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CGD Policy Blogs

 

A man on the phone wearing a mask

Tech Plus Teachers: One-on-one Phone Tutorials Didn’t Help Kids Learn During School Closures in Sierra Leone

When schools in Sierra Leone closed last March, the government was more ready than many to respond. We designed a randomised control trial which assigned 4,399 students from 25 government primary schools to receive—in addition to the standard access to the government’s broadcast that all students received—either reminders to tune in or reminders and weekly phone tutorials with teachers.

A man lies in a hospital bed with an oxygen mask over his face

Three New Estimates of Deaths in India during the Pandemic

The official Covid death count in India as of end-June 2021 is 400,000. The reality is, of course, catastrophically worse. Unlike in other countries, authoritative excess death estimates based on official data have not been available because government recording of deaths, especially at the center, has been lagging. In new research, we provide three different estimates of such excess deaths based on three different data sources, each requiring different assumptions and methodologies.

An image of school children learning on a tablet.

A Symposium on Girin Beeharry’s Manifesto for Global Education

Earlier this year, Girin Beeharry stepped down as the inaugural director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s global education program. But he’s not going quietly.  His recent essay, “The Pathway to Progress on SDG 4,” is essentially a manifesto for international actors in the education sector.  In it, Girin diagnoses deep failures in the sector he’s helped shape in recent years, and lays out his vision for what needs to change to get back on track toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of quality education for all (SDG4).

Chart showing that the actual pass rates and the rates of our sample, with the same students sitting for multiple tests, show almost identical variation year-to-year

Can Ghana Maintain School Quality After Abolishing Secondary School Fees? We May Never Know.

Each year over two million secondary-school students across Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and The Gambia sit coordinated tests known as the WASSCE. In a new CGD working paper, undertaken by researchers from CGD and IEPA-Ghana, we look at English and maths papers in West Africa’s leading high-stakes exams and show that they can vary significantly in difficulty from year-to-year. If exams are not comparable over time then this has implications for countries that rely on results as they make education policy and for fairness for the candidates who sit them.

Graph showing that vaccination rates will rise much more quickly in wealthy countries, with the gap peaking in early 2022, then eventually closing in 2023

How Biden Can End “Vaccine Apartheid”

Building on spectacular scientific achievements, the rich world’s vaccine response to the pandemic within its borders has been (with notable exceptions) commendable. But the response of the international community has been mystifyingly myopic and unconscionably delinquent. We’re headed toward global “vaccine apartheid.” Visibly leading the charge to vaccinate the world, with significant political and financial commitments, offers the US the chance to regain considerable soft power.