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Remembering Girindre (Girin) Beeharry (4th December 1967 – 29th September 2021)

We are mourning the loss of our colleague and friend, Girin Beeharry. Girin was an intellectual force and a true impatient optimist, in the spirit of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he spent much of his career. He was outraged by the poor quality of schooling available to children in many parts of the developing world, and frustrated by what he saw as the lack of any serious global effort to do anything about it.

A school in Afghanistan. Photo by UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Keeping Afghan Children in School: Five Recommendations for the International Community

Calls have been made for the international community to protect and support education for Afghan children at home and abroad. Last week Gordon Brown urged the G7 to continue funding education for girls in Afghanistan, as long as the Taliban government allows girls to attend school. We agree, but with caveats. We urge the G7 and the broader international community to step up their own hosting of Afghan refugees, to ensure that education is included in humanitarian responses, and to embrace local solutions as they move to protect education for Afghan girls and boys.

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.

Figure showing men are more likely to say women shouldnt work outside the home than women are

Promoting Gender Equality in Pakistan Means Tackling Both Real and Misperceived Gender Norms

The education gaps that are closing between boys and girls in many countries persist in Pakistan. Our large new household survey on the factors associated with differences in gender norms sheds light on what policymakers can do in the post-COVID world to address the gender gap and improve opportunities for girls. Here are four things we learnt from the survey results.

Students in a classroom in Bangladesh. Photo by Dominic Chavez / World Bank

Fund Girls’ Education. Don’t Greenwash It.

You might think girls' education and climate change are quite different issues. But, with money for and political attention on climate change growing, savvy education donors and advocacy organisations are increasingly making links between the two. The UK’s FCDO, for instance, claims girls in poor countries are “among the greatest assets we have in responding to the climate crisis.” 

We argue this strategy is empirically and morally flawed. There is no need to greenwash education.

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).

Time-series chart showing that the first round of survey collection happened during the first COVID peak in Pakistan, and the third round of data collection happened before the second, current peak.

New Data on Learning Loss in Pakistan

To get a better picture of the effects of the pandemic on education in Pakistan, we carried out another round of our survey of students and parents. We found gender differences in learning loss, little engagement with government teleschool, dropping parental support for further closures, and more.

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