Changing the way in education programs are funded to drive innovation and improve learning outcomes is finally becoming part of the mainstream conversation, said Education Outcomes Fund (EOF) CEO Dr. Amel Karboul at a recent panel event for the RewirED conference.
The panel, entitled, ‘Innovative Financing for Education: Loans, Bonds & Beyond’ featured senior speakers from the worlds of education and finance including END Fund’s Vice President, Programs Carol Karutu, Crédit Agricole CIB’s CEO Middle East Africa Thierry Simon, UBS Optimus Foundation’s CEO Phyllis Costanza, and Theirworld’s President Justin van Fleet.
Highlighting the experience of EOF in using innovative financing, Dr. Karboul explained that EOF’s focus is to help improve the effectiveness of education funding. She emphasized the importance of investing in “partnerships for public purpose” to bring about real, lasting change. This investment – ensuring that governments, donors, service providers, schools and other stakeholders are aligned around the same goals – is critical to bring about improvements in student learning.
Dr. Karboul contended that RBF programs are triggering a fundamental mindset shift among governments and donors. Exposure to RBF programs has encouraged education funders to identify and focus on the results they wish to achieve, and put these results at the heart of their budgeting processes. Dr. Karboul asserted that while the implementation of RBF approaches in education has been challenging, it is now possible:
“And once you do get that mindset shift… then the question is, can you do it? And there comes the process problem. Governments and most multilateral organizations today cannot buy outcomes … But now, with the work we have done over the past 18 months in partnership with UNICEF – building templates for procurement, contracting, other processes – I can say that we are the first big multilateral that can enable education funders to buy outcomes.”
In her closing remarks, Dr. Karboul noted that engaging closely with financial institutions will be critical to generate the funding required to achieve SDG4. These institutions are increasingly concerned to see social returns alongside financial returns, and they see initiatives like RBF as the future. She underlined that these institutions have the resources and skills required to catalyse the funding we need, and that we have a responsibility to explore how to create a positive impact on our societies, together.
“These conversations are happening today. They didn’t happen four years ago, and that gives me hope.”
Catch up on the full discussion here: https://youtu.be/wnkr8OBIVdA