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Why Engage the Private Education Sector?

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Why Engage the Private Education Sector?

In my view, if we are really interested in Learning For All, it is important to consider the role of the private sector in education.  It is not private provision per se that we at the World Bank are interested in – the World Bank remains the world’s largest source of multilateral funds supporting public education in middle and low income countries around the world  – but rather what we can learn from private education providers who are innovating and adding value.  The World Bank's efforts in this space are organized around ways to explore and better understand private provision of various kinds in a deeper light.

Political Will and Stakeholder Engagement: What Do We Know About the Political Economy of Education Systems?

Harry A. Patrinos's picture


Our schools are central to the mission of building knowledge societies.  Yet, we don’t know enough about how teachers and schools are being influenced by the social forces around them.  Organizing schools, creating systems of accountability, and focusing on results that matter for parents involve actions outside the school system. 

Education reform is often thwarted by forces that affect policy design, finance and implementation.  These political economy issues are often acknowledged, but rarely systematically addressed in research or policy dialogue.

Keeping our eyes on the goal of learning for all

Elizabeth King's picture


The World Cup games being played in Brazil send a hopeful message that teams from Ghana, Nigeria, Ecuador and Honduras can qualify to play against much better funded teams from Europe and North America. Talent, hard work, ambition and years of building a team can make a winner of teams from poorer nations – at least, enough to feed the dreams of a boy in the favelas of Rio or the slums of Lagos.

The appearance of Vietnam last year in the PISA league tables with scores above the OECD average also sent a hopeful message that even those countries with less than half the average GDP per capita in the OECD countries can do well by its students. As with football or soccer, talent, hard work, ambition and effort at building a competent teacher force can improve student performance dramatically.  If a country focuses on one education goal with the fervor that nations, teams and individuals devote to the World Cup, focusing their best talent and resources as needed, could it not achieve such an important goal by 2030?  

The G7 Summit and Education for Shared Prosperity

Harry A. Patrinos's picture


Today marks the beginning of the G7 Summit, during which the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council, and the President of the European Commission will convene in Brussels to discuss matters of the global economy.

A Happier Story about Education in Nigeria

Elizabeth King's picture


A few weeks ago news broke about another horrendous attack in schools in Nigeria. More than 200 teenage girls were abducted from a school in the remote north-east of the country. In November last year more than 40 schools were burned and destroyed in an attack that also killed around 30 teachers. Those attacks belie strong national support for education and its strong link to the country’s economic growth and poverty reduction. This support was expressed compellingly by students, employers and national leaders at the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja in March. The message was that transforming education will determine Nigeria’s place in Africa and in the world.

Eliminating Child Marriage to Boost Girls’ Education

Quentin Wodon's picture


Child marriage in developing countries remains pervasive. One-third of girls are married before age 18. That’s 39,000 girls each day, with 1 in 9 marrying before age 15.  Among countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage, girls with three years of schooling or less are up to six times more likely to marry young than girls with secondary education. The causality runs both ways: child marriage reduces educational attainment, and, conversely, girls with less access to quality education are more likely to marry early.

Education: Measuring for Success in Today’s World

Marguerite Clarke's picture
Also available in: Русский


It’s been said that learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century. Sound a little exhausting? The fact is that there are fewer and fewer jobs being created that rely on rote tasks and memorization. There are more and more jobs that require creativity, teamwork, problem solving, and ongoing learning. Indeed, it’s fair to say that the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. Children need to start acquiring these skills and attitudes early on, which is why education systems around the world are increasingly focused on reforms that involve setting and measuring new goals for learning that will better ensure their graduates’ success in today’s world.

Are Children Learning Anything in School?

Harry A. Patrinos's picture


The total number of out-of-school children worldwide has declined from 108 million in 1999 to 57 million today.  While this is tremendous progress, a critical question remains:  Are they learning?  According to the latest estimates from UNESCO, more than 250 million school-aged children cannot read.

But there is some good news.  In a previous post I highlighted my recent paper with Noam Angrist, “An expansion of a global data set on educational quality: a focus on achievement in developing countries,” where we use existing sources of test score information to show that there are less-developed countries that have made major educational gains. In that post our comparison of test score gains from 1995-2010 for 128 countries gives the following list of top performers over the last 15 years: Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tanzania, to name a few.

A Conversation about Early Childhood in Guyana, the Land of Many Waters

Peter Holland's picture



Guyana is on the U.N. list of Small Island Developing States, but don’t be fooled: It is not an island, nor is it particularly small.  Its Amerindian name means “Land of Many Waters,” a more accurate description, and a source of some of the challenges the country faces in providing quality education to children living in the most remote areas.

Report from Nigeria: Education Needs Intelligent Champions

Elizabeth King's picture


The hall was full all the way to the back and up to the balcony.  The audience was lively, contributing loud asides in their seats, applauding often, cracking inside jokes, and even occasionally arguing directly with those on stage.  You’d think I was at a political rally, but it was the 20th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja last month; the theme of the three-day summit was ”transforming education through partnerships for global competitiveness.”

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