Investing in education through GPE means new resources are delivered to the countries that need support the most. It also addresses the heart of the education crisis—and doing it at scale—by strengthening education systems to achieve equitable and quality learning outcomes.

Eighty-nine low- and lower middle-income countries are eligible for GPE support. Between them they are home to 78% of the world’s children who are missing out on school. GPE prioritizes support to the poorest countries, particularly those affected by fragility and conflict, and those with the lowest school completion rates.

Financial support is demand driven and geared to achieving results in learning, efficiency and equity. Initial grants support education sector analysis and planning, enabling countries to develop evidence-based, costed approaches to strengthening their education systems. These robust national education sector plans drive effective policies and interventions. And they are the basis for a country’s own “case for investment,” around which additional financing can be raised and more effectively coordinated, be it from government budgets or external aid contributions. GPE strengthens accountability by closely monitoring its own grants and bringing all stakeholders together (and these include civil society and teachers’ organizations) to support the development of government education policies, national planning and monitoring. Beyond the value of its partnership approach, GPE is a global fund for education that mobilizes financing—domestic and international—and provides large-scale grants to support the implementation of education sector plans.


At the core of a good education is a good teacher. But even the best teacher can struggle when there are simply too many children in class. One way we measure the impact of stronger education systems is the ratio of students to trained teachers. Results data from 2016 show the need to reduce class sizes remains high.

Here, GPE is making a difference: in 2016, 29% of GPE developing partner countries had a ratio of fewer than 40 students per teacher, up from 25% in just one year.

“Support from GPE enabled Nepal to intensify our efforts in developing a need based equity approach that allows us to reduce disparities through targeted interventions. GPE also contributed to establishing strong evidence and analysis for the Education Sector Plan for Nepal after the devastating earthquake.”

Dhaniram Paudel Minister of Education, Nepal

GPE Grants

Implementation grants are structured to drive change and focus on results. They are contingent on both an independently assessed, high quality education sector plan, which specifically covers data needs and information management systems, and the government increasing (or maintaining already high) domestic expenditure on education. GPE applies the internationally accepted benchmark of 20% of government expenditure on education, and encourages at least 45% of this is spent on primary education.

Grant funding is results-based as an incentive to drive education plan priorities. The release of 30% of the value of each multimillion dollar grant is dependent on countries achieving pre-agreed results in three areas: equity, efficiency and learning outcomes.



Pre-requisite for support:

  • quality sector plan
  • domestic finance commitment
  • data system

Performance tranche linked to results in:

  • equity
  • efficiency
  • learning outcomes

“In times of displacement, education is crucial. It offers children hope when they need it most, and builds skills that are a lifeline to the future. GPE is providing much needed support to countries to include refugee children in local schools and to provide opportunities for all children to learn. It can be done. Their future depends on it.”

Filippo Grandi United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Improving data to secure better learning outcomes

Kenya is poised to make substantial progress in education over the coming years because of its domestic financing commitment to education consistently above 20% of general government expenditure, a strong focus on improving learning outcomes and a vibrant civil society.

This improvement has been supported by a US$88.4 million GPE grant to improve numeracy skills in children in grades 1 and 2. In collaboration with a literacy program supported by USAID and DFID, GPE’s country program has distributed over 6 million textbooks and teacher guides, and will have trained 60,000 teachers in new teaching methodologies by the end of the program.

The ministry is considering how best to sustain and expand the gains made by GPE’s program—and this is where data systems are so critical. To this end, GPE is supporting an improved education information management system so that policy and program decisions can be built on reliable evidence, giving tens of millions school children a better chance at a quality education.

Photo Credit: GPE/Mediabase

Helping educate a growing number of refugee children – and its own

Chad is surrounded by conflicts in neighboring countries and still feeling the reverberations of famine and financial crisis that recently swept through the Sahel region.

As a result, one of the world’s poorest countries hosted around 400,000 refugees in early 2017.18 GPE, which allocates about half of its grant funding to support education in countries affected by fragility and conflict, has supported Chad’s efforts to improve a school system that was weak even before large numbers of refugees arrived.

In the Lake Chad region alone, where the refugees are concentrated, 62% of Chad’s children were out of school, the average primary school class size was 75, and the rate of adult illiteracy 96%. With GPE’s support, Chad is not only addressing the immediate humanitarian needs of its refugees but also creating a stronger and more enduring education infrastructure that benefits Chadians and refugees alike.

This support includes building 86 classrooms and essential facilities; food and nutrition; 60,000 new, culturally appropriate school books; and training to expand the pool of teachers qualified to ensure children in school actually learn. The GPE grant will benefit 8,500 children in the Lake Chad region.

Photo Credit: Educate a Child


GPE works at the global level to strengthen political commitment to education, improve its financing, coordinate partners, and broker knowledge and innovation exchange. At the country level GPE’s approach locks together sector planning, financing and mutual accountability across the partnership to strengthen education systems and deliver more equitable and improved learning outcomes.


  • Finance mobilization
  • Advocacy
  • International coordination
  • Knowledge and innovation exchange


  • Better sector planning
  • Results-focused financing
  • improved policy dialogue and mutual accountability

Addressing quality in teaching and learning

Since joining GPE in 2004, Ethiopia has received four grants totaling US$337 million to support the country’s General Education Quality Improvement Program (GEQIP).19 The program is a nationwide reform to improve teaching and learning conditions in 40,000 primary and secondary schools, and boost the education system’s capacity.

Through GPE funding more than 100,000 primary teachers and 17,000 secondary teachers are upgrading their qualifications from a 1-year certificate to a 3-year diploma. From 2006 to 2013, the percentage of qualified in-service teachers increased from 3% to 44% in grades 1–4 and from 53% to 92% in grades 5–8.

GPE funding helped Ethiopia’s government reach its ambitious target of a 1:1 student–textbook ratio by 2013, delivering 146 million textbooks to all primary and secondary school learners in core subjects. The GEQIP program also established quality standards of textbook content, developed 220 new titles, and produced textbooks and teacher guides in seven languages, recognizing that learning outcomes are much improved when instruction is in the mother tongue.

Photo Credit: GPE/Midastouch

Giving all children, including those with disabilities, the education they deserve

GPE is committed to ensuring that governments integrate inclusive education policies for children with disabilities into their national planning.

In Zanzibar, the introduction of inclusive education and awareness-raising activities conducted by the Ministry of Education and civil society have resulted in a positive shift in the attitudes of parents, teachers and the community to disability and issues of inclusiveness.

A GPE grant of US$5.2 million helped to train hundreds of teachers in Zanzibar on guidance and counseling, detection of special needs, classroom skills for inclusion, and handling cases of child marriage and early pregnancies. More than 250,000 learning books for inclusive education have been distributed to schools, and children in need have received glasses and hearing aids.

Zanzibar has revised its policies on disability, and has set up a National Council for People with Disabilities and a Department of Disability Affairs, which is part of the government’s First Vice President’s Office. These entities can empower focal points across different ministries to ensure that the rights and needs of people with disabilities are considered in government plans, strategies and programs.

Photo Credit: UNICEF Burundi


Domestic government budgets are the bedrock of education financing. Global support remains critical for ensuring service delivery in low-income countries. In many lower middle-income countries, this support is valuable as a catalyzer for change. GPE is committed to improving domestic financing and creating incentives for developing country partners to produce financially sustainable education sector plans, increase national budget allocations and improve the quality of their education expenditure. Education ministries welcome GPE’s support in strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of education funding, because this helps in their efforts to increase budgets with their finance ministries, as well as making better use of other external support.

Developing country partners are stepping up their domestic commitments. As the figure shows, between 2002 and 2013 GPE partner developing countries increased expenditure on education as a percentage of total government expenditure from 15.2% in 2002 to 16.6% in 2013. This increase was more than three times the average increase in all low- and middle-income countries.

Furthermore, the increase in expenditure on education as a percentage of the gross domestic product in GPE partner countries where data is available was double the average increase in low- and middle-income countries. This represents a huge amount of additional finance for education and illustrates that GPE drives increased domestic resources into education, supporting better life opportunities for children in developing countries.

In 2015, where data is available, 53% of GPE partner developing countries, including 45% of countries affected by fragility and conflict, spent at least 20% of total government expenditure on education.