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Engineering more inclusive education systems

January 2024
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Exciting new initiative commissioned by IDP Foundation and developed in partnership with Global Schools Forum.

This toolkit has been created in collaboration with Oxford MeasurED to support non-state initiatives that contribute towards more inclusive education systems.


The 2021/22 UNESCO GEM report on Non-State Actors in Education called for all schools, whether public or private, to be recognised as being part of one system. This call to action requires  that non-state providers, such as those within the Affordable Non-State sector (ANS) who provide education to marginalised communities around the world, be included in policy planning processes.  

Currently most non-state run with little support or regulation by governments. A lack of government engagement with the ANS means there is little supportive regulation of these schools in place to ensure a minimum level of quality. Alongside this, the lack of a collective voice for the ANS means that they have limited opportunities to support national education agendas in their countries of operation. 

All Hands On Deck For SDG 4, referring to the utility of all actors and providers, both state and non-state, in progress towards SDG 4, is an Initiative which aims to resolve the challenges of a lack of recognition, integration and support, by creating resources and practical tools to foster better collaboration between the ANS and government.  

The toolkit includes an operational guide, case studies of effective engagement, an explainer presentation, workshop guide and participation sheets to support better collaboration and integration across national, subnational and regional education systems. The resources were developed in consultation with experts including government representatives, non-state providers, researchers, and civil society organisations.

Taking the theory of, and what has been learned about, better engagement and collaboration with government and education stakeholders into action this  public good offers practical tools to guide organizations in developing strategies and operational planning around advocacy, as well as sharing case studies on effective engagement tactics.

The toolkit comprises of:

  1. A practical, evidence-based operational guide to support organisations in planning their engagement strategies.
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  2. Four case studies of initiatives that have successfully fostered engagement between state and non-state actors:
    • The Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI) – RELI is a coalition of more than 70 non-state and civil society organisations working in education in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Formed in 2017, RELI aims to generate evidence to support governments in improving education quality.
    • Engagement between the Ministry of Education and private schools in Lagos State – Most learners in Lagos State are in low-fee private schools, but until 2008 the number of schools wasn’t known. Beginning with a DfID funded school census, a constellation of organisations has been working to improve the quality of engagement between the MoE and private schools.
    • Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) – TRECC was a collaboration between the Jacobs Foundation, the government of Côte d’Ivoire and a network of cocoa-producers. The initiative aimed to reduce child labour in cocoa communities through joint funding and management of pilots to find innovations to improve education quality. These innovations could then be scaled up in the government system.
    • The private schools work of the Central Square Foundation (CSF) – CSF’s work on private schools aims to improve the quality of education in the private sector by a) improving the quality of data on learning outcomes, thereby supporting informed parental choice, b) supporting improved regulation of private schools, and c) using evidence to build more productive narratives around private schooling.
  3. A set of workable tools for practical application of the operational guide including an explainer presentation for a digestible introduction and summation of the toolkit, and a workshop presentation with workshop participation sheets for users to run a government engagement strategy workshop.

IDP Foundation hope this toolkit can facilitate better engagement between non-state actors (including education providers, program implementers, funders and innovators) and governments leading to the mobilzation of all-hands-on-deck, both state and non-state, in the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 4.

All Hands On Deck For SDG 4 calls for affirmative action by all education stakeholders, so that governments can benefit from the experiences and expertise of the affordable non-state sector (ANS) through their voice in policy development, implementation, and monitoring.

The toolkit is freely available to all education stakeholders, find out more and download here.

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