Many learning assessments only evaluate children of a given age (e.g. PISA for age 15) or grade. This approach gives a snapshot that can be compared across countries and produces differentials in learning across 15 year olds (e.g.
CGD Policy Blogs
My guest on this week’s Global Prosperity Wonkcast is CGD senior fellow Lant Pritchett, whose new book, The Rebirth of Education: Schooling Ain’t Learning, was released last month and is now available on Kindle. The book addresses a fundamental problem in education: despite great progress to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal target for primary school completion, students the world over are leaving school having learned very little. “They need to be in school and learn,” Pritchett says. “If you create systems where the only measures of schooling are kids in seats, you’re going to get measures of time served rather than learning gained.”
Low-cost private schools are popping up rapidly in many parts of the developing world, especially India where even in rural areas 28% of students attend private schools. Should governments be supporting these schools as a cheap way to boost learning for the poor? Or is privatization reducing equity and undermining public institutions? A year ago I participated in a somewhat heated online debate on this topic, see here and here.
Malala Yousafzai’s story of overcoming the Taliban’s attempt to silence her is inspirational. Her speech at the UN Malala Day celebration, which I had the pleasure to attend, was impressive in every respect, including her commitment to her faith and the kindness she could show to her attackers. It moved the crowd to tears, and to its feet. When I compare what I was doing on my 16th birthday to what she is doing, well, it is pretty humbling.
Is it possible to alter national governments and global institutions so that decision makers can focus on the vitally important longer term challenges, while still dealing with the urgent considerations which crowd their daily agenda? That’s the important and difficult question set before the The Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations. My guest on this week’s Wonkcast is Ian Goldin, director of the Oxford Martin School and the driving force behind the commission.
In 2010, World Bank statistics report that Guinea-Bissau had a youth literacy rate of 72%. That means seven in ten people aged 15-24 were estimated to be able to read and write a simple paragraph. The estimate was probably made on the basis of that many kids having been in school long enough that they should have easily mastered such a basic skill. The official net enrollment rate was 74% --about three quarters of primary-age kids were enrolled in school.