The Global Partnership for Education and the World Bank Group: The Facts

June 25, 2014



  • The World Bank Group (WBG) is a founding member of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) established in 2002 as the Education for All Fast Track Initiative.
  • The partnership was created to accelerate progress toward the Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3 (achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women) as well as the Education For All goals agreed in Dakar in 2000.
  • The WBG supports the partnership in general, as a Board Member, host of the GPE Secretariat, trustee and supervising entity for the vast majority of GPE grants.

WBG and GPE Collaboration

  • The WBG’s Education Strategy 2020 is well-aligned with GPE’s strategy, including the importance of investing in early childhood education with a focus on learning for all children by ensuring sound education systems are in place.
  • Early reading and numeracy skills are a particular focus of GPE. The WBG has significantly increased its support to early childhood development in the past decade and is helping countries set up sustainable early grade reading assessment systems.
  • The WBG works with GPE and other partners in addressing the needs of the poorest and most disadvantaged children, particularly girls, ethnolinguistic minorities, children with disabilities, and children in fragile and conflict-affected states.

WBG Education Financing for the Poorest Countries

  • The WBG is the largest external financier of education in developing countries, from pre-primary and primary education all the way to higher education. Since the Millennium Development Goals were launched in 2000, the WBG has invested over US$35 billion in education.
  • Over the past decade, the WBG has provided US$10 billion in International Development Association (IDA) financing for basic education in the poorest nations. This includes US$3.7 billion to GPE countries, of which one-third has been linked to GPE grants.
  • Over the past three years, the WBG has provided record high support to basic education through IDA, our fund for the poorest, for a total of over US$4 billion, and remains firmly committed to accelerating our progress towards Learning for All.

 WBG as Supervising Entity for GPE Grants

  • The WBG plays a key role supervising activities funded by GPE grants. This includes signing grant agreements with developing country partners, transferring the funds and monitoring the government's implementation of education programs.
  • Since 2004, the WBG has helped prepare and supervise 88 GPE grants in 43 countries for a total of US$3.1 billion. This represents about 80% of all GPE grants.
  • At the end of 2013, the WBG supervised GPE projects in 36 countries totaling US$1.7 billion, in addition to US$554 million in IDA co-financing and US$812 million in parallel financing, including trust funds from other donors.

Innovation in Education

  • The WBG has helped introduce a number of new and innovative education initiatives to GPE countries, including:
  • Results-based programs where project disbursement is linked to specific indicators, such as improvement in basic literacy and numeracy in primary schools in Uganda, Senegal, Gambia, Cameroon, and Pakistan.
  • Community-run school canteens to improve school attendance in Benin and Madagascar.
  • Donkey carts to transport young students living more than 3 kilometers away from school in Gambia.
  • Cash transfer programs for Koranic schools achieving proficiency in literacy and numeracy in Gambia and Senegal.
  • Improving quality of learning and teaching through the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Ethiopia and Gambia. 

Working together, support from GPE and the WBG has improved education outcomes around the globe. Some results:

  • Ethiopia: Increased the percentage of qualified teachers with diploma or degree from 4% to 30% (grades 1-4) and 53% to 91% (grades 5-8) between 2007-2012.
  • Nepal: The net enrollment rate for basic education increased from 73% to 98.5% between 2008-2013. Similarly, the completion rate for basic education has reached 99.8%. Nepal has also achieved gender parity in net enrollment for basic and secondary education.
  • Moldova: Increased access to quality early childhood education from 66% in 2004 to 77% in 2011, while the number of kindergartens increased from five-fold.
  • Sierra Leone: In a post-conflict study, increased the number of primary schools by 38% and the number of junior secondary and secondary schools by almost 300% between 2002-2012.