partnerships study by the Board, GPE went on to develop an Action Plan based on OPM’s recommendations, consulting on detailed measures. As a result, GPE is now implementing its Effective Partnership Review which aims to improve progress on GPE’s goals in partner countries through increasing mutual accountability, rebalancing the country-level model, driving national government ownership and reducing GPE transaction costs.

On the basis of our work, in December 2018 GPE’s Board approved a two-year test phase of the ESIC approach, with additional support provided by GPE’s Secretariat for a small number of developing countries. The phase includes a monitoring and learning mechanism to inform decisions about continuation. The Secretariat have gone on to test the approach in Somalia.

Areas of expertise