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  • 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
    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.
  • Publication
    Structuring Effective 1-1 Support: Technical Guidance Note
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021) Wilichowski, Tracy; Popova, Anna
    Teachers in low- and middle-income countries often lack the knowledge to improve student achievement and exhibit weak cognitive skills and ineffective teaching practices. Teacher professional development (TPD) programs that are embedded as part of a larger comprehensive capacity development strategy and include ongoing individualized feedback have shown large positive effects on teachers' instruction, and, subsequently, on student learning outcomes. However, what this comprehensive professional development entails in practice has not been systematically documented. The questions are who in the system is best placed to support teachers; how many teachers should these individuals support; how often should these individuals visit teachers; and how long should these individuals observe and provide feedback. This technical guidance note provides explicit guidance for policymakers on how to structure the delivery of a successful in-service TPD coaching intervention. This note also can be used by Task Team Leaders (TTLs) to establish dialogue with their clients and to inform project preparation and supervision.