ingredients for a great education

\Education can change the world. By increasing access to quality education, the results can be transformational for an individual, a community and society at large. The value of investing in education is indisputable: it reduces inequality between women and men, improves economic development, promotes peace, and lifts people out of poverty.

Reducing poverty and education are inextricably linked: the more educated individuals are, the more chances they will have higher incomes and break the cycle of poverty. Statistics show that 420 million people would be lifted out of poverty with a secondary education. There is also research indicating that one additional school year can increase women’s earnings by up to 20%.

1. Start early

Early childhood care and education (ECCE) prepares children for learning and provides them with the skills to thrive later in life. What’s more, it’s a smart investment: US$1 invested in early education for the most disadvantaged children can generate up to US$17 in returns.

To date, GPE has invested US$180 million to support early learning in 30+ partner countries. Recognizing the benefits of ECCE, partner countries have launched initiatives aiming at improving early learning:

Cambodia, with support from a GPE grant, improved access to early childhood education through the construction of preschools and teacher training. Between 2016 and 2018, the enrollment of 5-year-olds in selected districts increased from 56% to 68%.
Nicaragua increased access to early childhood education by designing a unified curriculum that covers three levels of preschool education, by training teachers on the new curriculum, and by providing nearly 9,000 preschools with textbooks, school supplies and learning toys, with support from GPE. These efforts contributed to an increase in the number of children enrolled in preschool from 40% in 2013 to 50% in 2017.
2. Train teachers

We all know that teachers play a critical role in improving learning outcomes; but in one third of all countries, less than 75% of teachers are trained according to national standards. For GPE, supporting teachers and their professional development is a high priority: In 2017, 100% of grants to partner countries included support for teachers.

With GPE’s support, the government of Kenya has trained 117,000 teachers and provided them with early grade math teaching guides. Additionally, an online tool for teacher appraisals has raised teaching standards by tracking classroom performance, professional knowledge, and attendance.
GPE helped Zimbabwe strengthen teacher performance through the establishment of teacher professional standards, which identify what teachers should know and be able to do in the classroom. Also, GPE helped fund a teacher development information system database, to help the ministry get an accurate picture on the skill gaps in the teaching force.

3. Make education inclusive

Reaching all children, in particular the most vulnerable and marginalized, is a priority for GPE, which has provided US$440 million since 2012 to support inclusive education.

GPE supported the government of Zanzibar to make its education system more inclusive by training hundreds of teachers on guidance and counseling, detecting special needs, and developing classroom skills for including children with disabilities. GPE also helped distribute glasses and hearing aids to vision- and hearing-impaired children; and more than 250,000 learning and teaching materials for inclusive education.
4. Leave no girl behind

Investing in girls’ education has a ripple effect that benefits their families, communities, and countries. GPE works with partners to put gender equality at the heart of national education systems:

To enroll more girls in school, the government of Afghanistan, recruited, trained, and deployed female teachers to community-based schools in some of the country’s poorest districts. Thanks to these efforts, the rate of girls enrolling in primary school rose from 44% in 2002 to 84% in 2017.
Balochistan’s province in Pakistan has improved school enrollment and retention, especially for girls. Between 2015 and 2018, student retention in GPE-supported schools increased from 70% to 89%, and the number of girls enrolled in grades 1-5 increased from 7,500 to 35,000.
5. Provide good data

Education data are key to know which children are not in school or not learning. More than ever, GPE is helping partner countries improve their data collection and analysis:

Sudan is strengthening its management and monitoring capacity through three systems: a teacher database; national learning assessments; and a rapid education management information system, which provides reliable information on primary and secondary education. These systems help Sudan better collect and analyze data for education planning and management.