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Expanding access to education: The role of the Global Partnership for Education

Expanding access to education: The role of the Global Partnership for Education
Expanding access to education: The role of the Global Partnership for Education

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is at the forefront of efforts to expand educational access for the world’s most marginalised children. From refugees to those displaced by conflict, GPE’s initiatives touch millions of lives in its partner countries. Despite significant advancements over recent decades, progress towards universal education has slowed, leaving 250 million children, adolescents, and youth out of school. A staggering 80% of these children reside in countries eligible for GPE support.

Challenges and Inequities

The challenges to achieving universal education are multifaceted. Even in GPE partner countries, one in four children fails to complete primary school, and half do not finish lower secondary education. The likelihood of being left behind is disproportionately higher for children from the poorest households, rural areas, and regions plagued by fragility and conflict. Girls, in particular, face significant barriers in many countries, further exacerbating educational disparities.

Marginalisation based on socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity, language, religion, disability, and location creates substantial barriers to education. These challenges have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has intensified existing inequalities, making GPE’s mission more critical than ever.

Strategic Initiatives: GPE 2025

Access to education remains a top priority under GPE 2025, the partnership’s strategic plan. GPE aims to mainstream equity and inclusion in all education policies and plans, ensuring every child can enjoy their basic human rights without discrimination. Key initiatives include:

1. Building and maintaining schools:

Building, restoring, and maintaining educational facilities are fundamental to GPE’s strategy. In 2019, GPE allocated over $270 million in grants for these activities, creating safe and accessible learning environments for more children.

2. Research and data:

GPE supports comprehensive research to identify out-of-school children and understand the barriers preventing their access to education. The global Out-of-School Children Initiative, backed by GPE, aids countries in pinpointing which children are out of school, identifying the obstacles they face, and developing policies to overcome these barriers. GPE also hosted webinars in 2019 and 2020 focused on collecting and utilising data on marginalised groups and education.

3. Planning, policy dialogue, and financing:

GPE allocates a significant portion of its funding to countries with low school completion rates and those affected by fragility and conflict. This funding supports the development of thorough analyses of barriers to education and the formulation of policies to eliminate these barriers.

4. Advocacy:

Advocacy is a core component of GPE’s work. The partnership promotes quality education for every child, aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 4. GPE emphasises gender equality and prioritises access for marginalised groups, including those living in poverty, ethnic and linguistic minorities, refugees, and internally displaced persons.

Impact and future directions

GPE’s efforts are crucial in the fight against educational inequality. By focusing on marginalised groups, GPE ensures that the benefits of education reach those who need it most. The construction and maintenance of schools provide safe learning environments, while research and data initiatives inform targeted interventions. Through comprehensive planning, policy dialogue, and robust financing, GPE supports sustainable educational systems in the world’s most challenging environments.

As GPE continues its work, the goal remains clear: to ensure that every child, regardless of background or circumstance, has access to quality education. By addressing the root causes of educational disparity and promoting inclusive policies, GPE is paving the way for a more equitable and educated world.


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