DFID's work on education: Leaving no one behind Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

Financing global education

1.The Committee recognises that in some circumstances it is right and necessary to allocate education-focused aid to middle-income countries, for example the considerable financial commitments made to Jordan and Lebanon to support the education of Syrian refugees. However, generally it is low and lower middle-income countries that require the most support for education. As the UK’s spending on support for global education is transferred to other Government departments with a different geographical focus and other priorities, the Government should ensure that resources are still being focused on those children and young people who most need it. (Paragraph 41)

2.The Committee recognises DFID’s continuing commitment to education, and the fact that it has in the past prioritised aid to education in a way other donors have not. However, if SDG4 is to be achieved, all donors should considerably increase the amount of aid allocated to global education, which has lagged behind other sectors for many years. For this reason, the Committee would like to see the amount of UK ODA allocated to education increase over the course of the next spending review period. The Department is commendable in striving to improve the value for money of the amount it spends on education. However, in order to achieve the ambitions of SDG4, the total amount should be increased. (Paragraph 42)

3.Between 2012–2015, the UK spent an annual average of £966 million on education. We expect to see a significant increase in this figure over the next spending review period. The specific amount should be determined by the new approach to DFID’s Value for Money framework that we recommend below. (Paragraph 43)

4.DFID has not demonstrated a clear understanding of the inter-relationship of education spending with other sectors. If it is serious about achieving value for money on everything spent, it should work towards a better understanding of this area. (Paragraph 44)

5.The Department should develop a clear and transparent methodology for determining and justifying the allocation of education funding in terms of its potential ‘added value’. This is likely to enable better informed decisions over the programmes it funds and the mechanism to which resources are committed. (Paragraph 45)

6.The UK Government should, wherever possible, use its influence with partner countries to encourage greater domestic spending on education. It should also support countries in their efforts to target domestic spending towards the most marginalised and disadvantaged children. (Paragraph 50)

7.As recognised in the Multilateral Development Review 2016, GPE’s focus on fragile and conflict-affected states is well aligned with DFID priorities and we recognise DFID’s influence in ensuring and maintaining this. (Paragraph 57)

8.Given that the Global Partnership for Education has improved its performance and has a unique approach to improving the education systems in developing countries, DFID should agree to the full financial contribution requested by GPE at the next replenishment. The UK should also announce its intentions early, to encourage other donors to step forward. (Paragraph 58)

9.We expect DFID to link its contributions to performance conditions, which we believe is right. However, DFID should take all necessary steps to ensure that any cap on contributions, as a percentage of total commitments, is an effective tool to encourage other donors (rather than a barrier to GPE receiving the full financial amount promised). To act as an incentive to other donors, the UK’s commitment, and the percentage cap, should be announced as soon as possible. (Paragraph 59)

10.DFID should support the new International Financing Facility for Education (IFFEd), as an additional mechanism for leveraging funding into the provision of global education. (Paragraph 63)

Improving access to education

11.In light of SDG5 and the recognised multiplier effect of, specifically, girls’ education in developing countries, we believe that DFID should continue to fund the Girls’ Education Challenge into its second phase, demonstrating how it has used learning from the first phase to inform new ways of working. DFID should also continue to use these innovative programmes to learn more about ‘what works’ to ensure that the most marginalised girls have access to quality education, using this learning across the organisation and sharing it with other donors and development practitioners, looking into opportunities for scaling successful models. (Paragraph 75)

12.DFID should seek to fund some programmes in the second stage of the Girls’ Education Challenge that focus on reducing the incidence of ‘drop out’ at transition points in girls’ development and education. The Department should also consider how it can best integrate the tackling of school related gender-based violence in programmes that it funds. (Paragraph 76)

13.DFID has shown leadership on education for girls and young women in recent years. The Department should now use its influence in the same way to shine a light on the needs of disabled children. It has made great progress with the Disability Framework, but needs to now ensure this is being implemented across all DFID programmes. (Paragraph 83)

14.DFID should use its policy refresh to launch a reinvigorated strategy to support access to quality education for disabled children. We believe that this is a vital area of work for DFID, and hope to undertake a separate inquiry into DFID’s work on disability in our future programme of work. (Paragraph 84)

15.Humanitarian finance suffers from being short-term and unpredictable. However, as we have seen in recent years, crises—such as the war in Syria—are becoming increasingly protracted. This creates situations and environments that are likely to persist and define how many people will live for many years. The ‘temporary’ solutions established at the outset should therefore be designed with this in mind. If education provision is ignored then the futures of the children caught up in them are at risk and the chances of long term recovery, and the avoidance of repetition, will be reduced. (Paragraph 91)

16.As part of its policy refresh, DFID needs to establish a long-term, integrated strategy for supporting education in emergencies, especially in long-term crises, through bilateral and multilateral channels. The aim should be to make establishing effective foundations for getting the affected children back into structured learning environments a priority alongside clean water, food, sanitation and shelter. (Paragraph 92)

17.The benefits of pre-primary education for later learning are proven and there is a real drive from stakeholders for DFID to invest and do more in this area. Although other donors and organisations, such as USAID and the World Bank, are active in supporting early years education, aid funding for pre-primary remains low. It seems clear that there is the space, and desire, for DFID to contribute to work in this area. (Paragraph 97)

18.DFID should find more effective methods of monitoring its sub-sectoral spend, particularly in early years education where it claims its support is under-represented by the figures available. This will enable the Department to assess what work it is currently carrying out in this area, and where it can add most value or leverage in other resources. (Paragraph 98)

19.DFID should invest more in pre-primary education, bilaterally and multilaterally. It should work alongside donors and organisations already active in this area, such as the World Bank and USAID, to determine where the UK could make the most effective contribution. (Paragraph 99)

20.DFID should use its education policy refresh as an opportunity to clarify its value for money approach in this area, ensuring it is fit for purpose when targeting the most marginalised children. (Paragraph 102)

21.DFID should work where appropriate to support governments to regulate private schools where it has the expertise and resources to do so. (Paragraph 111)

22.More research should be done on how the private sector could be used to improve free, government funded schools. The results of the PSL trial in Liberia are welcome, and it is encouraging that trials like this are creating useful data. This data should be assessed carefully when the Government is deciding if/how to support private operators. (Paragraph 112)

23.DFID should take further steps to satisfy itself that the model of educational provision offered by Bridge International Academies offers an effective educational return on the ODA committed to it. This should include assessment of whether the model is sustainable, cost-effective and scalable but also whether it could be modified or adapted to improve outcomes when compared to other operators and other models. (Paragraph 119)

Improving the quality and equity of education

24.If DFID is to be effective in supporting partner countries to improve education systems, it should have a strong understanding of the context in which it is working. A thorough understanding of the political, social and economic circumstances of each of DFID’s priority countries should be at the centre of its education programming decisions. (Paragraph 134)

25.To ensure programming is politically informed, DFID and Foreign and Commonwealth Office teams in country should be working closely together on education. To take full advantage of the range of knowledge and expertise within country teams, DFID’s governance advisers, as well as education advisers, should be instrumental in planning bilateral engagement on education. (Paragraph 135)

26.DFID’s country-specific education advisers are essential to ensuring UK support to education is tailored to each country context, coordinating with other donors, international organisations and NGOs, and—most importantly—developing strong relationships with country governments. If DFID is to support systems reform in the countries it works in, these interlocutors with their intricate knowledge of countries’ education systems—from the national to the local level—are essential. (Paragraph 136)

27.Where possible, DFID should maintain an education adviser in every country where it has a bilateral aid programme. (Paragraph 137)

28.The Committee welcomes DFID’s considerable investments in research and data on global education. While access and learning outcomes are still poor, the Department’s investment in baseline data and evidence on what works to improve education is absolutely vital. (Paragraph 140)

29.DFID should continue to support research on education, such as the RISE programme. It should also continue to support vital data collection, through the Global Education Monitoring Report and others. (Paragraph 141)

17 November 2017