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All Hands on Deck

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All hands on deck to tackle the global learning crisis

GSF shines a spotlight on the non-state sector’s instrumental role in getting children learning at the UN’s Transforming Education Pre-Summit in Paris.

In June 2022, Global Schools Forum joined more than 140 Education Ministers from around the world at the UN’s Transforming Education Pre-Summit, hosted by UNESCO in Paris. The Transforming Education Summit process has been convened by the UN Secretary General to mobilise action, ambition, solidarity and solutions with a view to ‘transforming education’ between now, 2030 and beyond.

On June 30, GSF’s CEO Aashti Zaidi Hai contributed to a panel debate during the ministerial segment of the pre-summit, looking at private sector perspectives on Transforming Education. Aashti spoke about the role that the non-state education sector can play in transforming education – and the need for “all hands on deck” to tackle the global learning crisis.

In her remarks, Aashti said that the non-state organisations in GSF’s network are willing to do whatever they can to support governments in realising their visions for transforming education, stating that ”we stand ready to partner with governments to find the answers and to do more”.

Aashti also encouraged the national delegations and other stakeholders attending the Pre-Summit to look at the following areas where engagement with the non-state sector could support governments’ plans to Transform Education:

1. Leveraging innovation from the non-state sector
There is a significant amount of promising innovation emerging from the non-state sector. According to the Brookings Institution, 87.7% of the innovations in the education sector are driven by non-state actors. With the non-state sector often being more agile than organisations operating within government systems, this makes an ideal testbed for testing new innovations that can then be scaled more widely.
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2. Building and scaling partnerships between governments and the non-state sector
”All hands on deck” means leveraging the private sector and anyone else with the capacity to contribute, with a relentless focus on children’s outcomes. We should now be developing new partnerships, at scale, between governments and the non-state sector, in order to make use of the capabilities, skills and additional financing that the non-state sector can bring.

Government partnerships with the non-state sector are already common – with financial partnerships in place between governments and non-state schools in 171 out of the 204 countries examined in the latest GEM report. We must build on the learnings from successful established partnerships such as those run by the Punjab Education Foundation and Sindh Education Foundation in Pakistan. We must do this equitably, with a focus on the impact on children from the poorest and most disadvantaged families.

3. Leveraging household expenditure
Household expenditure makes up 37% of total education expenditure in low-income countries, and 31% in middle-income countries. GSF wants to see a major increase in public education finance from domestic and international sources. However, until and unless we see that increase, we need to look at how household spending can be harnessed in a more equitable way, so that the options available to the poorest children are the same as those of the rest of the population.
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Other contributors to the session included Google’s William Florance, Technovation’s Tara Chklovski, Goodwall’s Taha Bawa, and Akustina Morni from the International Organisation of Employers. The session was moderated by Simon Sommer, Co-CEO of the Jacobs Foundation.

We need all hands on deck to tackle the global learning crisis.

Aashti Zaidi Hai, CEO, Global Schools Forum

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