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Foundational Learning Compact (FLC)


The Foundational Learning Compact (FLC) is a World Bank umbrella trust fund created to support country-specific and global efforts to pursue systemic and sustained improvements in education systems that lead to better learning outcomes.  

Since its inception in 2020, the Foundational Learning Compact (FLC) has been supporting countries to accelerate foundational learning and strengthen education systems for better learning outcomes. Although the World Bank is the largest external financier of education in the developing world with a portfolio of about US$26 billion in 94 countries, partnerships are the key to achieving more targeted impact that we could on our own. 

IDA operations comprise 62 percent of the education portfolio. 

The investment in early childhood education has increased dramatically and now accounts for 14 percent of our portfolio. About 25 percent of our portfolio is in FCV settings. 

World Bank projects reach at least 432 million students and 18 million teachers- one third of students and nearly a quarter of teachers in low-and middle-income countries. 

We are also the largest implementing agency of the Global Partnership for Education's (GPE) grants for low-income countries, managing 69 percent of GPE's portfolio at the country level ($5.5 billion) since 2002. 

The FLC leverages some $16.5 billion in International Development Association/International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IDA/IBRD) program funding, through the FLC Anchor Trust Fund and the associated ELP Trust Fund. 

It has a global footprint of support in 86 countries. It also supports the development of global public goods, such as innovative tools, evidence and data, and analytics, as well as the provision of technical assistance to implement evidence-based interventions to improve learning outcomes and systemic reforms. 

The FLC is designed around early childhood, primary, and secondary education. The high-level objective for early childhood and primary education activities will be to contribute to reducing Learning Poverty (LP), through targeted actions focused on improving foundational learning. 

Learning Poverty is the share of 10-year-olds who cannot read and understand a simple story. For secondary education, activities will contribute to the high-level objective of increasing Learning‐Adjusted Years of School (LAYS).  LAYs combines data on the quantity and quality of general education and is embedded within the World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI). 

The FLC is fully aligned with and contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4). The FLC became effective in August 2020 and had its inaugural Partnership Council meeting in April 2021. 

The FLC trust fund serves a critical role in supporting client countries by supporting the development, deployment, and implementation of global public goods that can enhance the impact of the financial and implementation support provided through Bank-financed lending operations and policy advisory work. 

The FLC helps to attract and focus trust fund resources in an evidence-based way that leverages and boosts the impact of the International Development Association (IDA), the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries, as well as the World Bank’s original lending arm—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

 The World Bank uses a five-pillar Strategic Education Policy Approach

  1. Children are prepared and motivated to learn; 
  2. Teachers at all levels are effective and valued; 
  3. Classrooms are equipped for learning, with smart use of technology; 
  4. Schools are safe and inclusive spaces; and 
  5. Education systems are well managed.  

The five-pillar approach helps countries prioritize improvements of learning outcomes, and therefore result in higher LAYS and lower LP. 

Children who cannot read and understand a simple text will struggle to learn anything else in school. They are more likely to repeat a grade and more likely to drop out of school. They are less likely to benefit from further training and skills programs. At a national level, this will lead to worse health outcomes, greater youth unemployment and deeper levels of poverty. Every child deserves the dignity and opportunity that foundational learning brings. 

Over the last several years, the World Bank has been working in close coordination with global education partners, including the Bill and Melinda gates Foundation, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, UNESCO and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, UNICEF, and the United States Agency for International Development to join our voices, programming, and funding to promote foundational learning for all. 

The World Bank is proud to be part of the founding of this Coalition for Foundational Learning since 2022, which has since been picked up as a Global Initiative by the High-Level Steering Committee for Education. The Foundational Learning Compact is the World Bank's main platform for this collaboration, enabling us to receive funding from our partners so that we can jointly deliver on our commitment to foundational learning and have a bigger and more targeted impact on improving learning outcomes.