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April 2017

In Africa, changing norms and advocating for investments in the early years

Noreyana Fernando's picture
A conversation with Dr. Ibrahima Giroux, Senegal’s Early Years Fellow
 
Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank
The demand for expertise in the area of early childhood development is increasing in Africa. But this demand is not being met. (Photo: Dominic Chavez/World Bank)


The first few years of a child’s life have proven to be an ideal window of opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Yet across the world, nearly half of all three to six-year-olds do not have access to pre-primary education.

Investing in parents for a more productive and inclusive Brazil

Rita Almeida's picture
Also available in: Portuguese, International
Brazil's state of Ceará has just introduced a new parenting designed to stimulate a stronger early childhood development.
Brazil's state of Ceará has just introduced a new parenting program designed to stimulate stronger early childhood development. (Photo: Julio Pantoja / World Bank)

Quality and innovative education policies emerge usually from a combination of factors such as good teachers, quality school management, and parental engagement, among others. In Brazil, a country with tremendous diversity and regional inequalities, good examples have emerged even when they are least expected. Ceará, a state in the northeast region of Brazil — where more than 500,000 children are living in rural areas and where poverty rates are high — is showing encouraging signs of success from innovative initiatives in education. The figures speak for themselves. Today, more than 70 of the 100 best schools in Brazil are in Ceará. 

Are all early childhood education experiences equally cost-effective?

Amer Hasan's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia
The wide range of opportunities for early childhood education means children can often have very different education experiences on their way to primary school. 



International evidence shows that investing in high-quality early childhood programs can have large economic returns, especially for children from socially disadvantaged groups. In response, developing countries are looking to increase public investments in the early years, especially in early education programs. As they do so, one of the challenges policymakers face is deciding what to fund. After all, there are a wide range of opportunities for early childhood education that already exist in local settings such as playgroups and kindergartens. As a result, different children can often have very different early childhood education experiences on their way to primary school.

Age bias in testing is real, and we must do something about it

Pablo Peña's picture
 Maria Fleischmann / World Bank
When test scores are used to make important decisions, age-related differences scores may have life-changing consequences. (Photo: Maria Fleischmann / World Bank)


The inefficiency and inequity caused by age differences in testing is not news. On the contrary, it is a well-documented fact. The proposed solution to this problem is to age-adjust test scores. But the truth is, we are nowhere near to implementing such a solution.