On the first International Day of Education, let’s review the key role that education plays in promoting peace, development and growth, and examine the elements that make up 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%.
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 toUS$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.
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.
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.
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 ofAfghanistan, 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.
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.
Despite the fact that more children than ever are in school, too many still don’t learn the basics: a waste of resources invested in education, and in human potential. GPE helps partner countries close the learning gap:
With GPE support, Ethiopia conducted education reforms to improve the quality of teaching and learning in over 40,000 schools. A new curriculum was developed and over 200,000 teachers upgraded their qualifications. As a result, 44% of teachers in grades 1-4 were trained in 2013, up from just 3% in 2006.Guyana, with support from GPE, launched an early learning program that helped children in the most disadvantaged areas of the country develop the building blocks of lifelong learning. In 2018, almost 90% of children mastered reading and math skills compared to only 37% in 2016.
GPE helps partner countries strengthen their national education systems to dramatically increase the number of children who are in school and learning. System strengthening at the core of the GPE model, and it’s what will make a long-lasting difference in the lives of millions of children around the world.
GPE has supported Ghana with US$95.4 million in education grants over the past decade ensure that all children can go to school and get a quality education. The latest grant supported 75 of the most deprived districts and helped provide in-service training for teachers across all grades. It also provided small school grants to allow schools to be more flexible to buy necessary teaching and learning materials or make repairs. As a result, school attendance of students and teachers has improved significantly, enrollment rates shot up and transition rates from primary to lower-secondary school are increasing.(Source:GPE).