Education Notes

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Education Notes is a series produced by the World Bank to share lessons learned from innovative approaches to improving education practice and policy around the globe. Background work for this piece was done in partnership, with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than 1 billion people, half of whom will be under 25 years old by 2050, is a diverse ...

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    When Governments Get Creative : Adult Literacy in Senegal
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2004-07) Nordtveit, Bjorn Harald
    This report summarizes lessons learned and key policy findings on the World Bank's work in education in Senegal. In 1993, Senegal established a new policy for literacy programs based on partnership between civil society and the state: the state ensures policy leadership, overall coordination, monitoring and evaluation; the providers (civil society organizations, such as non-profits, village associations, and language associations) implement local literacy activities; an independent contract-managing agency handles contracts and rapid transfer of funds to providers. The World Bank financed project achieved the following results, which were similar to those achieved by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA): about 190,000 participants, of which 87 percent were women, enrolled in literacy classes over a five-year period; capacity in government and civil society organizations improved consistently; the dropout rate averaged 15 percent (much lower than for most adult literacy programs); most participants achieved learning mastery levels for reading (although not for math). The results of the literacy training exceeded target levels. Learning outcomes systematically improved as a result of two factors: providers became more experienced; and research led to improved procedures. The report notes that weak monitoring and evaluation contributed to the following shortcomings: re-financing of low-quality providers; lack of information about impact. As a result of these problems, some of the literacy courses did not provide adequate learning for the participants.
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    Guinea : A Steady Growth Path to Achieve Education for All
    (Washington, DC, 2002-04) World Bank
    Guinea is one of the few countries world-wide to have sustained over an entire decade the primary school enrollment rate increases necessary to achieve the key Dakar education-for-all goals without degradation of quality. Gross enrollment rate increased almost 10% annually from 1991-2001, with girls' enrollment increasing at 12% annually each year. Gross primary enrollments increased from 28% to 61% over this ten-year period, in spite of a weak macroeconomic environment. The Guinea case, then, provides guidance on how resource-poor countries can plan and follow a steady course toward Universal Primary Education through policy change and hard work, even where conditions, on the surface, are not particularly favorable.
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    Achieving Universal Primary Education in Uganda : The ‘Big Bang’ Approach
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-04) Bertoncino, Carla ; Murphy, Paud ; Wang, Lianqin
    Uganda's primary enrollment rates have risen remarkably since 1996, when the Government eliminated fees in a bold attempt to achieve universal primary education. But the massive expansion in numbers has affected the quality of education; and it will be a major challenge to cope with the rising demand for post-primary education. Key lessons learned include: Successful education reform in developing countries like Uganda require high levels of political and education management commitment that is sustained over a long period. The big bang approach can be a very powerful policy instrument for getting all the children into school and Uganda had managed to do this very well. Timely, flexible donor support is a critical factor.