Home | 2011 Workshop

Policy Dialogue: National Plans and Harmonization
August 20, 2009 – 3:30 p.m.

Presenters: Sarah Wright, USAID Kenya
Cristina Olive, USAID Peru
Carmen Henriquez, USAID El Salvador
Arturo Acosta, USAID Indonesia

Discussant: John Gillies, Academy for Educational Development (AED)

Moderator: Patrick Collins, USAID Office of Education

This session outlined the evolving nature of policy dialogue and long-term educational planning by national ministries of education vis-à-vis internal and external stakeholders, including USAID and other donors. Presenters from USAID Missions in Kenya, Peru, El Salvador, and Indonesia discussed the policy dialogue process in light of their own country contexts.

The overall policy dialogue process in various countries has become increasingly complex, as some MoEs have been making significant long-term efforts to get civil society and other internal and external stakeholders involved. Having more actors at the table makes discussions on education strategy and planning more nuanced and more challenging to ratify among partners. In addition, major donors, which may have different sets of priorities, enter and depart the education sector in a particular country. However, USAID’s efforts and funding, while not minor, nonetheless represent only a small part of a country’s overall education sector spending. USAID provides $3 million annually of Peru’s $3 billion education budget; USAID’s programs address 1% of Indonesia’s teachers and 1.3% of Indonesia’s students.

USAID’s discussions on Kenya’s current plans which began in 2003 are still “ongoing.” NGOs, other donors, and the relevant MoE offices have been involved in the discourse at every step, with an active NGO coalition that attends monthly roundtables and is engaged in annual reviews. USAID Kenya provides technical assistance on policy development through a local firm to strengthen implementation of a substantial plan. The Mission chairs the education donors’ group and is the lead agency for the Fast Track Initiative (FTI), providing critical support for analytic work, such as nationwide school mapping.

Key take away points from this session included the conclusion that USAID and other donors must be aligned with Ministry of Education objectives to be effective. USAID Missions have generally been quite influential in terms of providing the training and tools needed for the development of national policies and also in helping to build donor consensus, often taking the lead in donor roundtables. Assistance is especially useful in helping MoEs benefit from lessons learned elsewhere; for example, sharing USAID’s efforts to support Guatemala’s MoE to strengthen its information management systems greatly eased similar tasks for El Salvador. Not infrequently, however, the transitions in government and internal frictions within the MoEs can mean the need to start again with new players, sometimes quite unexpectedly.

To view the presentations, please click on link below:
USAID Peru, Olive : Open
USAID El Salvador : Open
USAID Indonesia : Open

For questions related to the 2009 Education Workshop,
please contact Rebekah Levi at rlevi@jbsinternational.com