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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.
In this article, we draw on our pilot testing of phone-based assessments in Botswana, along with the existing literature on oral testing of reading and mathematics, to propose a series of preliminary practical lessons to guide researchers and service providers as they try phone-based learning assessments. We provide preliminary evidence that phone-based assessments can accurately capture basic numeracy skills.
69% surveyed said girls in developing countries at greater risk than boys
Center for Global Development
WASHINGTON - School closures in response to COVID-19 are putting girls in developing countries at a substantial risk of gender-based violence, early pregnancy, and dropping out once schools reopen, according to a new survey from the Center for Global Development (CGD).
The survey includes responses from 98 staff at 82 different NGOs and other organizations that provide education services in at least 32 countries. About half the organizations were based on the African continent, with the rest concentrated across Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere. The organizations include school operators, other education providers, and groups that focus on children’s rights, childcare, gender equality, health, and more.
69% of respondents at education organizations said that school closures will disproportionately affect girls. Furthermore,
78% of respondents cited increased exposure to gender-based violence during school closures as an important or very important concern.
69% ranked girls not returning to school once they reopen as an important or very important concern.
68% ranked early marriage and pregnancy among school-age girls during the pandemic as an important or very important concern.
Of those respondents who believed girls would be disproportionately affected, 52% cited increased care responsibilities at home during the pandemic as a barrier to girls' studies, widening the gender education gap.
“COVID-19 obviously presents immediate health needs that countries and donors need to deal with. But it’s also critically important to not lose sight of the gendered risks it creates. The evidence is clear that, from violence to care work, girls are disproportionately affected by school closures. Governments need to support the efforts of frontline organizations working to address these risks,” said Maryam Akmal, senior policy analyst at CGD and an author of the report.
As COVID school closures have increased risks for children, it’s also curtailed the ability of some education organizations to respond. Nearly half (42%) of education service providers say their budgets have been slashed, with most of those (73%) reporting cuts by private donors and philanthropies as donors shifts their focus. 33% of respondents said their organizations anticipate layoffs of frontline staff. Despite the financial and operational disruptions, 89% of respondents report planning and delivering additional interventions during the pandemic.
“Education organizations are on the front lines helping deal with the risks introduced by the pandemic, risks which disproportionately affect girls. But just as the pandemic is heightening the risks for girls, budget cuts are hurting the organizations that could help mitigate them. There are pressing needs across the board, but international donors and governments need to step up and ensure that girls don’t get left behind,” said Megan O’Donnell, assistant director for gender at CGD and an author of the report.
The report of the study is available here, along with the survey data: https://www.cgdev.org/publication/gendered-impacts-covid-19-school-closures-insights-frontline-organizations.
The Sustainable Development Goals are an ambitious set of targets for global development progress by 2030 that were agreed by the United Nations in 2015. A review of the literature on meeting "zero targets" suggests very high costs compared to available resources, but also that in many cases there remains a considerable gap between financing known technical solutions and achieving the outcomes called for in the SDGs. In some cases, we (even) lack the technical solutions required to achieve the zero targets, suggesting the need for research and development of new approaches.