In 2002, the Education for All-Fast Track Initiative was launched to assist developing countries in meeting Millennium Development Goal 2, universal primary education by 2015. In 2010 the EFA-FTI’s scope was broadened, and in 2011, it was renamed the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). GPE has matured from an informal working relationship with only seven countries, to a formal partnership with over 50 developing countries.
GPE goals include:
- spreading early childhood education
- making free, mandatory basic education available to all
- encouraging learning and teaching life skills
- improving adult literacy rates
- achieving gender equality in education
- improving the overall quality of education
The Global Partnership for Education empowers partner countries to develop their own education strategies based on each nation’s priorities. The GPE’s role is to facilitate access to financial and technical support, so the governments of developing countries can implement their education plans successfully.
The GPE has had many successes:
- The GPE has helped place 23 million more children in primary school, and helped to raise the primary school completion rate from 56% in 2002 to 71% in 2011.
- Literacy rates for youths 15–24 years old in GPE countries have increased from 77% in 2000-2003 to 81% in 2007-2010
- 18 GPE countries now have as many girls completing primary school as they do boys; 68% of girls in partner countries finish primary school, compared to 56% in 2002.
- 413,000 additional teachers were hired in GPE countries between 2002 and 2011.
- GPE has contributed to the construction of over 37,000 classrooms and the distribution of nearly 220 million textbooks in primary schools in GPE countries since 2003.
Despite these vast improvements in global education, the GPE recognizes that there are still hurdles to overcome. An estimated 61 million children are still not enrolled in primary school, and nearly 71 million do not attend secondary school. Children from the poorest homes, especially girls, are least likely to be enrolled in school. Of the children who are enrolled, approximately 200 million of them are not learning as much as they should; as many as 75% of children in developing countries cannot read, and 3 out of 10 children cannot understand basic math.
In the past, the Global Partnership for Education has focused its efforts on increasing the number of children attending school. Moving forward, the GPE’s objectives are expanding to increase support for conflict affected states, improve the quality of education, encourage secondary education for girls, increase teacher effectiveness, improve access to education for the most marginalized children, and strengthen national education strategies.
– Dana Johnson
Sources: Global Partnership For Education: Developing Countries, Global Partnership: Our Work, Global Partnership: 10 Results on the Ground, The World Bank, UNICEF