How can we improve the research, writing, and presentation skills of middle and high school students? Can internship and mentorship programs help students graduate from high school and prepare them for colleges and careers? What type of support is needed for the most disadvantaged youth, including those who suffer from homelessness? Do tutoring programs help elementary school students learn?
With the contribution of Kali Azzi-Huck, Anusha Ramakrishnan, and Yinan Zhang
The West Africa Ebola crisis of 2014-15 killed more than 11,000 people, caused economic and social disruption in a massive scale, and left tens of thousands of children orphaned. In Sierra Leone, schools were closed for eight months, resulting in a lost year of learning. With the closure of schools and banning of public gatherings, Sierra Leoneans, having lived through years of civil war, knew the setbacks that lost educational opportunities would inflict on a young generation. The government, working with donor partners, initiated a number of interventions to mitigate these losses.
When I joined the Mexican ministry of education in 2008, one of the first challenges I had was to identify effective policies to reduce dropout rates in upper secondary (grades 10, 11 and 12). Eight years, two randomized control trials, numerous workshops, and several diagnostics later, I still don’t have a precise answer.
Four years ago, while sitting on a plane heading for a business development trip to Asia, a colleague asked me if I had heard of a new course from Stanford University in which more than 100,000 students enrolled after it was put online. A nascent company called Coursera was behind the initiative, he told me. My interest piqued, I contacted Coursera founders Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. A few short months later, the IFC decided to invest, the start of a relationship that continues to blossom.
“My elder sisters could not get an education because at that time, there was no primary school in the village. For me it was difficult too, my school had no facilities, no water, toilet or rooms for 80 girls. Had this school not been built I would be out of school.” These are the words of Zarghony, the youngest child in a family of six and a beneficiary of the Promoting Girls’ Education in Balochistan Project (PGEB). Zarghony was once among the 62 million girls around the world who are out of school but now she benefits from a safe and secure learning environment.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Inequality starts at birth”? This is one of the most sobering statements in development but one that has an answer and it’s called early childhood development or ECD. No other development investment boasts a higher payoff for people and for economies than ECD.
¿Escucharon alguna vez la frase “La desigualdad comienza en el nacimiento”? Es una de las afirmaciones más serias del ámbito del desarrollo, pero plantea un problema que ya tiene respuesta: el desarrollo en la primera infancia (DPI). No hay ninguna otra inversión en el desarrollo que genere tantos beneficios para las personas y para las economías como el DPI.
Recent studies in neuroscience and economics show that early childhood experiences have a profound impact on brain development and thus on outcomes throughout life. A growing number of impact evaluations from low- and middle-income countries underscore the importance of preschool for children’s development (to highlight a few: Cambodia, Mozambique, and Indonesia).
April 7th is World Health Day, a day to highlight emerging global health concerns. The focus this year is raising awareness on the diabetes epidemic, and its dramatic increase in low- and middle-income countries.
People often ask me how I became the person I am today. More often than not, my answer surprises them. Sports has a lot to do with it. In many countries across the globe, soccer is a way of life. As a kid, growing up in Senegal, sport was part of my daily life. I practiced all kinds of sports but track and field and karate were my two passions. Martial arts taught me the importance of not giving up, while running kept me focused. My coaches in Senegal were true educators.