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primary education

PBS Documentary follows students around the world for 12 years as they fight to get basic education

Nina Chaudry's picture
 2003 – 2016


The idea for this 12-year documentary project, Time for School, came after Pamela Hogan (our producer) read an op-ed in which economist Amartya Sen argued that investing in education was key to promoting a country’s economic and social growth.

Teacher Management 2.0: An innovative, data-driven approach in Malawi

Salman Asim's picture
Nine year old Selina Josophati, a standard two learner at the Government Junior Primary School in Mchinji district of Malawi. Photo Credits: Wathando Mughandira

There is a need for a teachers’ house in my school,” said nine-year old Selina Josophati.

Selina, a second grade student at the government-run primary school in the Mchinji district of Malawi, is afraid that without a place to live, all the teachers in her school might leave town, shattering her dreams to continue studying and join secondary school. Selina wants to become a teacher when she grows up.   

¿Por qué se ha estancado el nivel de aprendizaje en Argentina?

Peter Holland's picture
Also available in: English

[Estancamiento en el nivel de aprendizaje: stagˈlərniNG/ sustantivo
Un crecimiento nulo en los resultados básicos de aprendizaje, pese a los altos niveles de gasto en educación.]

Argentina no es ajena a la estanflación, es decir un estancamiento del crecimiento económico, a pesar de una alta inflación. Pero durante aproximadamente la última década, además ha sufrido de estancamiento en el nivel de aprendizaje, o sea un crecimiento nulo en el aprendizaje, pese a los elevados niveles de gasto en educación. Esto no es solo ineficiente sino también doloroso, ya que significa que el país no está aprovechando la posible oportunidad de reducir la pobreza.

Why is Argentina suffering from StagLearning?

Peter Holland's picture
Also available in: Español
Students in Argentina's rural communities

[StagLearning:stagˈlərniNG/ noun
A condition of no growth in basic learning outcomes, despite high levels of education spending.]
 
Argentina is no stranger to stagflation – a condition of stagnant economic growth, despite high inflation.  But, over the last decade or so, it has also been suffering from staglearning – no growth in learning, despite high levels of spending on education. This is not just inefficient; this is heartbreaking since it means the country is not capitalizing on potential poverty reduction.

Can providing information on school performance lead to improvement?

Harry A. Patrinos's picture

Also available in: Español | العربية

In high-income countries, learning outcomes have improved as a result of an intervention that increases transparency and accountability through the use of test scores.  In a previous blog, I mentioned examples of ‘high-stakes testing’ accountability systems, such as No Child Left Behind.  A high-stakes test has important consequences for the test taker, school, or school authorities. It carried important benefits if the test is passed, such as a diploma, extra resources to the school, or a positive citation. Some of these interventions also follow the “naming and shaming” of school leaders, which is done in England.

There is also evidence that suggests that even just providing information on test scores will lead to improvement.  This is the case in school choice systems such as in the Netherlands.

Notes From The Field: Playing Chicken in India

Jishnu Das's picture

Back in the day - Me at 23 It’s 1998 and I am 23 years old. My thesis advisor, Abhijit Banerjee  of MIT, along with some others, is trying to do, what would become his first, randomized evaluation in Rajasthan, India. The sacrificial goats appear to be me and Chris (the other research assistant on the project). Our threesome is completed by an old Yezdi motorcycle that has a tendency to go into reverse on starting it up.

We are piloting a feeding program in Non-Formal Education schools run by a local NGO. We spend enormous amounts of time measuring out lentils and giving them to schools, and driving from one village to another on the motorcycle. Lost in lentils, we are not entirely sure what this research is getting at. But we carry on, regardless.The sample size for the feeding program appears to be two schools. We then discover the local game---hiding behind bushes on very winding roads and throwing livestock or chicken in front of cars and motorcycles to claim compensation. We spend a lot of time avoiding such randomly thrown animals.