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Finland’s Education System: The Journey to Success

Jaime Saavedra's picture



When Finnish students scored amongst the top in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA, a very influential international assessment administered by the OECD) in 2001, many people in the field of education were intrigued. How could this small nation, which had not been characterized by surprisingly high results in the past, be on the top? Finns themselves were surprised. When students continued scoring above expectations year after year, educators and leaders all over the world began studying the country as an example of how to build effective education systems. Not only do students consistently attain high performance, but the achievement gaps between pupils and regions are amongst the narrowest in the world. Equity with quality.

La carrera docente: ¿Qué está haciendo bien la República Dominicana?

Jaime Saavedra's picture
Also available in: English | Français



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Algo que distingue a los países con mejores resultados educativos es el valor que la sociedad le da a la profesión docente. El valor de la profesión docente se refleja en la relación entre el estado, la sociedad y el maestro, el apoyo que se le da a los profesores -incluyendo salarios razonables, la confianza que se tiene en ellos, y el reconocimiento de parte de la sociedad, de los padres y de los mismos docentes de la gran responsabilidad que tienen.

The Teaching Profession: What is the Dominican Republic Doing Right?

Jaime Saavedra's picture
Also available in: Español | Français
Children in the Dominican Republic

Also available in Spanish | French

Countries with the best education outcomes are those in which society places high value on the teaching profession. That value is reflected in the relationship between the state, society, and the teacher; in the support given to teachers (including reasonable salaries), in the trust placed in them; and in the recognition bestowed upon them by society, parents, and the community as well as the value they place on the tremendous responsibility that they bear.

Reducing data collection bias in education research

Kabira Namit's picture
Training for data collectors in Kambia, Sierra Leone. (Photo: Kabira Namit / World Bank)


Collecting data in education can be a tricky business. After spending considerable resources to design a representative study, enlist and train data collectors, and organize the logistics of data collection, we want to ensure that we capture as true a picture of the situation on the ground as possible. This can be particularly challenging when we attempt to measure complex concepts, such as child development, learning outcomes, or the quality of an educational environment.
 
Data can be biased by many factors. For example, the very act of observation by itself can influence behavior. How can we expect a teacher to behave “normally” when outsiders sit in her or his classroom taking detailed notes about everything they do? Social desirability bias, where subjects seek to represent themselves in the most positive light, is another common challenge. Asking a teacher, “Do you hit children in your classroom?” may elicit an intense denial, even if the teacher still has a cane in one hand and the ear of a misbehaving child in another.

Reconciling quality and scale—Online education’s big challenge

Juliana Guaqueta Ospina's picture
Higher education students in Bogota, Colombia.

Guest blog by: Juliana Guaqueta Ospina, an Education Specialist at the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group.

Watching my two-year-old daughter progress from baby words to full sentences, I am already wondering who she will want to be as an adult and what kind of higher education she will need. From my role at IFC, part of the World Bank Group, I see a fast-changing education landscape. Online learning, a $165 billion industry that is growing by 5 percent a year, as reported at IFC’s Global Private Education conference in Cape Town in April, has the potential to be a big disruptor and gamechanger.

When the moment comes, will she choose a traditional, campus-based university, one with a ‘stage on the stage’ imparting words of wisdom to an array of students in a large lecture hall? Or will this model have been made obsolete by the Digital Revolution? Based on trends I observe, I am willing to wager that the campus-based university will still be around. Teachers are too important to go without. However, course curricula are rapidly integrating more online learning elements.

Making work-based learning work

Margo Hoftijzer's picture
Work-based learning has several benefits.

Guest blog by: Margo Hoftijzer, formerly a Senior Economist in the Education Global Practice of the World Bank. ​

Work-based learning is a hot topic when discussing the transition of young graduates from school to work. Whether we talk about apprenticeships, dual vocational education and training, or work placements, it is recognized worldwide that there are strong benefits when students gain real workplace experience before they join the workforce.

The many benefits of work-based learning

When implemented effectively, students don’t only gain relevant practical skills, but they also strengthen essential socio-emotional skills, such as the ability to work in teams, problem solving, and time management. Firms benefit as well. They can tailor the programs to ensure that students acquire those skills that are most relevant for their enterprises, and they get to know their trainees well so that they can select the best for recruitment later. Moreover, during the period of work-based learning itself, firms benefit from the trainees’ contributions to the work processes of the enterprise, usually at low costs.   

Socio-Emotional Skills Wanted! – New Big Data Evidence from India

Saori Imaizumi's picture


We all hear about the importance of “socio-emotional skills” when looking for a job. Employers are said to be looking for individuals who are hardworking, meet deadlines, are reliable, creative, collaborative … the list goes on depending on the occupation. In recent years, it seems, these skills have become equally important as technical skills. But do employers really care about these soft skills when hiring? If so, what type of personality do they favor?

The Secret Behind Storybook Policy

Alisha Niehaus Berger's picture


Guest blog by: Alisha Niehaus Berger, Global Children's Book Publisher at the literacy and girls' education nonprofit Room to Read

As the lead of Room to Read’s global publishing program for the past four years, I’ve been lucky to be involved in many exciting collaborations. As a literacy and girls’ education non-profit, Room to Read works in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments in nine countries across Asia and Africa and consults in many more. The opportunities to engage in meaningful work are myriad. Yet, a recent consultative workshop for Room to Read’s REACH project in South Africa, funded by the World Bank, stands out for me. Why? The public-private partnership at its heart.

Four Education Trends that Countries Everywhere Should Know About

Harry A. Patrinos's picture

Recently, we reached out to education experts around the world to hear what they considered the most pressing issues facing our sector today. Surprisingly, they all said that little has changed in terms of our most common challenges. What was changing, they agreed, were the innovative ways that the global community has begun tackling them.

Cette femme qui cherche des réponses aux problèmes de l’Afrique dans les sciences et les technologies

Ekua Nuama Bentil's picture
Sylvia utilise un séquenceur MinION nanopore, une technologie de séquençage de nouvelle
génération, dans le laboratoire de virologie de l'Université d'Agriculture de Sokoine.

Also available in Francais | English

L’avenir de l’Afrique dépendra de deux dynamiques. Premièrement, de la capacité des pays de cette région à se préparer à la croissance démographique la plus rapide du monde et, deuxièmement, de leur capacité à créer des débouchés pour les jeunes. Selon les estimations, l’Afrique abritera près de 1,7 milliard de personnes d’ici 2030, et plus de la moitié de cette population aura moins de 15 ans. Même si le défi est gigantesque, il représente une opportunité immense pour la région.

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