Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Prove Education Aid Is Working - or Pay the Price

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Prove Education Aid Is Working - or Pay the Price

Article excerpt

Developing countries must show results to keep funding

Developing nations could be forced to hand back millions of pounds in education funding if they fail to hit tough new performance targets.

Despite a concerted international push since 2000 to achieve universal primary education, figures published this summer reveal that almost 58 million children remain out of school.

The United Nations campaign received a boost in June when the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) announced that Western donor nations had pledged to invest more than £1.2 billion to drive up standards of education in the developing world. But the GPE has warned that the nations receiving a slice of the funding should not expect an easy ride.

Under a radical new deal, the partnership will closely monitor how the money is spent, with 30 per cent of a country's funding at risk if it fails to demonstrate the impact of the investment.

Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, now chair of the GPE board, told TES that the new model marked a "huge shift" in approach, by involving developing nations in setting their own challenging performance targets.

"It's not a model where someone flies out from Washington or London and says to developing countries, 'Here's what you've got to do'," she said. "It's a model to strengthen the system. We work with a developing country and a local education group, which involves the government and civil society and education experts in developing a plan for education in that nation, including the benchmarks for success. The GPE can then make sure the plan that's developed is being followed through."

In order to access their full allocation of funding, countries will have to demonstrate that they have secured improved results, become financially efficient and created equity for all learners, including girls and children with disabilities. …

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