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Improving girls' education by developing monitoring tools for FCDO

Developing a Girls’ Education Results Framework for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office (FCDO) to monitor improvements in girls’ education in their focal countries up to 2026.

Contact
Georgina Rawle

The G7 summit in June 2021, hosted by the UK, committed to new ambitious global girls’ education targets. We worked with the FCDO central education team in the run-up to the summit to produce an FCDO Girls’ Education Results Framework and Guideline. This comprised a user-friendly set of tools to enable FCDO to monitor its efforts to improve girls’ education in its 20 focal countries up to 2026.

Challenges

In June 2021 G7 countries committed to two new global SDG 4 girls’ education targets. The first relates to increasing the quantity of education and the second to increasing the quality of education:

  • 40 million more girls in school by 2026 in low and lower-middle income countries; and
  • 20 million more girls reading by age 10 or end of primary school, by 2026 in low and lower-middle income countries.


In the run-up to the G7 summit, members of the OPM Education team worked with the central FCDO education team to develop a Girls’ Education Results Framework for tracking progress on improvements to girls’ education against 12 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The intention was for the Results Framework to be an integral part of the FCDO’s Girls’ Education Implementation Plan covering its 20 focal countries and central programmes up to 2026.

The wider context was an earlier commitment by the UK Government to stand up for the right of every girl to access 12 years of quality education. This ambition was made even more challenging by COVID-19 which exacerbated an existing learning crisis and widened long term inequalities in access to and quality of education for girls and marginalised children.

FDCO’s 12 KPIs as part of the Girls’ Education Results Framework together aimed to:

  • Improve participation in primary and lower secondary school for girls; reach gender parity in participation; increase reading skills for girls; mitigate financial barriers for girls; provide more education opportunities for girls displaced by conflict or natural disaster.
  • Provide catch-up programmes and extend outreach to out-of-school children, during and following COVID-19 disruptions to schooling.
  • Strengthen education systems via political commitment (appropriate levels of public funding), higher teaching quality, proper data management, use of evidence for planning and policy including from national learning assessments.

Approach

The starting point for the work was to review the 12 KPI statements and provisional indicators to provide a commentary on the strengths and limitations of each, as well as suggestions for potential measurement approaches. It was clear from this early review that about half of the KPIs could be tracked via global data sources, while the rest would require annual reporting of country data from the 20 FCDO country Education Advisors.

To collect baseline data, and to establish feasible reporting approaches, we conducted two online surveys that were completed by the country Education Advisors. For FCDO’s centrally managed programmes, including Education Cannot Wait and Girls’ Education Challenge Fund, we developed bespoke questionnaires and held discussions with the managers to fill these in accurately.  We also reviewed global data sources including the UNESCO Institute for Statistics database, and various multi-country surveys.

Numerous data- and measurement-related challenges emerged during the assignment and we maintained a regular dialogue with the FCDO central team to talk these though and to help guide their decisions.

Outcomes

Our collaboration with the FCDO education team on this assignment produced a practical Girls’ Education Results Framework and Guideline covering the 12 KPIs to enable monitoring of the FCDO’s Girls Education Implementation Plan up to 2026. The primary users are the FCDO central education team and the country-based Education Advisors.

The Results Framework itself is a user-friendly spreadsheet which contains each KPI statement, indicator and targets, key characteristics, and space for actual reporting at country-group level. To help users, the Framework is accompanied by a Guideline document which provides detailed information underpinning the indicators, targets, data sources and reporting arrangements. Reporting templates for each KPI contain the baseline data and instructions on how to fill in the correct information each year.

A follow-up assignment, which focused on methods of assessing FCDO’s contribution to outcome-level KPIs was managed by the HEART consortium, led by us.