At the end of the last decade, I had the real pleasure of working with colleagues at the World Economic Forum and UNESCO on their Partnerships for Education initiative. Amongst many other things, this generated a number of useful materials for anyone interested in developing such partnerships in the future – but note that these are now based on the UNESCO site at http://www.unesco.org/pfore/ (and not at the former PforE site!).
I was therefore really delighted when Alex Wong at the Forum invited me last year to work with him on writing a reflection on all that the World Economic Forum’s Global Education Initiative (GEI) achieved. My one condition was that anything we wrote should reflect not only the successes, but also the problems and challenges faced by the initiative! I think we often learn more by our failures than our successes. In writing the report, we interviewed many of those who had been involved in the GEI’s various initiatives, and sought to craft a document that included many of their insightful comments.
This report has recently been published, under the title Global Education Initiative: Retrospective on Partnerships for Education Development 2003-2011 (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2012). As well as providing an overview on all of the diverse elements of the GEI, it draws together our reflections on the nine key things necessary for the implementation of successful multi-stakeholder partnerships for education:
- High level leadership
- A partnership broker that is knowledgeable about the education sector
- That broker also being trusted and neutral
- Beginning with the educational outcomes in mind
- The central role played by Ministries of Education
- Effective project management
- Adequate and timely resourcing
- Consistent strategy and flexible delivery and
- Effective internal and external communication
The sixty page report contains much more than this, though, and I really hope that it will provide a useful guide for anyone thinking of using multi-stakeholder partnerships to deliver effective educational initiatives.