GPE to engage private sector for skills-oriented education

A girl does her math homework in Madhya Pradesh, India. The Global Partnership for Education wants to raise $3.5 billion between 2015 and 2018. Photo by: Deepa Srikantaiah / GPE / CC BY-NC-ND

The Global Partnership for Education is gearing up for its upcoming June pledging conference in Brussels, a critical step both in raising the funds necessary to continue to work on better, more accessible global education, and in raising the priority of education as part of the post-2015 development agenda.

GPE, a multilateral partnership focused on getting all children a quality education, has nearly 60 members, including developing countries, donor governments, international organizations, private sector partners, teachers and civil society groups. At the pledging conference, hosted by the European Union, the partnership will kick off the campaign to raise a target of $3.5 billion between 2015 and 2018.

READ: Global Partnership for Education to raise $3.5B from donors, launch new funding model

Globally, education funding has declined seven times faster than aid funding overall, and as several participants admitted at an event on the sidelines of the World Bank spring meetings on Wednesday, they are concerned not just about the funding gap — but even more so about the need for the education community to make a better case for itself.

“This [replenishment] will be a litmus test in relation to the international community’s political commitment to education in the post-2015 agenda,” said Charles Tapp, GPE partnership and external relations manager. “I mean to be very clear on that — if we have a fizzle in Brussels that is not going to bode very well going into the final negotiations over the following 12 months in relation to the prominence of education in post-2015.”

GPE is looking to be inclusive in its pledging conference and expects commitments from donors, international organizations, developing country partners, civil society, the private sector and foundations. The partnership is in the process of developing a new private sector engagement strategy to help countries develop education plans that can supply the type of skilled workforce the private sector needs, Tapp explained.

The World Bank works closely with GPE and sees it as a way to leverage IDA resources and make IDA “as attractive as possible for governments,” said Elizabeth King, director of education at the bank and acting vice president for the Human Development Network.

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    Adva Saldinger is an Associate Editor at Devex, where she covers the intersection of business and international development, as well as U.S. foreign aid policy. From partnerships to trade and social entrepreneurship to impact investing, Adva explores the role the private sector and private capital play in development. A journalist with more than 10 years of experience, she has worked at several newspapers in the U.S. and lived in both Ghana and South Africa.