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SABER: Innovative Assessment Tool Helps Countries Use Evidence to Guide Global Education Reform

Robin Horn's picture

Effective education reform? Evidence-based policy making can light the way.At the launch of the World Bank's new Education Strategy for 2020 during the "What Works in Education” Policy Research Colloquium this spring, World Bank President Robert Zoellick urged the international development community to focus on interventions that produce learning results and emphasized the vital role that evidence must play in propelling smart investments in education. The strategy also emphasizes the Bank's role in helping countries move beyond the provision of inputs to a system-level approach for improving the quality, performance, and outcomes of education programs.

To improve learning for all, we are rolling out an innovative assessment tool to help our partners use knowledge more effectively to drive education reform.

The System Assessment and Benchmarking for Education Results (SABER) initiative is being designed to help countries systematically examine and better understand their education system's policies.  SABER's policy diagnostics are being built upon a solid evidence base and draws from research on the education policies of well performing or rapidly improving education systems. By leveraging global knowledge, SABER fills a gap in the availability of policy data and evidence on what policies matter most to improve the quality of education and achievement of better results.

Who's Talking About Learning for All? A Round Up

Christine Horansky's picture

In the months since we released our new Education Strategy 2020, we have been happy to see many of our development partners and counterparts talking about "learning for all," our new mantra that promotes global efforts to ensure all children, everywhere, are in school and learning. (See "Let's Make it Learning for All," for more from our Education Director Elizabeth King.) Here's a round up from our partners. Check out their great blogs below...

Making an Impact in Education, USAID Impact Blog, by David Barth 

The New Education Strategy at the World Bank, Time for a Millennium Learning Goal? Center for Global Development, by Nancy Birsdall

From Education for All to Learning for All, PREAL Inter-American Dialogue

An underappreciated benefit of experiments: convincing politicians when their pet projects don’t work

David McKenzie's picture

New York City has suspended payments in a pay-for-performance program for teachers after an experiment found the program had not worked. From the New York Post:

Another attempt by the city to improve student performance through cash payments has failed, much to the surprise of Mayor Bloomberg.

New Reasons Why School-Based Deworming is Smart Development Policy

Donald Bundy's picture

In the complex world of education policy, some experts comment that school-based deworming may be the closest we have come to finding a "magic bullet." In regions of the world with high worm burdens, such as Africa and South Asia, deworming children for mere pennies a year results in an incredible range of educational and social benefits, from higher school attendance rates to healthier children who are better able to learn in the classroom.

Globally, more than 1 in 4 people are infected by intestinal worms. In Sub-Saharan Africa high infection rates prevail, particularly among school children. Worms can cause anemia, stunting, lethargy and other problems that derail children's development. The positive impact of deworming on both health and educational outcomes is routinely cited as an example of aid effectiveness, including by Nicholas Kristof in the recent column “Getting Smart on Aid,” in the New York Times. Schools are also the best delivery mechanism for reaching children with safe, mass treatments.

While deworming has proven to be one of the most cost-effective interventions to get children into school, promising new research suggests that deworming children can also result in many long-term benefits, including higher wages, healthier individuals and stronger communities. The World Bank hosted a special panel on Rethinking Deworming this month, featuring guest speaker Michael Kremer, co-Founder of Deworm the World and Gates Professor of Economics at Harvard, who presented the new research findings of a study in Kenya.

Is Online Video-Sharing a Double-edged Sword?

Sabina Panth's picture

As much advantage as there is to the world of the internet, there are disadvantages too, the main inconvenience being securing privacy.  This has become a particular issue of concern when visual images against political reprisal are exposed.  Granted, this very exposure can draw world-wide attention and support for a cause or struggle, but often it leaves advocates involved in demonstrations vulnerable to political targeting and exploitation. 

Remembering Brazilian Education Minister Paulo Renato Souza

Barbara Bruns's picture

In an age of cynicism about politics, it is bittersweet this week to reflect on the life and legacy of Brazil’s former minister of education, Paulo Renato Souza.  Paulo Renato died on June 25 of a massive stroke, at the far too young age of 65.  It is a shock that all of us who knew and loved him will need a long time to overcome. 

His imprint on Brazilian education cannot be exaggerated.   As someone said this week:  “The history of education in Brazil has two parts: before Paulo Renato and after Paulo Renato.”   For those of us who knew Brazil before,  Paulo Renato’s eight year tenure as Minister of Education under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso from 1994-2002 was an eye-opening introduction into the potential  for a single individual at the right moment in history to create political room for maneuver where previously there was none.   Topics that had been “on the table” only in World Bank reports – such as the deep inequalities in education finance in Brazil, or the complete lack of student learning assessment – suddenly  were tackled with sweeping, full-frontal reforms.   

What happens when all textbooks are (only) digital? Ask the Koreans!

Michael Trucano's picture

banned in Busan?A few years ago, a World Bank study highlighted the fact that there simply aren't enough textbooks for most students in Africa, and what is available is too expensive.  In response to this reality, some people at the World Bank have been exploring various options for addressing the 'textbook gap', including initiatives investigating the potential cost-effectiveness of 'e-books' for African students.

At the other end of the spectrum from the situation that exists in schools in many low- and middle-income countries in Africa, students in one East Asian nation may soon not have access to textbooks either -- at least the old fashioned, printed kind.

How Do You Connect University Students with Street Children in Dhaka?

Kaori Oshima's picture

“Jante Chai,” which means ‘want to know’ in Bengali – is a project that connects university students with underprivileged street children with the goal of mutually enriching their lives. My colleague Afra and I came up for the idea for the project when the South Asia Region of the World Bank provided an opportunity for young people to design and implement our own project known as the Emerging TTL Fund.

We not only wanted to conduct a survey on the lives of 200 street children, find about their living standards and access to services, we also wanted to connect them with university students, who are comparatively privileged. This provides an opportunity for the students to engage in practical experience and learn about their communities and for the street children to learn about potential services that are available to them. Our core idea was to include local youth in the development process in their communities which is critical to sustainable and inclusive development.

Evolution of a World-Class University: Balancing Local Growth and Global Appeal

Jamil Salmi's picture

How can countries establish world-class universities while avoiding common pitfalls? In my previous posting on how to sustain and grow a top-tier university I focused on the importance of staying true to a core mission, evolving with the times, and selecting visionary leaders.

In today’s blog, I outline a couple more common errors institutions are likely to make as they evolve towards expanding their programs within a local context while also attempting to attract a global student body.

Avoiding these mistakes can help universities successfully evolve in new ways.


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