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Barbara Bruns is a non-resident fellow. She joined the Center for Global Development as a visiting fellow in late 2015. Prior to that, as a lead education economist at the World Bank, she specialized in Latin American education and rigorous evaluation of education programs. She is lead author of the book Great Teachers: How to Raise Student Learning in Latin America and the Caribbean (2014) with Javier Luque and Achieving World Class Education in Brazil: the Next Agenda, with David Evans and Javier Luque (2011). She also co-authored Making Schools Work: New Evidence on Accountability Reforms (with Deon Filmer and Harry Patrinos, 2011).
Bruns was the first manager of the Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF) at the World Bank, co-authored the World Bank/IMF MDG Global Monitoring Reports of 2005, 2006, and 2007, served on the Education Task force appointed by the UN Secretary-General in 2003, co-authored the book A Chance for Every Child: Achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015,and headed the secretariat of the global Education for All–Fast Track Initiative(EFA-FTI) from 2002 to 2004.
Before joining the World Bank, Barbara was a staff economist on the US Senate Banking Committee and legislative assistant to Senator Adlai Stevenson III. She holds degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago.
Is big money really necessary, or even sufficient, to improving learning outcomes for children in the developing world? CGD’s background research submitted to the Commission has convinced us that the key to faster progress is not incremental money; it is focused action in two critical areas. The first necessary, unavoidable step is for political leaders, education officials, and parents in low-income countries to recognize the depth of the problem (children’s lives and public money wasted) in their country, and have the information to design and implement local solutions. The second is to shift education funding to paying for results, rather than inputs and plans.
Behind the learning crisis in much of the developing world is a huge data gap. Only a few middle income developing countries have the political incentives and technical capacity to develop and sustain national systems that measure what children are learning in school; most school children in the developing world have never taken a test that can be compared year over year or globally benchmarked.