“GPE’s recommendations for developing education sector plans are really useful because they allow the effective identification of the main needs of the sector. In particular, the fact that all the partners participate in the development of this plan alongside the government allows for a harmonized approach of support and complementarity.”
Deputy Manager, Education, TVET, Employment Division
Agence Française de Développement
What is a coordinating agency?
The term ‘coordinating agency’ is used by GPE to refer to country-level partners who support the government with the coordination of education sector policy dialogue. Coordinating agencies are usually appointed through an agreed, country-specific mechanism, typically by the local education group.
Coordinating agencies play a vital role as facilitators of harmonized policy dialogue by acting as a communication link between government partners and other members of the local education group, as well as between the group and the GPE Secretariat. By mobilizing and including partners from different stakeholder groups, coordinating agencies help build broad and inclusive partnership around education.
The importance of the coordinating agency role for GPE
As a multi-stakeholder partnership, GPE is built on mutual accountability. Effective dialogue is an important foundation for coordination and complementarity, and through these, for optimal use of resources to deliver results.
By supporting governments to convene partners, coordinating agencies play a vital role to help ensure that education plans and reform agendas are built on evidence and have a broad base of agreement and support.
Coordinating agency accountabilities
In 2019, GPE’s Board of Directors adopted an Accountability Matrix to clarify what is expected from different GPE stakeholders to enable the partnership to achieve its vision and goals.
Coordinating agencies play a pivotal role in promoting mutual accountability relative to the GPE Charter in three key areas: sector coordination, GPE grants and related work, and communication.
Coordinating agencies are accountable as partners to the government and members of the local education group.
The coordinating agency role in practice
Although GPE’s grants are often in focus at country level, the grant processes are meant to have an impact beyond the funding. It is critical for coordinating agencies to have a robust understanding not just of the steps and requirements of GPE grant processes, but of the broader intended impact of these, including:
- improved harmonization and alignment of development aid
- mobilization of stakeholders around evidence-based sector plans to improve equity and education quality
- coordinated partner support to governments to strengthen capacity.
Coordinating agencies support GPE grant processes throughout the grant cycle. They facilitate dialogue during compact development to identify education system bottlenecks and the strategic focus to be financed by GPE grants, work closely with the government to facilitate in the grant agent selection, and ensure the local education group is consulted and updated throughout grant development and implementation.
As facilitators of the work of local education groups, coordinating agencies help to drive policy dialogue that is collaborative and inclusive of nongovernmental organizations, while coordinating the development partners in their role of supporting and monitoring the development, independent appraisal, endorsement, and implementation and joint monitoring of the country’s education sector plan.
Coordinating agencies hold a leadership role in sector development and can guide relationships and outcomes.
A robust understanding of the intent behind, and desired outcomes of, GPE processes can allow CAs to drive appropriate adaptations to contexts.
- Terms of reference for GPE Secretariat’s country level engagement
- Terms of reference for coordinating agencies
- Terms of reference for ESPDG grant agents
- Terms of reference for ESPIG grant agents
- Country-level guide
- Principles toward effective local education groups
- LEG self-assessment and performance feedback tools
- Standard selection process for grant agents
- ESPDG guidelines
- ESPIG guidelines
- Multiplier guidelines
- ESPIG policy
- Conflict resolution procedures
- Policy and communications protocol on misuse of GPE trust funds
- Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX)
- Guidelines for education sector plan preparation
- Guidelines for the monitoring of national education budgets
- Practical guide for effective joint sector reviews in the education sector
- ECE accelerator toolkit