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  • Publication
    Seizing Opportunities of a Lifetime: The Timor-Leste Human Capital Review
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-17) Andrews, Kathryn; Teixeira, Janssen; Meidina, Ilsa; Nagpal, Somil
    Timor-Leste is facing a human capital crisis. Children born in Timor-Leste today will be less than half as productive as adults as they could be if they enjoyed complete education and full health. Moreover, the Petroleum Fund, the main driver of the economy since the country’s independence in 2002, risks being depleted within a decade, threatening the sustainability of Timor-Leste’s economy, as well as health, education, and social protection systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified and accelerated these challenges and deepened socioeconomic and geographic inequalities across the country. To be ready for a future that will be primarily driven by the country’s human capital assets, the time available to Timor-Leste is limited and the task at hand an enormous one. Despite this daunting outlook, there are opportunities of a lifetime that need to be seized now to address this crisis. The country’s population is primarily young, and a rapidly closing window of opportunity exists to build high levels of human capital through quality education, health, nutrition, and social protection. By capitalizing on the youth bulge and translating it into a demographic dividend, the people of Timor-Leste can become the drivers of the country’s economic growth. Eight key messages can be distilled from the 2023 Timor-Leste Human Capital Review (HCR). These messages serve as a common reference point for the Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL) and other stakeholders active in human development to identify short- and medium-term priorities for investment in health, education, and social protection. Together, these can yield individual-level and macro-level economic benefits and improve development outcomes.
  • Publication
    Making Teacher Policy Work
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-08) World Bank
    This report zooms into what lies behind the success or failure of teacher policies: how teachers experience these policies, and how systems scale and sustain these policies. The report argues that for policies to be successful, they need to be designed and implemented with careful consideration of the barriers that could hinder teachers’ take-up of the policy (individual-level barriers), and the barriers that could hinder the implementation and sustainability of policies at scale (system-level barriers). Teacher polices too often fail to yield meaningful changes in teaching and learning because both their design and implementation overlook how teachers perceive, understand, and act in response to the policy and because they miss what is needed at a system level to achieve and sustain change. To avoid this, policymakers need to go beyond what works in teacher policy to how to support teachers in different contexts to adopt what works, while making sure it is implementable at scale and can be sustained over time. This requires unpacking teacher policies to consider the barriers that might hinder success at both the individual and system levels, and then putting in place strategies to overcome these barriers. The report proposes a practical framework to uncover the black box of effective teacher policy and discusses the factors that enable their scalability and sustainability. The framework distills insights from behavioral science to identify the barriers that stand in the way of the changes targeted by the policy and to develop strategies to overcome them. The framework is used to examine questions such as: What changes are required at an individual level to achieve the specific goals of a given teacher policy What barriers constrain the adoption of these changes How can the policy be better designed and implemented to tackle these barriers Moreover, the report draws on evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies on successful and failed teacher policies to examine the factors that make teacher policy operationally and politically feasible such that it can work at scale and be sustained over time.
  • Publication
    Mozambique Gender Assessment: Leveraging Women and Girls' Potential
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-10-13) World Bank
    This gender assessment has been prepared as an input for the preparation of the World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for Mozambique (2023–2027). However, this assessment is not limited to areas of the World Bank’s current country engagement; rather, it seeks to provide a general overview of the key challenges and opportunities facing Mozambican women and girls across different dimensions of their lives. The assessment adopts a life-cycle approach identifying key inflection points in the lives of women and girls that either limit or facilitate their empowerment.The assessment is based on a desk review of available studies, reports, and data from Mozambique, and draws on global evidence, largely from the Africa region.
  • Publication
    Opportunities for All: Brazil Policy Notes 2022
    (Washington, DC, 2022-12) World Bank
    This package of Public Policy Notes is directed to Brazilian policy makers and society to present the World Bank Group’s overview of key challenges facing the country at this juncture, and possible ways forward to address them. We present an agenda prioritized around four issues of core relevance to Brazil’s recovery and its future resilience. First is the goal of financing development sustainably given the immediate challenge of situating the country’s enormous growth, inclusion and climate action needs within a credible macroeconomic framework and efficient and effective fiscal policies. The second theme addressed in this note is building opportunities through productivity-led growth. With the growing reliance of Brazilians on social assistance policies, it is critical to keep sight of growth and jobs as the most important vehicles for the dignity and upward mobility of the poor. Third is increasing the capabilities and economic inclusion of the poor so that they are better able to capture the opportunities that come with growth. Thefourth theme we address in this note is meeting Brazil’s potential as a as a leader in green and climate friendly development. This document is accompanied by a package of six policy presentations and an underlying set of more detailed policy reports that can be accesses here: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/brazil.
  • Publication
    Internet Access and Use in Latin America and the Caribbean: From the LAC High Frequency Phone Surveys 2021
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-09) World Bank; United Nations Development Programme
    While most households in Latin America and the Caribbean use mobile broadband via smartphones, expensive fees and poor service quality pose major obstacles for potential users. In addition, power outages are a challenge for nearly 40 percent of existing mobile broadband users. Addressing the region’s need for faster, cheaper, and more reliable internet connections is thus a policy and investment priority. There are persistent and significant gaps in digital infrastructure between countries in the region, as well as weighty rural-urban gaps within some countries. Bridging these digital divides will be key to inclusive digital transformation. Households with tertiary education are on average more connected (with better quality service and higher expenditures on data) compared to the rest of the population. As education level is correlated with income, digital inequalities mirror and may amplify existing social inequalities – underscoring the critical need to address them. Over two-thirds of connected households in the region are concerned about privacy and security when using the internet. However, households on average across Latin America and the Caribbean still reported increasing their use of the internet amid the pandemic, suggesting that neither issue poses a barrier to their internet use at present.
  • Publication
    The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery
    (UNESCO, Paris, UNICEF, New York, and World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-12-10) UNESCO; UNICEF; World Bank
    Even before Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hit, the world was already experiencing a learning crisis. 258 million primary- and secondary-school age children and youth were out of school. Many children who were in school were learning very little: 53 percent of all ten-year-old children in low- and middle-income countries were experiencing learning poverty, meaning that they were unable to read and understand a simple age-appropriate text at age 10. This report spotlights how COVID-19 has deepened the education crisis and charts a course for creating more resilient education systems for the future. Section one gives introduction. Section two documents COVID-19’s impacts on learning levels by presenting updated simulations and bringing together the latest documented evidence on learning loss from over 28 countries. Section three explores how the crisis has widened inequality and had greater impacts on already disadvantaged children and youth. Section four reviews evidence on learning recovery from past crises and highlights current policy responses that appear most likely to have succeeded in stemming learning losses, while recognizing that the evidence is still in a nascent stage. The final section discusses how to build on the investments made and the lessons learned during the pandemic to accelerate learning recovery and emerge from the crisis with increased education quality, resilience, and equity in the longer term.
  • Publication
    Recovering Growth: Rebuilding Dynamic Post‐COVID-19 Economies amid Fiscal Constraints
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-10-06) World Bank
    After its worst economic crisis in 100 years, Latin America and the Caribbean countries are emerging from the COVID‐19 pandemic. The need to recover dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable growth to redress both the legacy of the pandemic and long‐standing social needs has never been more acute. However, despite progress in some areas, the region is facing a weaker recovery than expected given the favorable international tailwinds and is likely return to the low growth rates of the 2010s. Moreover, growth could be further slowed by both internal and external factors: the emergence of a new variant of the virus, a rise in international interest rates to combat global inflation, and high levels of debt in both the private and public sector. Beyond offering the current macroeconomic outlook of the region and the near‐term challenges it faces, this report explores three broad areas where growth‐advancing policies and reforms could be undertaken within a constrained fiscal context: mobilizing sources of revenue that appear to be growth-neutral; improving public spending efficiency to free up resources for other purposes; and reallocating spending to areas with highest growth and social impact.
  • Publication
    The Fast Track to New Skills: Short-Cycle Higher Education Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-09-29) Ferreyra, María Marta; Dinarte, Lelys; Urzúa, Sergio; Bassi, Marina
    Higher education in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has expanded dramatically in the new millennium, yet enrollment in short-cycle programs (SCPs) is still relatively low. Shorter and more practical than bachelor’s programs, SCPs can form skilled human capital fast. The economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated underlying trends, such as automation, the use of electronic platforms, and the need for lifelong learning. Addressing these demands requires the urgent upskilling and reskilling of the population—a task for which SCPs are uniquely suited. The Fast Track to New Skills: Short-Cycle Higher Education Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean explores the labor market outcomes and returns of SCPs, examines their providers, and identifies the practices adopted by the best programs. Relying on unique data that includes a novel survey of SCP directors in five LAC countries, it finds that while SCPs generate, on average, good labor market outcomes, they vary greatly in quality. SCP providers respond quickly and flexibly to local economy needs; and specific practices related to faculty, job search assistance, and interaction with prospective employers are distinctive of the best programs. Drawing on these findings, The Fast Track to New Skills discusses how to create an environment where good programs are offered and students have the interest and means to attend them. It draws attention to a higher education sector that has been typically overlooked, both in research and policy. The Fast Track to New Skills will be of interest to policy makers, researchers, and the public at large.
  • Publication
    Will Every Child Be Able to Read by 2030? Defining Learning Poverty and Mapping the Dimensions of the Challenge: Definición de pobreza de aprendizajes y un mapeo de la magnitud del desafío
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-03) Goldemberg, Diana; Azevedo, Joao Pedro; Montoya, Silvia; Nayar, Reema; Rogers, Halsey; Stacy, Brian William; Saavedra, Jaime
    In October 2019, the World Bank and UNESCO Institute for Statistics proposed a new metric, Learning Poverty, designed to spotlight low levels of learning and track progress toward ensuring that all children acquire foundational skills. This paper provides the technical background for that indicator, and for its main findings—first, that even before COVID-19, 53 percent of all children in low- and middle-income countries could not read with comprehension by age 10, and second, that at pre-COVID-19 trends, the Learning Poverty rate was on track to fall only to 44 percent by 2030, far short of the universal literacy envisioned under the Sustainable Development Goals. The paper contributes to the literature in four ways. First, it formally describes the new synthetic Learning Poverty metric, which combines the dimensions of learning with schooling and thus reflects the learning of all children, and it presents, for the first time, standard errors associated with the proposed measure. Second, it documents how this indicator is calculated at the country, regional, and global levels, and discusses the robustness associated with different aggregation approaches. Third, it documents historical rates of progress and compares them with the rate of progress that would be required for countries to halve Learning Poverty by 2030, as envisioned under the learning target announced by the World Bank in 2019. Fourth, it provides heterogeneity analysis by gender, region, and other variables, and documents learning poverty’s strong correlation with metrics of learning for other ages. These results show that the Learning Poverty indicator, together with improved measurement of learning, can be used as an evidence-based tool to promote progress toward all children reading by age 10—a prerequisite for achieving all the ambitious education aspirations included under Sustainable Development Goals 4.
  • Publication
    Loud and Clear: Effective Language of Instruction Policies for Learning
    (Washington, DC, 2021) World Bank
    Part 1 addresses why we should care about LoI (Language of Instruction) issues and the major challenges involved. Its four sections are entitled: (i) why should we care (ii) how big is the problem (iii) the role of political economy; and (iv) diverse LoI contexts. Part 2 presents existing solutions (in section 5) and proposes a detailed way forward for the WB Education Global Practice (section 6). It should be noted that the paper does not claim to possess or propose a complete set of technical solutions for the myriad of difficult policy issues involved. By enhancing engagement and devoting adequate resources to the problem, existing solutions will be deployed, and new solutions devised. Increased partnership and knowledge sharing will be part of this, as will be the testing of innovative approaches. The new approach will involve learning at the individual and institutional level, with an intensity of engagement commensurate with the urgency of the issue.