Understanding GPE at the country level

Providing quality education to every child through coordinated action and financing

What is GPE?

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is a partnership and fund dedicated to transforming education. GPE brings together developing countries, donors, international organizations, civil society, teacher organizations, the private sector and private foundations in pursuit of GPE’s vision: a quality education for every child.

GPE is governed by a Board of Directors with representation from all these stakeholder groups. Most partner organizations and entities engaging in GPE processes at country level are part of a constituency represented on the Board of Directors, and hence have a share in the ownership of GPE.

The GPE Charter is the foundation for the partnership. It sets out the GPE Compact, established in 2002 following the development consensus reached in Monterrey. The GPE Compact links increased, harmonized and more aligned donor support for education to partner countries’ policy performance and accountability for results. The general principles of the Charter are the foundation of GPE strategic plans, as well as participation and accountability policies for GPE partners.

The Charter is complemented by an Accountability Matrix, which summarizes accountabilities related to key roles within GPE.

The GPE Secretariat carries out the day-to-day business of GPE, serving the interests of the partnership as a whole. The Secretariat is hosted by the World Bank in Washington, D.C., with offices also in Paris and Brussels. The GPE Secretariat does not have a presence in partner countries. Focal points (‘country team leads’) based in DC or Paris guide and facilitate GPE’s support to countries.

At country level, GPE is manifested in inclusive coordination bodies established by partner country governments and their partners. These are referred to as ‘local education groups’. Generally, they are composed of the government, development partners and other stakeholders such as civil society and teacher representatives. The specific composition, title and working arrangements of local education groups vary from country to country.

What does GPE do?
Two preschool students and their teacher smile at the camera. They attend the Bartolome de las Casas preschool in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Credit: GPE/Carolina Valenzuela

What does GPE do?

GPE supports the achievement of SDG 4, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Within the broader framework of the SDGs, GPE’s mission is to mobilize partnerships and investments that transform education systems in developing countries, leaving no child behind.

GPE’s goal is to accelerate access, learning outcomes and gender equality through equitable, inclusive and resilient education systems fit for the 21st century.

As a fund, GPE mobilizes and delivers funding to countries most in need of education support.

As a partnership, GPE convenes partners around policy dialogue to determine how to best support each country, collectively and through agreed, evidence-based national priorities.

GPE’s strategic plan sets out the work of GPE in more detail. The strategy for 2021-2025 (GPE 2025) is based on broad consultation with stakeholders under the guidance of the GPE Board of Directors.

GPE country-level objectives

Strengthen gender responsive planning and policy development for system-wide impact.
Mobilize coordinated action and financing to enable transformative change.
Strengthen capacity, adapt and learn, to implement and drive results at scale.
Mobilize global and national partners and resources for sustainable results


The GPE Board of Directors has adopted four principles for effective partnership. These are:

  • Increase decentralized mutual accountability
  • Drive national ownership and capacity
  • Rebalance the GPE model to focus on implementation and sector policy dialogue
  • Reduce GPE processes and transaction costs

These principles inform GPE’s strategic plan and are embedded in the strategic objectives. Translating these principles into practice requires commitment and efforts from partners both at global and country level. By assessing actions, behaviors and efforts against these principles, all stakeholders can help ensure GPE adapts and learns to improve partnership effectiveness.

Learn more about GPE’s work to build an effective partnership

GPE’s country-level operating model

GPE operating model

GPE’s Board of Directors adopted a new operating model in December 2020 as part of its new strategy, GPE2025. The operating model aims to support countries to deliver system transformation. The core components of the operating model can be organized in a framework comprised of three strategic shifts: 1) strengthen mutual accountability for system transformation; 2) sharpen GPE funding for system transformation; and 3) mobilize strategic capabilities to reinforce country capacity for system transformation.

The success of GPE’s system transformation approach relies on partners working effectively together at the country level, coordinating and aligning dialogue and support. With governments in the lead, partners at the country level collectively:

  • Diagnose key bottlenecks within the system that if unblocked can have a transformative effect on the education system to deliver a quality education for every child.
  • Discuss and agree on a priority policy reform area that has the potential to catalyze system change by having a laser-like focus on improving delivery.
  • Acknowledge the value of all partners aligning their resources and efforts to support the policy reform area outlined in a jointly developed partnership compact.

The GPE 2025 operating model was initially piloted in six countries.

GPE cross-country webinar on the experience of piloting the new operating model – Day 1

GPE cross-country webinar on the experience of piloting the new operating model – Day 2

The Knowledge and Innovation Exchange and Education Out Loud are core GPE programs to support strategic capabilities that reinforce country capacity.

Knowledge and innovation

GPE’s Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) provides expertise and innovation to help partner countries strengthen education systems. By helping players to come together, KIX ensures that evidence-based solutions reach national policy makers and aid the planning process.

Advocacy and accountability

GPE supports civil society participation in education policy dialogue through the Education Out Loud fund. Education Out Loud aims to enhance civil society capacities to engage in education sector planning, policy dialogue and monitoring and to promote transparency and accountability in education.