Asim, Salman

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Last updated: June 12, 2024
Salman Asim is a senior economist in the Education Global Practice at the World Bank, currently leading the World Bank’s engagement on technology and innovation in K-12 education, adult learning systems for 21st-century skills, and labor market transitions in response to green technologies and automation (artificial intelligence/digital) for education programs in China, the Republic of Korea, and Mongolia. Previously, he led the World Bank’s operations on systemwide basic education reforms in Ethiopia and Malawi, delivering US$250 million in International Development Association and Global Partnership for Education investments in these countries. He further co-led the design and implementation for the Education Program for Results (US$200 million) and led analytical products in Tanzania. He has also worked on education programs in South Asia and on several impact evaluations in the Development Economics Research Group. He has published in peer-reviewed journals. Asim recently led the large-scale Malawi Longitudinal School Survey with US$5 million in external research grants. His work in Malawi won the Joyce Cain Award for Distinguished Research on People of African Descent from the Comparative and International Education Society. Asim is a Rhodes Scholar and holds an M.Phil. in economics from the University of Oxford.

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  • Publication
    What Matters for Learning in Malawi? Evidence from the Malawi Longitudinal School Survey
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-06-10) Asim, Salman; Casley Gera, Ravinder
    Since the introduction of free primary education in 1994, Malawi has achieved rapid expansion in access to school, but the resulting rapid growth in enrollments have outstripped the increase in resources and capacity of the system to deliver learning. The result is an education system with widespread overcrowding and large disparities in conditions, access, and learning outcomes between schools. "What Matters for Learning in Malawi? Evidence from the Malawi Longitudinal School Survey" presents one of the most comprehensive pictures ever presented of conditions, practices, and learning outcomes in a low-income country. Using data from a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of more than 500 schools; 4,000 teachers; and a gender-balanced, random sample of more than 13,000 grade 4 students, this book presents a robust analysis of the school-, teacher-, and student-level characteristics that prevent students from learning. The analysis reveals a strong relationship between the remoteness of a school’s location and inequities in school conditions, including the availability and condition of infrastructure, teaching and learning materials, finance, staffing, and supervision. Large class sizes limit the effectiveness of even skilled and highly motivated teachers. Poor learning outcomes are also evident in schools with high proportions of students who have illiterate parents; speak minority languages; are older than the typical age for their grade; and, particularly, have a poor mindset. A dedicated chapter focused on girls’ learning shows that student-level characteristics account for the majority of variation in learning outcomes; of those characteristics, gender is associated with the biggest inequities. The book introduces a new Disadvantage Index (DI) as tool to understand the ways in which multiple dimensions of disadvantage at the school level interact, and it models the impact of investing in low-cost classrooms and additional lower primary teachers at the most disadvantaged schools. What Matters for Learning in Malawi? will be of interest to researchers, educators, and policy makers who have an interest in improving learning outcomes in low-income countries and populations.