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Foreign Policy Analysis
USAID Education Policy

USAID Education Policy


The USAID Education Policy released
in November 2018 sets priorities and direction for the Agency’s investments
in both basic and higher education. The policy also aligns with the U.S.
Government International Basic Education Strategy that was released in September
2018. Our vision in this policy is a world where partner country education
systems enable all children and youth to acquire the education and skills needed
to be productive members of society. Building on the progress USAID has
made over the last decade to improve learning outcomes at scale, the policy
identifies four priority outcome areas the USAID education programming should
address. First, we want children and youth, particularly the most marginalized and
vulnerable, to have increased access to quality education that is safe, relevant,
and promotes social well-being. Second, it is important that children and youth
gain literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional skills. These skills are
foundational to future learning and success. Third, youth gain the skills they
need to lead productive lives, gain employment, and positively
contribute to society. And for the final priority outcome, we will build a
capacity of higher education institutions to be central actors and
development in their own countries by allowing them to better conduct and
apply research, deliver quality education, and engage with communities. The policy lays out six principles to
drive mission decision-making and investments in education programming.
Prioritize country focus and ownership. Focus investments on measurably and
sustainably improving outcomes. Strengthen systems and develop capacity
in local institutions. Work in partnership and leverage resources. Drive
decision-making investments using evidence and data. Promote equity and
inclusion. We know that each country has unique needs and is at a different point
on the journey to self-reliance. And we should program to meet those needs. The policy gives missions more flexibility to focus on country ownership
and context in education programming. The policy emphasizes understanding and
working to improve systems, including both state and non-state institutions, to
measurably and sustainably improve learning and educational outcomes. Many
children and youth would be denied access to education if not for non-state
schools and providers, including private, for-profit, nonprofit, community,
faith-based, and other non-governmental organizations. USAID will provide evidence
and technical leadership on issues of non-state schools and providers to
measurably and equitably improve learning outcomes. The policy allows
education earmarked funds to be used for a wider range of education activities
and programming, particularly for youth workforce development,
a commonly under-resourced area. The policy is not time bound, it is meant to
guide USAID education programming and investments over the short term, as well
as promote support for long-term sustained change. And finally the policy
encourages cross-sector collaboration and new ways of thinking. Any Bureau,
office, and mission with education programming, regardless of the account,
program area, or funding source should ensure their programming is aligned with
the principles and priorities of the policy. The policy is accompanied by the
Program Cycle Implementation and Operational Guidance that helps USAID
operating units understand the policy and its practical implications for
programming. For example, it provides key
considerations for how the policy should be integrated in each phase of the program
cycle. It provides guidance on the use of basic education and higher education
earmarked funds. Tt also covers agency level monitoring and results reporting.
Additional training and resources are available and are continually being
added to and updated on EducationLinks. We’re excited to implement this USAID Education Policy with all of our partners and stakeholders. Together, we
can improve learning outcomes for children and youth around the world.

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