The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that promotes and defends education as a basic human right. We campaign and advocate at the international, regional and national level to put pressure on governments and the international community to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.
The GCE movement was founded in 1999, in the build-up to the World Education Forum in Dakar, to provide a platform to unify and coordinate civil society voices in relation to the global education agenda. Since then, the movement GCE has grown significantly, in particular through the expansion and consolidation of national civil society coalitions. Some important progress has been made, including 40 million more children in school. However, far more still needs to be done to realise the right to quality education for all. Today, the GCE represent over 100 national and regional education coalitions and international organisations. Our membership is comprised of a huge variety of national, regional and international civil society organisations, teachers’ organisations, parents’ associations, women’s group, disabled people’s organisation, youth and student groups, academic or research institutions and child rights campaigners. Our national coalitions encompass many thousands of civil society organisations and represent millions of individual across the world.
Each is independent, and all are united by the commitment to the right to education, and to achieving change through the mobilisation of citizens and civil society. The diversity of our membership is the movement’s key strength, allowing us to run impactful cross-national and global campaigns, like the Global Action Week for Education, an annual global campaign organised by the GCE since 2001. We are committed to listen to the variety of voices within the movement, and our membership has regularly chosen the themes of the Global action weeks. Our reach allows us to link the grassroots campaigning to high-level meetings and seminars, bringing the voice of civil society to the UN General Assembly and the ECOSOC committees. We are a unique platform, merging and echoing education concerns from the countries facing the most development challenges to the more developed countries.
Our Theory of change and key focus area
As made clear by numerous human rights treaties signed by almost every State in the world, it is the responsibility of States to respect, protect and fulfil this right. A well-functioning, comprehensive public education system is therefore central to GCE’s vision, and government action to implement it is a necessity. We commit to achieving our mission with objectivity, transparency and accountability and to follow democratic norms and processes in all of our plans and actions.
We believe that the continuing gaps in education are fundamentally a political issue. We believe that if governments and the international community have sufficient political will to focus and invest in education and that if States are being effective, accountable and responsive the barriers to achieving free, quality, public education for all can be lifted.
To achieve these outcomes, citizens plays a crucial role; and citizens’ participation and engagement can be an effective driver of responsive State action in the education sector. The key elements ensuring a strong citizen participation are coordinated, diverse civil society organisations speaking in unison and amplified by a cross-border movement.This link to the national, regional and global is at the heart of the GCE movement. While education policy-making, financing and planning is generally decided at national levels; there is a strong interdependence between national decision-making and global debates and policy framework. Global agreements, in addition, often play a role in driving donor priorities.
Our 2015-2019 vision is to influence governments to take the actions necessary to guarantee equitable quality education for all, on a lifelong basis, through effective and accountable provision of public education.
We have identified six strategic areas in relation to this vision:
- Quality education – The GCE intends to contribute to an increased political and policy focus on quality education, with rights and social justice at its core.
- Equity, non-discrimination and inclusion in education and through education – The movement works to expose and draw policy attention to inequity, discrimination and exclusion in education, in terms of access and in terms of quality.
- Strong, public systems, leadership and governance in the education sector – We advocate for the state to effectively and responsively take up its role as the primary duty-bearer in education, highlighting the negative impacts of privatisation.
- Financing for public education – We continue to call for increased domestic financing for education to at least 20% of budget and 6% of GDP, and to expand the domestic revenue base through tax justice.
- Transparency, accountability and the role of civil society in the education sector – The GCE works to demand greater transparency and accessible sharing of information by governments, including budget and spending data; while expanding the space for civil society participation at every level.
- Education in contexts of conflict or disaster – The movement seeks to draw attention to the need to invest in education in emergencies, and to support the voices of citizens in conflict or disaster situation
GCE as a whole is a broad-based movement, encompassing a huge variety of civil society organisations active in the education sector at national, regional and international levels. We recognise our own diversity and acknowledge the different ways in which each members can contribute to our work, in pursuit of our shared aims. We foster collaboration, networking and shared learning to strengthen our impact at national and regional levels, and to influence international frameworks and debates.
The movement’s governance and structure is set out in its constitution:
- The World Assembly is the supreme governing authority of the GCE, all its members voting on an equal basis.
- The World Assembly elects a board to provide oversight and strategic direction.
- The GCE Secretariat is accountable to the Board and is responsible for implementing the strategic vision and facilitating the work of the movement.
You can download the full GCE current strategic plan here (in English), the resolutions from the 2015 World Assembly here (in English) and
GCE Constitution below.