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From the article:
BEIJING — China has delayed the publication of a report on its economy, written in conjunction with the World Bank, as it tries to tone down recommendations about reforming its state-owned enterprises and allowing more market-led principles to reign.
The report, titled “New Drivers of Growth in China,” has been ready for a year, according to four people involved in drafting the report, but the Chinese authorities have not allowed it to be published.
The delays underscore the Chinese Communist Party’s extreme sensitivity about its economy as growth slows rapidly and, more recently, amid a protracted trade war with the United States.
Many of the core recommendations of the report echo the calls from the United States and other industrialized countries for China to make its trading practices more fair. Beijing’s objections to the report underscore just how difficult it will be for Washington to persuade China to change.
China is one of a handful of developing countries that is borrowing from the World Bank at the same time as making contributions to its funds. But all the other countries in this situation are small.
“China’s size is off the scale,” said Dollar, who is now at the Brookings Institution. “I would think that the World Bank management would treat China very carefully.”
The World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has committed about $2 billion a year to China for the last three years, making it one of the bank’s largest borrowers, according to a report from the Center for Global Development published in January.
But at the same time as China has grown richer, its influence on the bank has also grown — and that has concerned the United States. It now has a seat on the bank’s 25 member board and has started contributing increasingly large amounts to the International Development Association, the part of the World Bank that helps the world's poorest countries.
Beijing contributed almost $600 million in the last round and is expected to contribute more than $1 billion in the next replenishment.
Opposition leader Juan Guaidó says he will begin acting as president as soon as he returns to Venezuela. Guaidó traveled to Colombia, where he met with Vice President Mike Pence. Former USAID official Jeremy Konyndyk joined CBSN to discuss what's next for Guaidó and how President Maduro is responding.
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Researchers Urge a Focus on Raising Learning Targets for All
Holly Shulman firstname.lastname@example.org
Even if the education gap between rich and poor kids in the developing world was completely closed, many students still would not be proficient in basic math and reading, according to a new study from the Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) Programme.
The researchers examined data from households in India, Pakistan, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania and found that while there is a significant achievement gap between poor kids and rich kids, learning levels are so low across-the-board that even the best-off kids are far from mastering basic math and reading by age 12.
“Instead of bringing poor kids up to the still-not-adequate learning levels of rich kids, we need to raise learning standards across the board,” said Maryam Akmal, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the Center for Global Development. “In a system where basically no kids can read or write—no matter what their schooling—a focus on equality isn’t going to change outcomes. Everyone needs to be better across the board. We can't set a target for mediocrity and then put all our effort into making sure everyone meets it—that's selling kids in developing countries short. Real educational equity means making sure that every kid is able to read or do basic math.”
In Pakistan, for instance, the study found that barely two thirds of kids from the richest households—the wealthiest 20%—can read by age 12. And poor kids are even worse off.
“A big focus in the development world has been on closing the gap between poor kids and rich kids, but even the rich kids are far, far behind where they should be. Targeting vulnerable groups is absolutely important, but the primary focus has to be on raising learning levels across the board—or we're going to end up with a whole generation that can't read or do basic math.”
You can read the full study at https://www.cgdev.org/publication/learning-equity-requires-more-equality-learning-goals-and-achievement-gaps
From the article:
LONDON — The World Bank’s head of education has said its new teacher observation tool is not intended to be used to find and fire bad teachers or to undermine teacher professionalism, after concerns were raised by some experts.
“This is not an evaluation tool,” Jaime Saavedra, who heads up the bank’s global education practice and was previously minister of education in Peru, told Devex. “Policymakers need to know what’s happening inside the classroom and the quality of the interaction between the teachers and students … [and] this tool is designed to see better what’s happening there,” he added.
The bank officially launched Teach, an open-source classroom observation tool for use in primary schools in low- and middle-income countries to help improve the quality of teaching, last month. The tool is part of a broader effort to address what the bank has called a global “learning crisis” by focusing on teachers, which it says are the single most important factor in improving learning outcomes.
However, other experts speaking at the official Teach launch event in Washington, D.C., last month disagreed. Eric Hanushek, senior fellow at Stanford University, said “this is a clear evaluation tool at the probationary stage … It provides a basis for counseling new teachers on how they should behave … but then again if they don’t change over the first few years you also have information you should use.”
Barbara Bruns from the Center for Global Development, said that even if not intended as an evaluation tool, there is a danger it could be seen by teachers as such and rejected.
For Saavedra, however, improving meritocracy in teaching is a political issue. “The key point on education reform for many middle- and low-income countries … is to take politics out of the classroom and the education system. We see too many cases where teachers and principals … are appointed on a political basis,” he told Devex.
From the article:
WASHINGTON — U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green will testify at the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday in a hearing that will likely offer a window into the status of the agency’s ongoing reorganization.
Many of the changes Green and his team hope to make require approval from lawmakers. The agency laid out its request in a series of congressional notifications last summer. The notifications, which Devex obtained, provide an in-depth look at the reasons behind Green’s proposed changes, what the agency’s leaders expect will be required to make them happen, and the specific problems each of the proposals are intended to fix.
“Operating as two distinct organizational units to address a common set of humanitarian issues is inherently inefficient as it requires two sets of management and support structures with separate policies, processes, systems, tools and staffs,” the notification reads.
It also creates an unhelpful barrier to delivering complementary forms of assistance, such as food and health interventions, as Jeremy Konyndyk, former head of OFDA, noted on Twitter.
Under the new plan, OFDA and Food for Peace would merge into a consolidated bureau for humanitarian assistance, which would, according to USAID, “enhance the provision of the full-spectrum of humanitarian-assistance activities to include prevention, mitigation, and disaster risk-reduction, to enable communities to recover from, and respond to, emergencies on their own, and over time reduce the need for expensive humanitarian assistance, particularly in areas of recurrent crises.”
The idea of the merger is not new. Under the previous administration, USAID commissioned a study from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company to explore the idea and found that it could lead to reduced duplication and cost savings.
Konyndyk, who led OFDA during the Obama administration, applauded Congress’ approval of the plan, noting that the competing structures made previous efforts at coordination difficult.
“Historically this distinction led to weaker programming. During my time at AID, we tried to do integrated food/non-food grants during the Ethiopia drought of 2016, and found ourselves tied up in months of red tape due to different systems and grant requirements,” he wrote on Twitter.
Center for Global Development President, Masood Ahmed, delivered a public lecture at The University of Queensland, hosted by the Institute for Social Science Research, together with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Social Science, and the Sustainable Minerals Institute.
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From the article:
LONDON — Despite raising eyebrows last month for refusing to give a firm answer about the future of the U.K. Department for International Development, secretary of state Penny Mordaunt has again claimed that DFID is not an “independent” department in a letter obtained by Devex on Monday.
In a letter to Preet Gill — the Labour Party’s shadow minister for international development, who was seeking clarification of Mordaunt’s earlier remarks — the U.K. aid chief wrote that her department “could not … be described as ‘independent,’” and that she hoped to “move the debate about DFID on from being one about where our desks are situated to being focused on delivering the global goals.”
Ian Mitchell, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development think tank, told Devex by email that he would “welcome DFID working more closely with other government departments — using all our policy levers ... on investment, environment, health, and migration to accelerate progress towards the global goals ... But ... it’s unusual for a Cabinet Minister to assert their department’s lack of independence — [the] Treasury and Cabinet Office work across Whitehall, and may have loaned staff [to other departments] to assist on Brexit — but you wouldn’t hear their ministers say those departments aren’t independent. That leaves the impression this is about signalling future direction.”
From the article:
Last Wednesday 20 February, a committee advising the Congolese Ministry of Health made the decision to provide the Ebola vaccine to pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as babies under one year old, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In a policy U-turn, the decision was also backed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) based on the advice of an independent advisory body ― the strategic advisory group of experts on immunization (SAGE).
Current WHO estimates place the number of Ebola cases in the DRC at 853 and there have been 521 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2018. The outbreak is worsened by ongoing armed conflict in the North Kivu Province.
Advocates for vaccinating pregnant women against Ebola have long argued that under the given circumstances, the potential benefits far outweigh the potential harm. Moreover, unless the vaccine is actually given to pregnant women, there will be no data to determine whether it is safe or not. This knowledge would also be beneficial in future outbreaks, according to a statement given by Carleigh Krubiner, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development.
Krubiner also added in her statement, “The DRC’s decision to extend Ebola vaccine coverage to pregnant women is a huge step forward, not only for pregnant women in areas affected by outbreaks but for all pregnant women who may face the threat of Ebola in the future.” The recent decision has been praised by many others as well, including Doctors Without Borders.
Vaccinated pregnant women in the DRC will be closely monitored until after they have given birth to determine whether the vaccine has any adverse effects. The panel of experts has also recommended including pregnant and breastfeeding women in trials of three other new experimental Ebola vaccines on at-risk populations in neighbouring areas.