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CGD’s work in education focuses on the role education can play in building more equal and prosperous societies.
CGD’s education program focuses on broad welfare goals and seeks to understand the role education can play in addressing inequity. Despite the tremendous progress that has been made in getting girls and boys into school, education has not yet fulfilled its promise of being the great societal equalizer. Gender inequality remains acute and deeply rooted in the economic, political and social spheres in developing countries. Intergenerational mobility is declining, not increasing. Poor children get educated in bad schools where they do not acquire basic numeracy and literacy skills while rich children attend good schools.
Our research examines the mechanisms through which education can give children equal life opportunities and build the human capital that nations need to prosper.
Education is an end in itself, a human right, and a vital part of the capacity of individuals to lead lives they value. It gives people in developing countries the skills they need to improve their own lives and to help transform their societies. Women and men with better education earn more throughout their lives and participate more fully in the civic and political lives of their communities and countries. Particularly for women, education confers the skills and behaviors that lead to healthier lives. Education that reaches women, the poor, and marginalized ethnic groups not only benefits them directly; it contributes to a more equitable and just society.
This work quantifies how long it has taken countries rich and poor to make the transition towards high enrollments and gender parity. It finds that many countries that have not raised enrollments fast enough to meet the Millennium Development Goals have in fact raised enrollments extraordinarily rapidly by historical standards and deserve celebration rather than condemnation. The very few poor countries that have raised enrollment figures at the rates envisioned by the goals have done so in many cases by accepting dramatic declines in schooling quality, failing large numbers of students, or other practices that cast doubt on the sustainability or exportability of their techniques.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are unlikely to be met by 2015, even if huge increases in development assistance materialize. The rates of progress required by many of the goals are at the edges of or beyond historical precedent. Many countries making extraordinarily rapid progress on MDG indicators, due in large part to aid, will nonetheless not reach the MDGs. Unrealistic targets thus may turn successes into perceptions of failure, serving to undermine future constituencies for aid (in donors) and reform (in recipients). This would be unfortunate given the vital role of aid and reform in the development process and the need for long-term, sustained aid commitments.
This paper is part of the Copenhagen Consensus process, which aims to assess and evaluate the opportunities available to address the ten largest challenges facing the world. One of these ten challenges is the “lack of education.” This paper provides an analytical framework to evaluate the various options that can be used to address this issue.
Jishnu Das will discuss new research on equal opportunity and test scores. Children born to families with lower socio-economic status have fewer years of schooling. In the U.S., such low levels of intergenerational mobility in education are directly tied to test scores: children from low SES households have lower test scores, which negatively impacts their likelihood of going to college. In fact, there is no direct effect of SES on college attendance once test scores are controlled for.
Punjab’s fast-paced and ambitious education reforms have generated debate and interest globally. Last year the Economist described Punjab as “home to the most frenetic reforms in the world, trying to make up for generations of neglect.”
The first target under Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Education) is for all children to be completing lower secondary school with minimum proficiency by 2030. At present just 4 in 10 children in low-income countries are even completing lower secondary, never mind with relevant learning outcomes. What role can public sector financing of non-state school provision play to provide greater quality access to education?
In 2016, the Liberian government delegated management of 93 randomly-selected public schools to private providers. The program has become an important case study in the design and management of public-private partnerships in the developing world, and a lightning rod for controversy.
A global institutional system for education should provide leadership, finance, accountability, and knowledge dissemination among other functions but “on most of these counts, the current international architecture for education is broken.”
The Education Outcomes Fund aims to pool $1 billion to support governments to pay for results in education and youth employment over the next decade. Jared Lee will talk about the case for results-based finance and the role that impact bonds can play in the education sector.
Echidna Giving believes that when girls learn they can transform their lives, families, towns, cities and nations, to achieve deep, wide and long-lasting change. Dana Schmidt will discuss the evidence behind their strategy; the approaches they plan to take; and some new evidence coming out of their grant-making.