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Food Wars: Battling the Bulge in Schools

Nicole Goldstein's picture

Jamie Oliver was feeding students to better test scores, but no longer

In Jishnu Das' Notes From the Field: Playing Chicken in India post, he explored an impact evaluation he was involved in, over a decade ago on India's mid-day meal scheme. Keeping on this topic of school meals is especially pertinent at this time. 

In the United States, earlier this week (as reported on Sara Mead's new Policy Notebook),  the House Education and Labor Committee began considering changes to the Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act, which reauthorizes funding for the federal school lunch program. With an allocation of around $12 billion, this year, the federal school lunch program aims to increase access to school lunch and out-of-school programs, whle improving the nutritional value of school meals.

New Open Data Initiative Emphasizes Importance of Education Stats and Better Visualization of Data

Christine Horansky's picture

In conjunction with the new Access to Information policy, the World Bank recently launched the Open Data Initiative, freeing up development data for use to stakeholders worldwide. The new website at data.worldbank.org underlines the importance of data collection and utilization for better tracking trends in global development. Education statistics are prominently featured on the new site and serve as major indicators for two of the eight Millennium Development Goals (#2 universal primary education and #3 gender equality.) 
 

Notes from the Field: Comparing Three Villages in Madhya Pradesh

Jishnu Das's picture

Kids sitting down reading but where is the teacher?I  was in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh recently. Madhya Pradesh, or MP, as most Indians know it – is a big state in the middle of the country. It also has some of the poorest human development indicators in the country.

Some distance from Gwalior, we get off at a large village on the side of the road and start walking away from the highway towards the villages in the interior. Eventually, we cross a stream and reach the last village before a hill stops the road from going any further.

We are in a tribal village, with silos for community grain, a recently constructed Panchayat (the local governing body) hall and a decrepit school. The schools have been closed down after the walls collapsed and snakes were discovered in the classroom. The teachers now hold classes in the temple under a large banyan tree.

Global Study to Explore Issues of Equity in Higher Education Around the World

By Roberta Bassett, Tertiary Education Specialist, Human Development Network    

The ability of a society to produce, select, adapt, commercialize, and use knowledge is critical for sustained economic growth and improved living standards. As a locus for both knowledge creation and dissemination, tertiary education institutions help countries build globally competitive economies by developing a skilled, productive and flexible labor force and by creating, applying and spreading new ideas and technologies. In middle and low-income countries, tertiary education works to build the institutional capacity that is essential to reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

For that growth to be inclusive, opportunities to access and succeed in higher education must be as equitable as possible. A global study is being undertaken on Equity of Access and Success in Tertiary Education, funded by the government of the Netherlands through the Bank-Netherlands Partnership Program (BNPP).

Teachers Need Incentives, But Also Better Tools

Emiliana Vegas's picture

Bill Gates has the right ideaIn his 2010 Annual Letter for his foundation, Bill Gates highlighted the need to focus on “helping teachers improve." While many continue to advocate for increased accountability and incentives for teachers, he mentions the need to provide teachers with more and better information on their performance. As he puts it:

“It is amazing how little feedback teachers get to help them improve, especially when you think about how much feedback their students get."

 

What Are We Doing?

Many of us who work on research and policy advice for developing countries are constantly reminding governments of the need to assess student performance, to improve mechanisms to reward effective teachers and remove those who are not so effective, and to provide information to parents and communities about school quality.

The World Bank is Listening: Global Consultations Shape New Education Strategy for 2020

What will the world look like in ten years and how can we best tailor our work in education to help countries achieve a future that is prosperous and equitable?

These are some of the questions the World Bank has been asking the global community as it charts its direction in education for the next ten years.

Consultations kicked off this spring to help shape and inform the new Education Sector Strategy for 2020. The education strategy team embarked on a series of consultations with the governments of client countries, multilateral and bilateral entities, local and international NGOs, donors, academia, and civil society to solicit their input. Summaries of discussions from the consultations to date have been posted online.

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.

South Africa's Long Walk to Education Equality

Nicole Goldstein's picture

   He wanted to give the next generation a brighter future

All eyes are focused on South Africa this year: it both hosts the World Cup and celebrates its 20th anniversary since the end of apartheid when Nelson Mandela walked those historic steps to freedom.  In post-aparteid South Africa, education promised to hold part of the answer towards creating a fairer society. Development through education – would lead to freedom. The burning question remains - has this been achieved?

In a 2007 World Bank publication, Shafika Isaacs summarized the desired changes South Africa hoped to undertake:

 

The Cross-Over Effect: Education Can Be a Fault Line or the Bedrock for Development

Christine Horansky's picture

Haiti's Ministry of Education is leveled by the Jan 2010 earthquakeWhat is the relationship between education and geological processes? At first glance, some might think: Not much. One concerns the opening and enlightenment of the mind; the other is as old, rock-solid and unpredictable as the Earth itself.

But the collapse of so many buildings and homes that killed more than 200,000 people in the Haiti earthquake was in large part due to an utter "lack of qualified architects, urban planners, builders and zoning experts," points out a recent article in the New York Times.

In the tragedy of these moments it becomes painfully clear what a lack of adequate education and training has meant. Even worse, such revelation shines a light on very hard questions for posterity. What will the future of a country look like that has lost so many of its doctors, teachers and future leaders?

Education, Test-Scores and Other Things That Matter

Jishnu Das's picture

Taking the test: these children in Jaura, India diligently apply themselves to the task in hand

 

 A lot of my work is on test-scores. Here is a (very partial) list of what we know about test-scores, why they may be important (and why they may not). In future blogs we hope to take up each of these topics in greater detail. We cite the papers we know below.

 

Test-scores, Enrollment and Growth: Macro Picture

  1. Enrollment and growth are not related according to Pritchett’s classic paper on “Where has all the education gone”. The missing ingredient may well be test-scores. There is a positive association between test-scores and growth as Hanushek and Woessmann argue.

 

  1. Further work by Hanushek and Woessmann suggests that these effects may be causal. Particularly interesting is the fact that home-country cognitive skills affects the earnings of immigrants to the United States.

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