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.
When we speak of gender equity in education in developing countries, and particularly in the South Asian context, we immediately think of the disadvantages girls face in access to education. The case in Sri Lanka, however, will make you think twice.
While most of South Asia still faces the gender gap challenge in favor of boys, we think that Sri Lanka’s educational gender gap favors girls. Like their counterparts in most high-income countries, Sri Lankan girls are consistently outpacing boys both in terms of educational access and achievement.
So, you are about to start field research in education. Whether you are planning a randomized control trial or a quasi-experiment, hopefully these tips may help!
Devote time and energy towards recruiting and training enumerators (your survey personnel). Someone once said that training enumerators is 95% of the battle in conducting good field research. I would argue that that would be dramatically underestimating its importance. The enthusiasm and perseverance of the enumerators makes or breaks all the hard work that has gone into designing the experiment. And so, in general, devoting at least a week to training them and letting them pilot the tool is essential. I find that reminding enumerators of the higher purpose behind the study really helps as well – in a small way, our shared work is helping improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for children across the world and that’s something that they should rightfully take pride in.
Statistics. Either you love or hate them. We certainly need them to compare and measure data, as well as to make informed decisions. Here at the World Bank, we often get calls from researchers, students and journalists asking for education data: Is there an increase in the number of tertiary education students in Brazil in 2017? How much are governments in South Asia spending on education? Where can we find a database of World Bank education projects?
We try to help answer these, as much as we can, but a quicker and easier way of finding this data is to visit the World Bank’s revamped EdStats website. EdStats – the World Bank’s portal for accessing education-related data – has been around since 1998 and is one of the most used websites by education specialists at the World Bank and partner organizations. User feedback has been highly positive: the interface looks neater, highly mobile and tablet-friendly. Allow me to give you a “tour” of the revamped website.
Last Wednesday, the World Development Report 2018, Learning to Realize Education’s Promise (WDR) was released. It argues that there is a learning crisis: in many developing countries, children learn very little, educational opportunities are unequal, and educational progress is still very slow. What do we need to change this? We need prepared learners, who receive adequate nutrition and stimulation in their early years. We need well managed schools that create an environment conducive to learning. We need adequate inputs so that schools can operate effectively. But above all, we need motivated and well-prepared teachers. In classrooms around the world, white boards and screens have replaced black boards and notebooks are increasingly commonplace. But in this 21st century, with increased use of technology, there is one constant that determines, more than anything else, whether children learn at school: teachers. Indeed, teachers remain central to the classroom experience. And yet in many countries, the teaching profession needs attention and reform.
El miércoles pasado se lanzó el Informe sobre el desarrollo mundial 2018: Aprender para hacer realidad la promesa de la educación. El mundo enfrenta una crisis de aprendizaje. En muchos países del mundo en desarrollo, los aprendizajes son insuficientes, las oportunidades de aprendizaje son desiguales, y el progreso es todavía muy lento. ¿Qué se necesita? Que los estudiantes lleguen a la escuela habiendo tenido una nutrición y un estímulo adecuado durante los primeros años de vida; escuelas bien administradas que generen un entorno conducente al aprendizaje; insumos adecuados para que esas escuelas operen de manera efectiva; y, lo más importante, maestros motivados y bien preparados.
Y es que hoy, en el siglo XXI, con la revolución de las comunicaciones y la tecnología, el elemento esencial para lograr un aprendizaje efectivo en el aula sigue siendo el maestro. Como se discute en el informe, la tecnología puede facilitar el proceso de aprendizaje, ayudando, por ejemplo, a que en el aula estudiantes con distintos niveles de competencia tengan el estímulo que necesitan para avanzar. Pero esto simplemente complementa a un maestro que debe de saber utilizar la tecnología.
Buildings, classrooms, laboratories, and equipment- education infrastructure - are crucial elements of learning environments in schools and universities. There is strong evidence that high-quality infrastructure facilitates better instruction, improves student outcomes, and reduces dropout rates, among other benefits.
For example, a recent study from the U.K. found that environmental and design elements of school infrastructure together explained 16 percent of variation in primary students’ academic progress. This research shows that the design of education infrastructure affects learning through three interrelated factors: naturalness (e.g. light, air quality), stimulation (e.g. complexity, color), and individualization (e.g. flexibility of the learning space).
Although education policymakers are increasingly focusing on the quality of education and school learning environments, many countries use a fragmented or piecemeal approach to investing in their education infrastructure. In Romania, for example, decisions about education infrastructure investments have historically been made under an uncoordinated and decentralized model, driven by ad hoc needs and limited funding availability, rather than a strategic approach.
Clădirile, sălile de clasă, laboratoarele şi dotările – într-un cuvânt, infrastructura educaţională - constituie elemente vitale ale mediilor de învăţare din şcoli şi universităţi. Rezultatele cercetărilor în domeniu sugerează că infrastructura de foarte bună calitate conduce la îmbunățățirea predării, a rezultatelor școlare ale elevilor şi reducerea abandonului şcolar, pe lângă alte beneficii.
De exemplu, un studiu recent realizat în Marea Britanie a arătat că elementele de mediu şi de proiectare ale infrastructurii şcolare împreună explică 16% din variația progresului școlar al elevilor din ciclul primar. Acest studiu evidenţiază faptul că proiectarea infrastructurii educaţionale influențează procesul de învăţare prin trei factori interdependenți : naturalețe (de ex. lumina, calitatea aerului), stimulare (de ex. complexitatea, culoarea) şi individualizare (de ex. flexibilitatea spaţiilor de învăţare).
Cu toate că decidenții din domeniul învăţământului îşi concentrează atenţia din ce în ce mai mult asupra calităţii educației şi a mediilor de învăţare din şcoli, multe ţări au o abordare fragmentară sau fără o viziune de ansamblu privind investiţiile în infrastructura educaţională. În România, de exemplu, deciziile privind infrastructura educaţională au fost luate de-a lungul timpului pe baza unui model necoordonat şi descentralizat, determinat de nevoi de moment şi fonduri limitate, și nu pe baza unei abordări strategice.
While schools and educators aim at more inclusive approaches across the globe, it’s important to acknowledge that mainstream education settings can unknowingly exclude deaf and hard of hearing people.
According to the World Federation of the Deaf, out of the 70 million deaf people in the world, 56 million receive no education at all. This is especially true among deaf women and girls, and people living in developing countries.
This is part of the learning crisis that we at the World Bank are concerned about.
250 million children under the age of five in the developing world are failing to reach their full development potential. Faced with this challenge, governments and donors across the globe have turned to early childhood education and development (ECED) services. These are a cost-effective way to overcome the developmental losses associated with growing up in a disadvantaged environment. The services can be delivered in different ways, such as through kindergartens and community-based playgroups.
But how effective are these, in practice?