Early next month, donor and developing country governments, UN agencies, private sector companies and civil society will all meet in Denmark at the first ever replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education.
Some ten years earlier donors had met in Amsterdam where they created the Partnership’s predecessor, the Education For All Fast Track Initiative or FTI.
Their aim was to harmonise donor efforts in support of developing country governments that had credible plans to deliver education. Whilst the FTI has played a useful role it along with the international community as a whole has fallen short of its promise of education to the world’s children.
Progress in securing the right to education has been far too slow and on present trends the vast majority of the 67 million children who are still out of school today are unlikely to be in education in 2015.
However, some of the world’s poorest countries have demonstrated that universal primary schooling and wider education goals set for 2015 are attainable. But with only four years to go we urgently need a renewed effort in support of education.
The Global Partnership for Education has a central role to play in that effort.
In recent years there have been significant reforms and in the past few months the Fast Track Initiative has been reinvigorated and re-branded.
The first full meeting of the new Partnership, in Copenhagen in November 2011, must be the moment for change – for serious commitments to secure the funding of the Partnership, to close the broader global fund gap for education, to improve the quality of aid to education and to accelerate the process of reform.
Save the Children along with other civil society organisations that are part of the Global Campaign for Education has identified ten key principles for improving the amount, quality and effectiveness of aid to basic education, which we are urging the Global Partnership for Education to adopt. They are:
1. Pay a fair share for basic education.
2. Untie aid and ensure technical assistance is country-led.
3. Harmonise aid behind government plans.
4. Use the most aligned aid modalities.
5. Deliver predictable aid to basic education and focus on teachers.
6. Ensure country ownership and civil society engagement.
7. Focus on Education For All and on education rights.
8. Address strategic issues in domestic financing of education.
9. Deliver on promises.
10. Build a true Global Partnership for Education.
It’s an ambitious reform agenda but it’s a vitally important one.
Where quality aid to basic education is delivered the impact is immediate. Children’s lives are changed the moment they enter school. It is not just an investment in the future but something that delivers immediately on children’s right to education – the right to a better life today.
But it is also the soundest investment in the future because it enables people to improve their health and their income, to hold governments to account and contribute to national development.
That is why the replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education is so important and why these principles should be at the heart of a reinvigorated Partnership: because transforming aid to education can help transform the world.
You can read more about them in our new publication ‘Fund the future: a ten point plan for transforming aid to education’.