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Girls’ education interventions and system change: from global commitments to gender equality results

Wed, April 17, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Atrium (Level 2), Garden Room A

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session


Building on the momentum of the SDG4 agenda, global attention has increasingly been focusing on the transformational power of educating girls as the key to unlocking human potential and transforming the prospects of families, communities and nations, in addition to delivering life-changing benefits for the girls themselves. Much has been written about the ‘ripple effect’ of investing in girls, and the significant returns this investment brings in health, social and economic development, as well as building more peaceful, just societies.
While the evidence base for the game-changing impacts of investing in girls’ education is compelling, significant challenges persist. Despite global progress made in recent years, nearly 132 million girls remain out of school. The Global Partnership for Education’s Results Report 2018 shows that girls continue to be disadvantaged in developing partner countries, with girls of primary school age 1.3 times more likely to be out of school than boys. Girls who were in school did not complete at the same rate as boys. In 14 countries, fewer than 9 girls for every 10 boys complete primary school; at lower secondary level, 22 countries remain below this threshold.
Responding to the scale of the challenge, powerful coalitions of commitment have emerged, seeking to ensure that girls complete twelve years of quality education and that no girl is left behind. The UK government’s Girls’ Education Framework, launched in April 2018, sets an ambitious agenda to achieve this goal by 2030. The Charlevoix Declaration, signed at the G7 Summit meeting in Canada in June this year, commits G7 leaders to increase equal access to quality education for girls and women, especially during conflict and crisis situations, raising pledges for US$2.9 billion to achieve this aim. The Nairobi Declaration and Call for Action on Education of April 2018 goes further, committing Ministers of Education of Africa, and other key stakeholders to achieving gender equality in education systems through rendering all aspects of the education system gender-sensitive, responsive, and transformative.
These developments provide unprecedented political space and momentum for accelerating the pace and scale of change. Yet to now, understanding is still limited of how projects that prioritize girls’ education contribute to lasting change at the level of education systems. Further, the emphasis on girls’ education risks obscuring concern with the many broader facets of gender inequality in education systems, which continue to remain largely hidden and unaddressed.

This group panel will explore how gender-responsive education sector planning (GRESP) has a high potential for bringing about systemic change in a sustainable way. GPE and UNGEI have been working together with Plan, UNESCO-IIEP and other key partners to help developing country partners catalyze this change at the systems level, and grapple with some of the contextual, institutional, and political dimensions of gender equality that facilitate or constrain change leading towards greater gender equality. The presentations will make the case for a more joined-up, systems approach to accelerating sustainable education results for girls at scale, as part of a holistic approach to achieving gender equality in and through education.

Key questions to be explored by the panelists are:
• How can partnerships and commitments at global level be translated into transformative system change within countries to accelerate gender equality results at scale?
• How can knowledge sharing and peer learning at regional level help link global commitments on gender equality with national results?
• How can successes in girls’ education projects inform gender-responsive education sector planning and lead to systemic change?
• What are the contextual, institutional, and political dimensions that facilitate or constrain system level change?

UNGEI will outline the work that has been done jointly with GPE and other partners on GRESP in regional workshops, particularly looking at the conceptual model, based on adult learning theory and bringing multi-constituency groups together for peer learning and knowledge exchange. The GRESP Theory of Change will be explored, considering enabling factors, political economy and other constraints, and consider how results are informing the way the model continues to evolve over time, as well as what more needs to be done to institutionalize the approach.
Plan Togo will present on how civil society actors are supporting the Ministry of Education of Togo to apply the learning from a recent GRESP regional workshop and embed a gender equality lens into their national education sector analysis and planning process.
Miske Witt and Associates International will explore lessons learned from attempts to implement Gender-Responsive Education Sector Planning (GRESP) in Tanzania, where, in a recent national ESP planning cycle, institutional, contextual, and other factors posed major challenges to implementing the GRESP process.
GPE will consider how gender equality is being considered in education sector analysis and sector planning in GPE countries, including those affected by fragility and conflict, and illustrate with examples from particular countries.
In terms of the format of the group panel, the session will begin with some brief opening remarks by the chair. This will be followed by four 10-minute paper presentations. After the presentations, a 20-minute panel conversation will be moderated by the discussant, with reference to the overarching questions outlined above, and seek to draw conclusions on the lessons learned and critical success factors which leverage the impact of the GRESP approach.
The final 20 minutes of the session will be opened for the audience to engage in further questions, comments and reflection.

Chair: Raphaelle Martinez, Team Lead, Team Lead - Education Policy and Learning, Education Policy and Performance, Global Partnership for Education Secretariat

Discussant: Yona Nestel, Senior Education Advocacy and Policy Advisor, Plan International Headquarters

Presenters: Nora Fyles, United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI); TBC, National Officer, Plan Togo); Shirley Miske, President and CEO, Miske Witt & Associates International; TBD, Global Partnership for Education Secretariat

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