20 years for quality, free, inclusive and publicly provided education for all

The Global Campaign for Education celebrates 20 years of unifying civil society around advocating for the right to free, quality, inclusive public education for all.

#GCE20thAnniversary #Together4Education

Attention: All Media Houses

For immediate Release

For more information and interviews may you contact: philani[@]campaignforeducation.org

GCE 20th Anniversary Launch

03 December 2019, Hotel Mehari, Tunis, Tunisia


On the occasion of its 20th Anniversary the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) invites media representatives, national and regional members, international civil society organisations, teachers’ organisations, parents’ associations, youth and student groups, academia, research institutions and education rights campaigners to join in amplifying successes and gains achieved in the education movement. This celebration also presents an opportunity to reflect on challenges and deepen collective action moving forward.

“I recall the beautiful afternoon when I was having lunch with the Secretary General of Educational International Fred van Leeuwen and the Director of Oxfam Netherlands (NOVIB) Sylvia Boren. We asked ourselves: while the world is assembled in Dakar to talk about education, why can’t we build a strong movement that champions the right to education? That conversation resulted in the formation of the Global Campaign for Education.” – Kailash Satyarthi, First GCE President and Nobel Peace Laureate 2014.

The 1999 Dakar World Education Forum was a watershed moment. The Forum signalled the formation of a new and well-coordinated global movement advocating for the right to free, inclusive public education for all. A movement premised on the founding principle that strong political will can make education for all a reality, that has since transformed into a world base for organisations, individuals and movements working in the field of education.

At the end of 1999, Oxfam International, Education International (EI), Action Aid International and the Global March Against Child Labour incubated the idea of GCE and supported the initial stage of its formation. It is through sterling efforts of these organisations that the launch of GCE 20 years ago brought to civil society advocacy in education a unique mobilising platform to ensure the delivery on national and international education goals as well as holding governments accountable for their commitments.

Over the years, GCE has played an instrumental role in setting the agenda for effective transnational advocacy and unequivocally took a lead on campaigns initiatives emphasising on education for all. Leveraging on the strength of its members, utilising common and innovative strategies, repertoires for action and mobilising across sectors and around overlapping education issues, GCE has managed to impact governments’ and international institutions’ policies in many ways. This culminated in 2015 when civil society representatives from the GCE movement have significantly influenced the Sustainable Development Goal 4, its 10 targets and the Education 2030 Framework for action. SDG 4 ‘s targets are the common agreed on standard on which to benchmark education successes globally.

“When GCE was formed, the campaign for education as a right for all escalated. Civil society cohesion improved, processes of coordinating funding and support were developed and conversations around developing evaluation and learning mechanisms at all levels began to take shape. We are proud to say that today there is one strong voice for the global education movement” – Refat Sabbah, GCE President.

The GCE’s ability to influence policy has been achieved through aggregating and expressing the demands and needs of international organisations, national education coalitions and regional movements and holding governments thereof accountable at all levels.

Through the work of GCE and its members around the world the following success can be highlighted:

  • The first GCE World Assembly in 2001 encouraged the expansion of national coalitions as well as regional networks. Today the GCE has over 119 members, 90 of these are national education coalitions, 16 are International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) while 13 are regional networks and youth-led organisations.
  • GCE’s Campaigning through civil society organisations (CSOs) on holding governments accountable for the role in education contributed to and influenced the formation of Global Partnerships for Education.
  • Through a long-term partnership with the Global Partnerships for Education (GPE), the main funder of the Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF), national and global education policies and strategies have tremendously improved. Connections with Africa Network Campaign for Education for All (ANCEFA), Asia- South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE), Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE) and Arab campaign for education for All (ACEA) through CSEF continue to enrich and nourish the GCE movement.
  • The first Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) was held in 2003. Since then, GAWE has become a galvanising time for movements working on education. The 2019 theme was focused on SDG4 around “My Education, My Right(s): Making the right to an inclusive, equitable, quality, free public education a reality.”
  • The 1GOAL Campaign of 2009 mobilised over 18 million signatures and increased funds towards education. A clarion call was made on world leaders and over 200 stars participated including Matt Damon, Shakira, Jessica Alba, John Legend and HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah, and world citizens around the world pledged funds.
  • After intensive campaigning from GCE members at the national level, the 2018 Global Partnership for Education’s replenishment conference in Dakar saw the end of the continued decrease in investment in education, and raised hope to achieve SDG4 targets if all pledges were realised.

“Over hundreds of our members along intergovernmental organisations like UNESCO have supported and participated in key GCE and education movements activities such the Global Action Week on Education.” Camilla Croso former GCE President and CLADE Coordinator.

Through GCE’s engagement with a myriad of communities, networks and coalitions and the delivery of holistic campaigns and advocacy initiatives, the movement has learnt that networks of nongovernmental organisations can influence the development of a more just, equitable and representative world. GCE’s core values and principles are premised on the fact that education is a right for all. GCE members are promoting solutions that are structural, systematic and sustainable to realise the right to education for all.

While celebrating its 20th anniversary, 20 years of success and challenges, the GCE remains vigilant of continuous tendencies to weaken the States’ provision of free compulsory education. The GCE also remains mobilised around global challenges such as political instability and conflicts, the political repression and shrinking spaces of civil society engagement, the rise of uncivil society, especially the socially conservative forces; and the distortion of the notion of national sovereignty, favouring the wealthier or ruling elite and ignoring the citizens’ needs.

GCE has achieved in education what other sectors are struggling to do: unifying diverse and sometimes opposing voices around the sole objective of making the right to education a reality for all.

“We are a strong global movement whose success can be attributed to the important role played by our national members, regional networks, international organisations and funders. The integration of youth voices at the highest level in our governance structure will further ensure we stay at the forefront of the fight to realise the right to free, inclusive, quality public education for all. ” – Grant Kasowanjete GCE Global Coordinator.

The 20th Anniversary Launch

The 20th Anniversary Launch will take place in Tunis on the 3rd of December at Hotel Mehari along the Collective Consultation of NGOs (CCNGO) Global Meeting for taking stock on activities undertaken, key challenges met, progress achieved and opportunities for transformation in advancing Sustainable Development Goal Four (SDG4).

About the Global Campaign for Education

GCE is a leading civil society movement that promotes and defends education as a fundamental human right. GCE has over 119 members, 90 of these are national education coalitions, 16 International NGOs and 13 regional networks and youth-led organisation. GCE advocates for education as a basic right. GCE defines education as the foundation for all forms of development and as a catalyst for growth. As a transnational organisation GCE believes that education is the key to ensuring sustainable and equitable economic growth, improved health and social development



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