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David Evans is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, working on education, health, and social safety nets. Previously he was at the World Bank, where he co-authored the World Development Report 2018, Learning to Realize Education’s Promise, coordinated impact evaluation work for sub-Saharan Africa, and managed education projects in Brazil. Evans has evaluated education, early child development, agriculture, health, and social safety net programs in Brazil, the Gambia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. He received a PhD in Economics from Harvard University, specializing in economic development and labor economics.
Limited resources mean that policymakers must make tough choices about which investments to make to improve education. Although hundreds of education interventions have been rigorously evaluated, making comparisons between the results is challenging. This paper proposes using learning-adjusted years of schooling (LAYS)—which combines access and quality and compares gains to an absolute, cross-country standard—as a new metric for reporting gains from education interventions.
Our findings highlight the need to boost the knowledge of health care workers to achieve greater care readiness. Training programs have shown mixed results, so systems may need to adopt a combination of competency-based pre-service and in-service training for health care providers (with evaluation to ensure the effectiveness of the training), and hiring practices that ensure the most prepared workers enter the systems. We conclude that in settings where clinical knowledge is poor, improving drug availability or reducing health workers’ absenteeism would only modestly increase the average care readiness that meets minimum quality standards.
In recent years, a growing literature has measured the impact of education interventions in low- and middle-income countries on both access and learning outcomes. But interpretation of those effect sizes as large or small tends to rely on benchmarks developed by a psychologist in the United States in the 1960s. In this paper, we demonstrate the distribution of standardized effect sizes on learning and access from hundreds of studies from low- and middle-income countries.
Countries across Africa continue to face major challenges in education. In this review, we examine 142 recent empirical studies (from 2014 onward) on how to increase access to and improve the quality of education across the continent, specifically examining how these studies update previous research findings.
Pay levels for public sector workers—and especially teachers—are a constant source of controversy. In many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, protests and strikes suggest that pay is low while simple comparisons to average national income per capita suggest that it is high.