Multilateral education and vocational training initiatives
The promotion of gender equality is a cross-cutting priority of France’s external action in the field of education
France supports the access of all girls to quality education, by including gender issues in the drafting and implementation of educational policies: school environments free from gender violence, health and social infrastructure, adequate school hygiene, school curriculum without gender bias, training of teachers on gender issues. France also supports the fight against early pregnancy and child marriage, access to comprehensive sex education for all girls, and the participation of women in education.
This publication, which demonstrates the importance of educating teenagers to advance the visionary agenda of the Beijing Platform for Action and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, makes recommendations for the Generation Equality Forum in June 2021.
The European Union and its Member States, which together are the leading donor of development assistance in the world, have a leading role to play in supporting education and vocational training. Through its significant contribution to the European Development Fund (EDF), France plays a key role in the European Union’s work in the field of education. France contributes €5.43 billion of a total €30.5 billion for 2014-2020, a contribution of 17.81%. France has also contributed €395.88 billion to the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) in 2018.
Part of these European credits are given to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and education in fragile or crisis-affected areas. The European Union was the Partnership’s leading donor during the Dakar Conference in February 2018, with a contribution of €337.5 million for 2018-2020. The Global Partnership for Education is currently a key actor for international assistance in the field of education. Its funds benefit nearly 70 developing countries and have led to a significant increase in primary education completion and a clear increase in education of girls in two thirds of GPE partner countries.
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is the main multilateral mechanism devoted to education aid in developing countries, from primary to secondary school. Since 2003, the GPE has allocated a total of $5.3 billion to the education sector. Half of these funds went to Francophone countries and more than a third to the 19 priority countries of France’s official development assistance. In 2018, France announced a historic contribution of €200 million to the GPE. Since the summer of 2019, there has been a regional GPE office in Paris.
Main multilateral mechanism devoted to education aid in developing countries
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) was created in 2002, with France’s support. It seeks to speed up the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4): “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is the main multilateral mechanism devoted to education aid in developing countries, from primary to secondary school. Nearly 70 partner countries and more than 20 donors, as well as international organizations, development banks, teacher representatives, civil society organizations and representatives of the education private sector and private foundations are joined together in this partnership by a very inclusive governance system. As a partnership and funds, the CPE mobilizes international and national investments and rallies partners together to help governments implement solid education systems.
The Global Partnership for Education focuses on ensuring that more children from the poorest countries, and girls in particular, receive the education they need to develop their full potential. The goals of the GPE strategy are improved and more equitable outcomes, increased equity, gender equality and inclusion, and effective and efficient education systems. The GPE is currently preparing its new strategy.
Since 2003, the GPE has allocated a total of $5.3 billion to the education sector. Half of these funds went to Francophone countries and more than a third to the 19 priority countries of France’s official development assistance.
France, the fourth largest donor to the Global Partnership for Education
On 2 February 2018, the GPE held its 2018-2020 Financing Conference in Dakar. French President Emmanuel Macron co-chaired this Conference with Senegalese President Macky Sall. The Conference raised $2.3 billion for three years. On this occasion, France announced a historic contribution of €200 million. France also asked that half of these funds go directly to countries in the Sahel region. France is the GPE’s fourth largest donor (behind the EU, the United Kingdom and Norway). The next financing conference is planned for 2021.
Under the impetus of France, the Global Partnership for Education, today based in Washington, opened a regional office in Paris in the summer of 2019 in the World Bank building. A dozen people are currently working in this office of the Secretariat, and this number is set to increase to 25 by the summer of 2021. This European branch will bring the GPE closer to most of its partners in Africa and main donor countries, as well as UNESCO and the International Organisation of La Francophonie, which are also based in Paris.
Education in partner countries is improving
Thanks to its advocacy and planning, the GPE has helped improve education in partner countries:
• Basic education: In 2016, an additional 77 million children were enrolled in school in GPE partner countries compared to 2002. The primary school completion rate is an average 77% in GPE partners countries (2016), compared to 63% in 2002. In 2019, the GPE supported the education of 22.2 million children.
• Education of girls: In 2016, 75% of girls completed primary school compared to 57% in 2002. In 2019, 63% of GPE partner countries improved their scores on equity in education.
• Teacher training: In 2018, 347,000 teachers were trained in GPE partner countries.
• Education financing: In 2019, 65% of GPE partner countries increased or maintained their portion of government spending on education at 20%.
UNESCO is the main United Nations agency responsible for education. Within the framework of the 2030 Agenda, it is the spearhead of Sustainable Development Goal 4 for a quality education for all. To achieve this, it coordinates the action of the Member States and various organizations working in the field of education to steer the implementation of the SDG 4 objectives. UNESCO is working to strengthen education systems around the world with particular focus on gender equality and Africa.
France supports UNESCO’s normative and operational work in the field of education and has significantly increased its voluntary contributions in this field. It finances the UNESCO institutes for example, the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIPE), located in Paris, as well as its satellite unit in Dakar, which aim to help countries draw up their education policies and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics which aims to collect the key data in order to analyse countries’ education situations. France also provides financial support for UNESCO’s work on the ground, such as the Promoting Peace and Sustainable Development through Strengthening Youth Competencies for Life and Work in the Sahel programme and the Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future programme which promotes sexual and reproductive health education in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
For more information
France contributes financially every year to education in developing countries through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations agency responsible for promoting and defending children’s rights based on the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
UNICEF’s work helps to meet the primary needs of children and promote their fulfilment by ensuring healthcare, education, equality and protection. Their work is focused both on long-term action and addressing emergency situations and puts the most disadvantaged children at the core of their work.
In terms of education, UNICEF shares and promotes the same values as France: education for all, high-quality teaching, evaluation of learning and fighting school dropout, particularly in emergency situations. UNICEF is responsible for setting up the Education Cannot Wait platform dedicated to education in crisis situations.
Visit the UNICEF website
Within the framework of the G7, France gives particular attention to the economic empowerment of women, particularly the one-third increase in the number of girls benefitting from high-quality technical or vocational training by 2030.
During the French G7 Presidency, education ministers adopted the G7 Commitment Charter on Technical and Vocational Education for cooperation in developing countries. Within the framework of the Gender at the Centre Initiative proposed under the French Presidency, States are encouraged to mobilize the political determination and know-how necessary at national level to rapidly increase progress on gender equality in and through education.
This initiative aims to:
• Improve the implementation of systemic approaches aimed at achieve gender equality in education systems by helping States to bridge technical gaps and implement a budget which promotes gender equality. At the same time, the Initiative will dialogue with local authorities, local communities and grass-roots organizations, teacher associations, the private sector and civil society organizations which can work at local level to put an end to discriminatory and harmful practices and beliefs.
• Increase cross-cutting dialogue and coordination between ministries responsible for gender equality and education.
• Consolidate data, monitoring and accountability regarding the results for gender equality in and through education.
Updated: January 2020