The World Bank recently released a draft version of its new Education Sector Strategy 2020 for public comment, the culmination of a global consultation effort over the past year that has included dedicated multi-stakeholder meetings in and with over 70 countries around the world.
In a blog post announcing the release of the draft strategy requesting public comment, World Bank education sector director Elizabeth King poses the question, "What will the world look like in 2020?"
Now, some folks will question the utility of trying to look and plan ten years ahead. Fair enough, such criticisms are duly noted. (As someone who works in the area of technology, where the winds of innovation can quickly and radically change the operating landscape, challenging deeply held assumptions about what's possible, I do profess a healthy amount a skepticism in this regard.) That said, World Bank education projects often take two to three years to plan and negotiate and then often last for five to seven years, and so a ten-year time frame is actual relevant in practice. As returns on investments in education generally are often thought to be best considered over a long time horizon, it is thought that the development and articulation of a long term vision and strategy for engagement in and support for the education sector beyond individual budget cycles has some value. In addition, the articulation of a strategy such as this can have an important signalling effect to partners about the direction the institution is moving in.
During the strategy consultation process, and especially since its publication in draft form, I have been asked by many groups what the World Bank's new strategy may mean for issues related to the use of ICTs in the education sector. (fyi The World Bank's ICT group is also currently in the process of revising its ICT policy, which will contain a section looking at education.) I am not sure it is my place to do so, but I thought I'd offer here some quick comments on the draft education sector strategy in response to such queries, as an input into the final round of feedback that has been requested by 30 November, and especially in the hope that doing so will provoke additional comments and responses. There is an official comments form available on the education sector strategy site. For those whose comments don't fit neatly into the format requested there, feel free to post comments below and I will make sure they are seen by the education strategy team.