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DFID's work on education: Leaving no one behind? inquiry launched

20 July 2016

The International Development Committee is holding an inquiry into DFID's work on education: Leaving no one behind?  

Scope of the inquiry

The International Development Committee invites written submissions into all aspects of DFID's work on education, and is particularly interested in the following areas:

  • Does DFID currently apportion enough priority and dedicate enough funding to its work on global education? Has it got the balance of spending on early years, primary, secondary and tertiary right?
  • Is DFID's education funding being targeted appropriately?  How effective are its interventions through multilateral organisations (e.g. Global Partnership for Education, the World Bank), implementing partners, centrally managed programmes and direct support to government education budgets?
  • Are there any best practice examples of DFID interventions in global education programmes? What is working well and can this be replicated? Are there any innovative approaches that could be scaled up?
  • How can DFID best support efforts to secure access to primary education for the most marginalised children, including getting the 59 million out-of-school children into education? 
  • Should DFID support low-fee schools, including private schools, in developing countries? If so, what should this support look like? If not, how can universal access be achieved? 
  • How can DFID most effectively support efforts to increase learning outcomes, particularly ensuring that those children in school are gaining proficiency in literacy and numeracy? 
  • Should DFID be doing more to support countries in developing more effective education systems, including high quality teacher education and leadership training? 
  • Does DFID need to develop a greater focus on tertiary education, including technical and practical education? How can it support efforts to ensure that the growing youth population in many of its bilateral partner countries are given the life skills they need?
  • How should the UK Government involve UK Higher Education institutions in its work? 
  • How best can DFID support efforts to eliminate inequalities in access and quality of education on the basis of gender, disability, indigeneity, and for children in vulnerable situations, including emergencies?

Written Submissions

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 16 September 2016. The Committee values diversity and seeks to ensure this where possible. We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence.

The Committee considers requests for reasonable adjustments to its usual arrangements for taking evidence and publishing material, to enhance access. Please contact or telephone 020 7219 1223.

Written evidence submitted should:

Have a one page summary at the front
Be no longer than 3000 words in length


Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2 focused on achieving universal primary education by 2015. Significant progress was made, but the Goal was not achieved. Today, 59 million of the most marginalised children around the world are out of school, gender disparities continue, completion of schooling remains a problem, and outcomes, including basic literacy skills, are still lacking in many countries.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 sets a bold and ambitious new challenge to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030. It makes a commitment to leave no one behind.

DFID's spending on education currently constitutes 7.7% of its overall budget, less than its spending on government and civil society (8%), disasters (9%) and health (12.5%). Globally, education has seen a steady decline in ODA funding in recent years from both bilateral and multilateral donors.

This major IDC inquiry will focus on DFID's work in three key areas:

  • Access: getting the most marginalised children into school 
  • Quality: ensuring children receive a high standard of education at primary and secondary with good learning outcomes
  • Lifelong learning: ensuring provision of tertiary education (including technical and practical education)

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) is currently conducting its own performance review of support to marginalised girls in basic education provided by UK aid; the results of which will feed into the IDC's broader inquiry.

At this early stage in the inquiry, the Committee is releasing broad terms of reference, with the aim of narrowing the focus of the inquiry once written evidence has been received. Contributing organisations should not feel obliged to respond to all of the terms of reference, but instead focus on those which are most pertinent to their work.

Further information

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