Donors should dedicate 10% of their aid to education

This week, the International Development Committee of the UK parliament recommended in a letter to the country’s Department for International Development (DFID) that it dedicate 10% of its development aid to education. The letter submitted referenced our latest 2016 Report for this recommendation, which builds on earlier analysis. We are thrilled to see it getting such support.

The Committee’s recommendation came as the conclusion of a 9-month inquiry into DFID’s work on education, specifically as regards its focus on leaving no-one behind. The Committee’s inquiry was a result of a growing concern that “the current UK aid strategy does not place sufficient emphasis on ensuring children across the developing world have access to quality education.”

right to ed1This long-standing inquiry included collecting oral and written evidence from multiple stakeholders on the issue. The GEM Report team advised that DFID should continue to set an example by allocating 0.7% of its national income to aid and prioritizing education. But currently, as the Committee pointed out, DFID dedicates just over 8% of its budget (£526.2m) to education; a smaller percentage than it spends on health, disaster and government and civil society. Continue reading

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Time to deliver: governments must make good on their commitments and Stand Up for Education

Global Action Week for Education, 23-29 April 2017

Camilla_Croso3By Camilla Croso, President, Global Campaign for Education

In 2015, the world committed to a Sustainable Development Goal to achieve equitable, inclusive and free quality education and lifelong learning for all. This was the result of negotiation, research, and sustained citizen-led campaigning – all steeped in fifteen years of experience from the Education for All movement. It is now time for governments to prove they are working to realise the new SDG targets on education. It is time to deliver.

stand up for education

This week is the Global Campaign for Education’s Global Action Week, which provides an annual opportunity for citizens worldwide to act as a targeted, united force for change. This year, we are asking citizens and governments alike to Stand Up for Education, by ensuring accountability for Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), and enabling active citizen participation.

Challenges in delivering the goal

Despite education being a critical enabler of other human rights, it has long faced many hurdles. Recent geo-political shifts have challenged the process of global consensus-building, which is vital for the realisation of the SDGs. At the same time, we are bearing witness to continued and worsening conflict. And we are finding stronger barriers to civil society taking an active role in holding governments to account, with reports of aggressive action to limit civil society activity. Citizens must have a voice in any decision-making process, which impacts their lives, at all levels; this is critical – and intrinsic – to the realisation of the SDGs.

A longer-term challenge is the financing of education: a combination of reduced aid to education, and insufficient domestic resources in developing countries, has left 263 million children and youth out of school, and 758 million adults unable to read or write. Continue reading

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What does accountability mean to you?

accountabilityBehind the scenes at the GEM Report, as we started working on the 2017/8 Report, we spent many hours trying to distinguish the meaning of accountability from other related terms like responsibility and trust. We are a team of 22 nationalities and we found that definitions and understandings of accountability are quite slippery, with different meanings in different contexts. It metamorphoses into all sorts of different words depending on the language you speak, as this blog will show.

It’s tricky to start looking into accountability in many countries, for instance, when the word itself doesn’t even exist. This is the case in Dutch, for instance. The Japanese don’t have a word for the term, but imported one, which they loosely translate as ‘responsibility to explain’. It remains very rarely used, nonetheless.

Most languages use multiple words interchangeably when talking about accountability. Arabic, for example, has a word for  accountability  , but also uses المساءلة “better governance الحكم الرشيد”, “trustالثقة ”, “access to information حق الوصول للمعلومة ”, “transparencyالشفافية ”, “integrity النزاهة ” or “answerability التجاوب ”. Continue reading

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Governments are struggling to keep pace with the fast growth of students in higher education

Higher education is a cornerstone for sustainable development, but a new paper written by the GEM Report and the International institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) at UNESCO shows this is being challenged by sheer numbers of students now entering post-secondary institutions.

Since 2000, the number of students has doubled to 207 million, and the demand for higher education is only going to continue rising. But this rapid growth is out-pacing available resources, which often results in the cost of higher education falling to households, many of whom cannot afford it. We urgently call on governments to make sure student loan repayments never rise above 15% of their monthly incomes so that further expansion does not leave the disadvantaged behind.

Continue reading

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#WhosAccountable? We want to hear from you!

In your country, how are governments held responsible for the promises they make on education?

How big a role do private companies have in education in your country? Is anyone holding them to account?

Do you think it’s fair for teachers to be evaluated based on student test results?


We’ve just launched a brief survey (Spanish/French) because we want to know what you think about these sorts of questions. Your answers will feed into our next annual report, which focuses on Accountability in Education. We will be exploring who is responsible for providing equitable and quality education and how they communicate about what they are doing to carry out their responsibilities. Most importantly, we’re looking at whether what they do, and how they communicate about it, helps to ensure the provision of good quality education for all. Continue reading

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Who’s accountable for education?

whos accountable cirlceIt’s not long before Global Action Week launches, on the theme of Accountability in Education. This, as you may or may not know, is also the theme of our next Global Education Monitoring Report, due to launch on 24 October.

The word ‘accountability’ is not a particularly inviting one, as we will be discussing over the coming weeks. How it is understood depends hugely on context, and definitely on language. Whether it is understood at all is also questionable. Perhaps you’re not quite sure of its full meaning either? We thought we’d make the most of the focus on this theme during Global Action Week (23-29 April) to show why accountability in education matters. We’ll be following up with an explanation of what the term can mean in different countries.

Below, you’ll see some infographics we’ve created challenging you to think of who you think should be held to account for various issues in education. The full list is available on our new webpage for the forthcoming 2017/8 GEM Report.  We hope these will prove useful for anyone who’s hoping to get involved in Global Action Week, and needing some resources for online discussions.

The new webpage also contains a regularly updated list of news items related to accountability in education from around the world, so you can get an idea of how this issue plays out for people’s daily lives. This week, for example, Connecticut’s State Board of Education in the USA has voted to eliminate a requirement that standardized test scores be included in the way that teachers are evaluated. Elsewhere, Niger’s Minister is investigating the discovery that 7 million euros has been spent on fictional teachers each year. And, a news story in Belgium is focusing on the finding that one teacher out of three recruited in the last year and a half in secondary education does not have adequate training to teach their subject.

We are using the hashtag #WhosAccountable? from now until the launch of our Report, because we want to challenge people to think about the issue when they wonder about the work remaining to be done before reaching our SDG4 commitments. Our Report, due out October 24th, will help answer this question. You can sign up now to receive the 2017/8 GEM Report in your inbox hot off the press when it’s published.

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In Liberia, a town struggles to adjust to its new charter school

By Ashoka Mukpo, journalist


The G.Dungbo School in Kollita Wolah, now under management of Bridge International Academies

When the community of Kollita Wolah built their schoolhouse in 1989, it was a proud moment. Located a few kilometers to the north of Gbarnga, a bustling hub city in central Liberia, residents of the town had long struggled to send their children to school. It was a long walk to the closest school– over thirty minutes – and for younger children the journey wasn’t safe. So town leaders pooled money they’d saved from a collectively managed rice farm, building a concrete school in the heart of Kollita Wolah.

Now, the school is under the management of Bridge International Academies, an American company that took over under the Liberian government’s pilot experiment with foreign-run charter schools. But residents of the town say they were misled about what to expect from the new system, and that the handover left many children without access to education due to Bridge’s restrictions on class sizes.

“[Last year] there were more than 75 students in each class,” says Moses Barror, the Youth Chairman of Kollita Wolah. “But when [Bridge] came in, they said they would only accept 45. So it made most of the children left out. And it was the community that built the school. So the community members, most of them got angry.” Continue reading

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