Honduras was one of the first members of the Global Partnership for Education. Despite never having received implementation grant funding from the Global Partnership, the country has embraced and modeled GPE mechanisms and processes.
The Challenge: Continued progress in the face of adversity
When Honduras joined the Global Partnership in 2002, the country had already made great strides in meeting the Education for All goals, with 89 percent of children enrolled in school. It had also attained gender parity in primary schools. Honduras recognized the critical role that education plays in reducing poverty, and was striving for universal primary education. However, the country lacked the financial and technical capacity to meet its goals of improving the coverage and quality of pre-primary and primary education, especially for rural, disadvantaged, and indigenous people.
Nevertheless, the country continued to make gains, reducing the number of out-of-school children from 115,000 in 2000 to about 30,000 in 2011. Honduras moved from 82 percent of children completing primary school in 2005, to universal completion in 2011. Many of those gains, however, were jeopardized by the 2009 political crisis and the turbulence that ensued: cessation of donor disbursements, students not attending classes, a high turnover of education ministers, and a rocky relationship between the government and teachers.
The Solution: Bringing stakeholders back to the table
To achieve its education objectives, Honduras has embraced both the principles of the Education for All goals and the Global Partnership’s approach. Since the country’s first GPE- endorsed Education Sector Plan in 2002 (2003-2015), Honduras has tracked and reported its annual progress while continually updating the plan to reflect lessons learned.
The downturn in the education sector and in government-donor relations following the political crisis prompted the chair of Honduras’s donor education committee to request the Global Partnership’s help in strengthening the relationship between donors and the government to better align and harmonize aid in the education sector. The GPE was seen as the best mechanism to reactivate dialogue among stakeholders.
The Result: A Harmonized education sector
The GPE’s involvement led to a Joint Sector Review in 2013 (the first since the 2009 coup), to assess progress at all levels and throughout the country. The review brought all stakeholders back to the table, including the active participation of civil society organizations.
Although Honduras is no longer eligible for implementation grants from the Global Partnership, it continues to play an active role in GPE: it holds an alternate seat on the GPE Board representing Latin America and the Caribbean, and continues to value the benefits of membership. “The Global Partnership is the global forum that focuses, on an ongoing basis, on the establishment and fulfillment of educational commitments and, to this end, coordinates important technical and financial initiatives,” says Sandra Maribel Sánchez R., Honduras’s Deputy Minister of Education for Administrative and Financial Affairs.