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Should developing countries shift from focusing on improving schools to improving parents?

Emiliana Vegas's picture

I travel to many developing countries in the context of my work for The World Bank. I visit schools that receive financial support and technical assistance from the Bank to improve the learning experiences and outcomes of students. Each time, I ask teachers in these schools what they think would make the biggest difference in the learning outcomes of their students. The most common answer is “better parents.” I often wonder if this response is, in some conscious or unconscious way, an excuse to help teachers explain the poor outcomes of their students (especially those from the poorest households) and their low expectations of what their students can achieve. However, both common sense and solid research indicate that parents matter.

Paying Teachers to Perform: The Impact of Bonus Pay in Pernambuco, Brazil

Harry A. Patrinos's picture

I recently spoke with Barbara Bruns, lead education economist to the LAC region, about an impact evaluation she is managing on teacher performance pay in Pernambuco, Brazil.

Across the world, teacher’s salaries are almost universally determined by educational background, training, or years of experience, rather than performance. Yet a growing body of research shows that these measures are poor proxies for a teacher’s actual effectiveness in the classroom. They show surprisingly little correlation with teachers’ ability to raise their students’ learning.

Educate to fight HIV this World AIDS Day

This content is abstracted from the HIV/AIDS and Education topic page.

The positive impact of education reforms are greatly reduced by the presence of HIV/AIDS. This epidemic is damaging education systems by killing teachers, increasing rates of teacher absenteeism, and creating orphans and vulnerable children who are more likely to drop out of school or not attend school at all.

At the request of countries affected by HIV/AIDS, the UNAIDS Inter Agency Task Team (IATT) for Education was established as a mechanism for coordinating action on AIDS and education among the UNAIDS co-sponsors, bilateral donors and Civil Society. In 2002, the IATT established a Working Group, coordinated by the World Bank, with the specific operational aim of helping countries to “Accelerate the Education Sector Response to HIV/AIDS in Africa”.

The World Bank works with several developing countries to create stronger links between education and other sectors, especially health, to mainstream HIV and AIDS in new programs, and to make resources for HIV and AIDS available to the education sector. Since November 2002, education teams from 34 national governments and 49 state governments in Africa have sought the assistance of the Working Group to assist them in undertaking situation analyses and strengthening education sector strategies, policies and work plans. The work focuses on thematic areas including  AIDS prevention, workplace policy and ensuring education access for orphans and vulnerable children.

World Bank Managing Director Mahmoud Mohieldin writes about 'The Education Solution'

In a recent Op-Ed World Bank Managing Director, Mahmoud Mohieldin, writes about the importance of education and its impact on development.

“Households with more education cope better with economic shocks and extreme weather events. People with higher levels of education earn more, have more control over their fertility, and have healthier and better-educated children.” he says while referencing the World Bank’s new Education Strategy. “The new Strategy emphasizes the need to invest early, nurturing young children to ensure that they arrive at school healthy and ready to learn; to invest smartly, transforming schools with good teachers, good materials, and good management; and to invest for all, laying the foundation for just and equitable societies.”

Click here to read the full Op-Ed which appeared in Project Syndicate, Shangai Daily and The Straits Times.
 

What We Can Learn from Innovative Schools that Cater to the Poor

Harry A. Patrinos's picture

Governments across both the developing and developed world are experimenting with private management of public schools to better serve the poorest, and most under-served students. But have recent  innovations lived up to their promise of improved results?

The verdict from a recent review of America’s ‘charter schools’—the most rigorous analysis of privately-managed schools to date—suggests some cause for optimism, at least at the middle school level. What is more, recent studies show that successful ideas from the private sector can feed back into the public sector to improve education for all.

Renewing urgency around Education for All?

Elizabeth King's picture

Global Partnership for Educaiton (GPE) New Logo

As donors, developing country governments, civil society and private sector representatives gather in Copenhagen for the replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), I feel both a sense of pride and urgency.

Indian Minister Unveils $35 Tablet at the World Bank

Last month the World Bank hosted Mr.Kapil Sibal, India’s Minister of Human Resources and Development. Sibal spoke to a packed audience about India’s contributions to the global knowledge economy and discussed some of his widely publicized education reforms and plans for the Indian education system. The highlight of the event was Sibal’s display of the $35 tablet PC which he hoped to launch soon as a technology aide to help bridge quality gaps in secondary education. The event was chaired by Tamar Manuelyan Atinc, Vice President of the Human Development Network, and moderated by Mr. Michal Rutkowski, Sector Director for Human Development in the South Asia Region.

Read the full blog post on the World Bank's "End Poverty in South Asia" blog. 
 

Stepping Up Skills for Better Jobs Begins with Strong Early Childhood Development

Elizabeth King's picture


Creating jobs and increasing productivity are at the top of policymakers’ agenda across the world. We heard this message during the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings and during the UN General Assembly meetings in New York last month. We read about disaffected youth in rich and less rich countries who have university education but can’t find jobs. I’m not going to argue that education holds the key to these current issues. Undoubtedly, current high unemployment rates owe a lot to the ongoing global economic slump.

Nonetheless, the current economic crisis forces us to examine why too many workers are unprepared to meet the demands from the modern workplace, particularly in increasingly competitive economic environments. Evidence suggests that education systems in many countries are failing young people with respect to basic skills as well as high-level cognitive skills such as critical analysis, problem solving and communication.

The Road to Academic Excellence: Lessons of Experience

Jamil Salmi's picture

Cover of The Road to Academic Excellence

When I published my first book on World Class Universities two years ago, I certainly did not anticipate the world-wide exposure it received. Now, I sometimes worry about having contributed to raising expectations about the importance of world-class universities. 

 

When I visited Nigeria last year, I was told that the country wanted to have 20 World Class Universities by 2020. Recently, Sri Lanka announced that it would increase its higher education budget in the hope of having at least one world-class university. Today we launched The Road to Academic Excellence, a new book I edited with Professor Phil Altbach, and already, the burden of guilt regarding the possible consequences of the new book haunt me.

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