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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.


The WDR 2018: Learning for All, All for Learning

The release of the World Bank’s World Development Report (WDR) is a milestone in the struggle to prepare the youth of today for the challenges of the world they will face. The report focuses on both the need to “get education right” and how to reform education systems to meet the challenge of preparing today’s youth to be tomorrow’s citizens, parents, community members, workers, and leaders. As we outline below, the WDR and our RISE programme share many core themes.

The "Arbiter of Value" and the Industrial Organization of Basic Education

The "arbiter of value" is a key concept in Mark Moore’s RISE working paper: "Creating Efficient, Effective and Just Educational Systems through Multi-Sector Strategies of Reform." This concept, which he brings to the education sector after decades of experience in a variety of public sector organizations (his 1994 book Creating Public Value is a classic in the field), helps understand the industrial organization of basic schooling and why schooling is mostly publicly managed around the world—and even why a failed political coup affects who can teach school in Turkey. 

What If 'Grade' Means Nothing? (Part I)

The next few posts on education are a bit unusual, in a good way I hope, but unusual entrants into the blogosphere.  As part of the CGD initiative on education in the developing world and the pivot from schooling to learning, we are going to post links to and discussions of some of the new empirical evidence that is emerging.  However,  the new evidence on learning trajectories--the gains in skills/capabilities/knowledge as students progress through grades--both requires some common background and, to my view, challenges some of the fundamental assumptions about the schooling

A Learning Profile for Bangladesh: Too Darn Flat

Many learning assessments only evaluate children of a given age (e.g. PISA for age 15) or grade.  This approach gives a snapshot that can be compared across countries and produces differentials in learning across 15 year olds (e.g.

A Malala Day for Learning

Malala Yousafzai’s story of overcoming the Taliban’s attempt to silence her is inspirational.  Her speech at the UN Malala Day celebration, which I had the pleasure to attend, was impressive in every respect, including her commitment to her faith and the kindness she could show to her attackers.  It moved the crowd to tears, and to its feet.  When I compare what I was doing on my 16th birthday to what she is doing, well, it is pretty humbling.

Take Learning Out of the Schoolroom?

The gap between schooling and learning is under the spotlight of late –and a new book by CGD’s own Lant Pritchett (draft chapters available here) is sure to increase the wattage.  The story that Lant has to tell is not the happiest –widespread evidence from across the developing world that many kids who sit in classrooms for years often learn almost nothing for their time.

In School Not Learning

This post originally appeared on Owen Abroad.

George Bush famously asked, ‘Is our children learning?’. That’s also the question by Uwezo, a coalition of NGOs working in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Their report published today makes dismal reading about the quality of schools.

First, a word about the report. This is not a study by the World Bank, or a group of donors. It is a study by Uwezo, an East African initiative hosted by three NGO networks: TEN/MET in Tanzania, WERK in Kenya and UNNGOF in Uganda, with overall quality assurance and management support from Twaweza. They conducted their own survey (standardized across the countries) to test the literacy and numeracy of more than 100,000 children, the largest ever survey of its kind in the region. When citizens themselves are telling us about whether their public services work, we should be paying attention.