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.
Les infrastructures – bâtiments, salles de classe, laboratoires et équipements – constituent des éléments essentiels à l’apprentissage dans nos établissements scolaires et universitaires. Il existe de fortes preuves qu’une infrastructure de haute qualité facilite un meilleur enseignement, renforce les acquis scolaires et réduit l’abandon… entre autres.
Une étude récente, menée au Royaume-Uni, montre que des éléments environnementaux et architecturaux des infrastructures scolaires expliquent 16 pour cent de la variation de la réussite scolaire des élèves de l’enseignement primaire. Cette analyse montre par ailleurs que la façon dont une infrastructure scolaire est conçue a un effet sur les processus d’apprentissage en fonction de trois caractéristiques : elle doit être naturelle (ex. luminosité et qualité de l’air), stimulante (ex. couleurs et complexité), et individualisée (ex. flexibilité des espaces d’apprentissage).
Quoique les décideurs du secteur éducatif se concentrent de plus en plus sur la qualité de l’éducation et donc sur l’environnement scolaire, beaucoup de pays emploient encore une approche fragmentée dans les décisions concernant l’infrastructure scolaire. En Roumanie, par exemple, ces décisions ont été prises de façon décentralisée et non coordonnée, dans un contexte de besoins ponctuels et de ressources limitées… en l’absence totale de stratégie globale.
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.
Every year, the World Bank generates a wealth of useful information about education systems across the globe, from project-driven appraisal documents and results stories to country-specific data and news to impact evaluations and everything in between. Through the Smarter Education Systems tool, this information, which can often be overwhelming to navigate and curate, is becoming more easily accessible, digestible, and searchable. The Smarter Education Systems tool demonstrates how the World Bank helps countries ensure "Learning for All" through support to countries on both the financing (loans, grants, and more) and knowledge (research, publications, and more) fronts.
Less well understood, however, is how countries can deliver high-quality early learning services equitably and at scale. How do countries get from a small-scale, well monitored pilot—which is where a lot of our evidence comes from—to a national program, without diluting quality too much or leaving behind the most disadvantaged children? How can countries build a motivated, well-trained workforce that understands and can serve the distinctive developmental needs of children before the primary years? What are effective models to work with private providers?
The Early Learning Partnership (ELP) is embarking on a new research program to generate some answers to these questions. ELP is a multi-donor trust fund at the World Bank which provides analytic and operational support to World Bank teams and client countries who want to invest in early childhood. With support from the UK Department for International Development, we are launching the ELP Systems Research Program, with an initial focus on Ethiopia, Liberia, the Punjab province in Pakistan, and Tanzania.
The world is still recovering from the financial and food crises of 2008. A key response, especially in developing countries, was to scale up school feeding programs.
Citizen-led assessments (CLAs) emerged in India in 2005 as a way to raise awareness and advocacy around low learning levels, and to act as a force for bottom-up accountability and action that would improve education quality and learning. Thousands of volunteers traveled to rural districts and administered simple reading and math tests to the children in households they visited. The dismal results, published in the 2005 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), helped stimulate debate and prioritize learning in national policy.
Imagine a situation where: there are low graduation rates; violence spills into the schools; where most students are poorly educated; where there is growing inequality; students are passed from grade to grade even if they don’t learn; and there are unemployed graduates – yet skilled jobs go unfilled. Imagine a school system ruled by a government-run monopoly dominated by vested and political interests. There is no accountability – nobody is held responsible for results. There is little information or data available with which to manage the system.
Does this sound like a developing country you know? But no, this isn’t a description of fragile state, or a low-income country. It’s not a caricature of a developing country run by a corrupt leader, on the brink of social and economic decline.
It’s New York City in the early 2000s.
In recent years, a broad consensus has emerged on the fact that investing in young children is one of the best investments countries can make. And yet while investments in early childhood development (ECD) should be a priority, many countries fall short. Tomorrow, the World Bank will release two new publications to serve as resources for those aiming to invest in ECD, whether they are government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), or private firms.
“The child who has gone to a preschool can study in primary school with more ease than a child who joins a primary school directly.” Unfortunately, “preschool fees range from 50,000 to 150,000 Shillings (US$ 20-60) per term of three months. Most parents cannot afford this, so many of them wait until their children are of age to start primary school.”
These quotes from Ugandan villages illustrate how parents value investments in young children, but often cannot afford them. The same is true for healthcare and nutrition. Early years are essential for children’s development. The reality is that investments in early childhood development (ECD) remain low in most countries, in part because of the complexity of the field. ECD policies and programs are managed by multiple public and private service providers, regulatory agencies, and ministries. It is of course not necessary for everyone to be experts on all matters related to ECD, but more awareness of the comprehensive nature of these investments would help in improving ECD programs and marshalling more resources towards them.