Many teachers in low- and middle-income countries lack the skills to teach effectively, and professional development (PD) programs are the principal tool that governments use to upgrade those skills. At the same time, few PD programs are evaluated, and those that are evaluated show highly varying results. In this paper, we propose a set of indicators to standardize reporting on teacher PD programs.
Marginal, Not Transformational: Development Finance Institutions and the Sustainable Development Goals
Development finance institutions have positioned themselves as key agencies to help the world meet the Sustainable Development Goals. It is doubtful that they can deliver. This paper outlines the challenges facing DFIs in achieving (anywhere near) such an expansion in their impact, particularly in infrastructure and particularly in the poorest countries.
Global health interventions, like many public policies, are rife with uncertainty. Will a program, such as a malaria prevention strategy that looks strong on paper, work as intended? Will a new technology, such as a specific drug or device that appears effective in clinical trial settings, work in practice and provide good value-for-money?
There are several efforts underway in the Pacific Islands to insure public and private assets against natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes. These efforts are designed to mitigate the annual costs of such disasters which range from a few percent to over 50 percent of GDP. However, insurance is not a substitute for aid. Most islands are heavily aid dependent and cannot afford to pay the high premiums associated with disaster risk insurance.
To produce real systemic change, the aid system must move beyond technical and rhetorical approaches to accountability and begin reshaping the power and incentive structures that influence aid decision-making.
India has emerged as a leader in building on its biometric digital ID to reform service and program delivery. It moved quickly to consolidate the rollout of Aadhaar, and then to embed the unique Aadhaar number into program databases. A range of applications, including digital signature and payments, was then constructed on top of the Aadhaar foundation (the India Stack). Together with partners, the Center for Global Development is analyzing the effects of Aadhaar-based reforms. The three programs we discuss below highlight achievements as well as challenges that need to be overcome for greater efficiency and inclusion.
Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa have not implemented testing of children’s learning that can be benchmarked regionally or globally, in contrast to almost all countries in Latin America. Our analysis of the political economy of cross-national learning measurement in Latin America suggests that policymakers perceive the risks of exposing their education system’s performance by joining cross-national assessments, but they also value the quality of the data generated, the strengthening of domestic technical capacity, and the political benefits in using comparative results to argue for reforms or to advertise progress.
The arrival of a new leadership team in Brussels provides an opportunity for Europe to reinvigorate its role as a global development power and to build a true partnership with its continental neighbour, Africa. These tasks have never been more urgent.