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The implications of automation for education

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Also available in: Français | Español
Will workers have the skills to operate new technology? Education can help. (Photo: Sarah Farhat / World Bank)​

Automation is heralding a renewed race between education and technology. However, the ability of workers to compete with automation is handicapped by the poor performance of education systems in most developing countries. This will prevent many from benefiting from the high returns to schooling.

Schooling quality is low
The quality of schooling is not keeping pace, essentially serving a break on the potential of “human capital” (the skills, knowledge, and innovation that people accumulate).  As countries continue to struggle to equip students with basic cognitive skills-  the core skills the brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, and reason- new demands are being placed.

Qualité de l’éducation et automatisation du travail

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Cette page en : English | Español
Les travailleurs auront-ils les savoirs adaptés aux nouvelles technologies ? L’éducation peut y apporter sa contribution ! (Photo: Sarah Farhat / World Bank)

L’automatisation du travail est à l’origine d’une course entre les avancées technologiques et la mise à niveau conséquente du dispositif éducatif. Et pourtant, la capacité d’une main-d’œuvre humaine à faire concurrence aux automates est entravée, dans la plupart des pays en développement, par le faible rendement de leur système éducatif. Cette situation risque d’empêcher les jeunes de ces pays de profiter pleinement de la rentabilité, potentiellement élevée, de la scolarité.

La qualité de l’éducation est trop faible
La qualité de l’éducation n’est plus à la hauteur, ce qui a pour effet de freiner la puissance du « capital humain » (c-à-d. les connaissances, compétences et innovations que l’être humain accumule au cours de sa vie). Pendant que les gouvernements peinent à faire acquérir à leurs jeunes même les compétences cognitives fondamentales, à savoir, ce qui permet de penser, lire, apprendre, mémoriser et raisonner, de nouvelles demandes s’imposent déjà.

How Can We Routinize Disruption?

Maria Amelina's picture
Also available in: Français
Allô École! training for parents, primary school, Tshikapa, DRC. (Photo: Ornella Nsoki / Moonshot Global, Sandra Gubler / Voto Mobile Inc., Samy Ntumba / La Couronne)

Mobile solutions for better governance in education

Let’s look at these pictures together: villagers examining a poster, teachers putting a similar poster on the wall, adding a number to it; government officials choosing designs for a dashboard with a help of a technician.  None of these can be described as “cutting-edge technology” but these photos show moments in the life of a cutting-edge, disruptive project.

It’s the kind of project that works technical innovation into the lives of citizens and incentives to respond to the needs of these citizens into the workflows of government officials. 

Allô, École! is a mobile platform funded by Belgian Development Cooperation and executed by the Ministry of education of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with the help of the World Bank.

Comment utiliser les TIC pour mieux gérer le secteur de l’éducation dans les pays fragiles ?

Maria Amelina's picture
Also available in: English
Des parents d’élèves reçoivent une formation Allô École! dans une école de Tshikapa en RDC. (Photo: Ornella Nsoki / Moonshot Global, Sandra Gubler / Voto Mobile Inc., Samy Ntumba / La Couronne)

Des solutions mobiles qui améliorent la gestion du système éducatif
Observons ensemble ces images : dans la première, des villageois examinent une affiche ; dans la deuxième, des enseignants ajoutent des chiffres à des affiches similaires et dans la troisième, des fonctionnaires choisissent des modèles d’interface avec l’aide d’un technicien. Aucune de ces images ne montre à proprement parler quelque chose que l’on pourrait qualifier de « technologie de pointe ». Elles représentent pourtant chacune une étape d’un projet innovant et insolite.
Un projet qui a introduit des innovations technologiques dans la vie des citoyens et incite les fonctionnaires à être à l’écoute de ces citoyens et de répondre à leurs attentes.
Il s’agit d’Allô, École ! une plateforme éducative mobile financée par l’Agence belge de développement et mise en œuvre par le ministère de l’éducation nationale de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), avec l’aide de la Banque mondiale.

How education & cricket changed a blind youth leader’s world

M. Yaa Pokua Afriyie Oppong's picture
“I refuse to be seen in the lesser light of society and aim to be a trail-blazer.”
From left-right: Leroy Philips, Yaa Oppong and Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo
(Photo: Brandon Payne / World Bank)

Last fall, while supporting the preparation of a World Bank-financed education project in Guyana, and exploring entry points for gender and disability inclusion (with Braille business cards in hand), I met Mr. Leroy Phillips at the Guyana Society for the Blind (GSB).  Leroy introduced himself after stepping into my meeting room to collect his cane.
I learned that Mr. Phillips was a youth leader, disability rights advocate, student of communications and freelance radio broadcaster from Georgetown with a weekly disability-themed program Reach out and Touch. Leroy has also been invited to speak internationally, earning  accolades for his  work for children with disabilities, including the inaugural Queens’ Young Leaders Award 2015.

The rippling economic impacts of child marriage

Quentin Wodon's picture
A new study finds that child marriage could cost developing countries trillions of dollars by 2030, with the largest economic cost coming from its impact on fertility and population growth.

Globally, more than 700 million women alive today married before the age of 18. Each year, 15 million additional girls are married as children, the vast majority of them in developing countries. Child marriage is widely considered a violation of human rights, and it is also a major impediment to gender equality. It profoundly affects the opportunities not only of child brides, but also of their children. And, as a study we issued this week concludes, it has significant economic implications as well.

It takes a school: An extraordinary story of success in Somaliland

Jonathan Starr's picture
Students at Abarso School of Science and Technology.
Abaarso was founded in 2009 as a not-for-profit school in Somaliland. Today, there are over 80 Abaarso students studying abroad, including at such prestigious institutions as Harvard, Yale, and MIT. (Photo: Abaarso School) 

Editor's note: This is a guest blog by Jonathan Starr, founder of Abaarso School of Science and Technology, and the author of “It Takes A School.”

60 Minutes, The New York Times, MSNBC, BBC, and CNN are just some of the media outlets that have covered the story of Abaarso School in Somaliland. Abaarso is also the subject of a recently released book, It Takes A School, and an upcoming documentary, Somaliland, The Abaarso Story. All this attention is the result of Abaarso’s extraordinary success, despite conventional wisdom believing Abaarso’s results were impossible anywhere, never mind in the unrecognized breakaway country of Somaliland. Given Abaarso’s achievements and modest price tag, its approach is worth a deeper dive for lessons that can be applied elsewhere.

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.

International Women’s Day 2017: Empowering girls and women through education

Oni Lusk-Stover's picture
An analysis of women aged 25 to 34 underlines the relevance of the International Women’s Day 2017 theme, #BeBoldForChange. (Photo: John Isaac / World Bank)

Parents love their children.
Farming is hard work.
The child is reading a book.
Children work hard at school.

These are the sentences that women ages 25-34— who reported their highest level of education as being primary school or less — were asked to read as part of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Woman’s Questionnaire.

Quality education for all: measuring progress in Francophone Africa

Raja Bentaouet Kattan's picture
Also available in: Français
Despite notable gains in expanding access, countries in West Africa still face a great challenge in providing a quality education for all. Photo: Ami Vitale / The World Bank

Quality education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality; yet it remains elusive in many parts of the world. The Programme for the Analysis of Education Systems (PASEC), which is designed to assess student abilities in mathematics and reading in French, has for the first time delivered an internationally comparable measure around which policy dialogue and international cooperation can aspire to improve. The PASEC 2014 international student assessment was administered in 10 countries in Francophone West Africa (Cameroon, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Chad, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger).