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Children’s mobility in Ghana: an SBHA Special Issue

15 Nov 2016 02:18:17 GMT

Children throughout Sub-Saharan Africa are extraordinarily mobile. Every day children travel to school, to markets, to fetch water and firewood, to work on farms and take farm produce to grinding mills, as well as to visit friends and family and to play. However, children’s mobility is relatively invisible: most journeys that children undertake cover short distances and the vast majority are on foot. As such, very little research has been conducted into the extent of children’s mobility and impacts on education, livelihoods, health and well-being.

In this special issue of Society, Biology and Human Affairs, a group of Ghanian scholars co-ordinated by guest editors Drs Gina Porter and Kate Hampshire, present the results of various aspects of a larger project on ‘Children, Transport and Mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa’, by presenting a series of papers on children’s mobility in Ghana.

Research used an innovative child-centred approach, in which 70 children (aged 11-19 when they started the project) received training and supervision to conduct research on mobility issues among their peers in their home communities.

Article titles include:

  • Children’s mobility in Ghana: An overview of methods and findigns from the Ghana research study
  • Work and happiness: Children’s activities in Ghana
  • Child labour or skills training? A rights-based analysis of children’s contributions to household survival in Ghana
  • Child fostering and education in Ghana
  • Exploring the influence of household internal migration and parents’ main livelihood activities on children’s occupational aspirations in Ghana
  • Mobility and economic constraints as key barriers to children’s healthseeking in Ghana
  • Moving on two wheels

While the papers underline how mobile children in Ghana are, both on a daily basis and undertaking longer-term movements, another key issue to emerge from the study was the limitations and constraints that children face in terms of mobility. Getting to schools, health centres, markets, and other places that they need or want to go, is often very difficult. The difficulties can be particularly acute for those living in remote rural areas, but even children living in urban and peri-urban settlements often struggle to travel around their communities easily and safely. Large distances, high costs of public transport, infrequent transport services to rural areas, and dangers experienced while traveling (such as the risks of traffic accidents, or encountering hazards along the way) mean that daily journeys to school, for example, could become a major ordeal, and even unfeasible for some children.




Ghana's youth dividend?

11 Nov 2016 12:01:36 GMT

Young people are one of Africa’s greatest potential assets for its continued development. The ‘Ghana Opportunities for Transitioning Post-Secondary School Students’ research project investigates the transition of recent senior high school leavers into post-secondary education and the labour force. The project informs policy on education in senior high schools; admissions procedures into post-secondary institutions; and youth expectations and labour market outcomes.

Policy conclusions

  • policy makers must increase attention on youth needs and aspirations in order to avoid widespread social unrest
  • better co-ordination of examination results and university registration deadlines could improve the transition from senior high school
  • better information about student ability and the realistic prospects for continuing education would ease the transition of less academically capable students into further education or the labour market



Agency and advocacy: disabled students in Higher Education in Ghana and Tanzania

11 Nov 2016 11:12:46 GMT

Between 10% and 15% of the world’s population are thought to be disabled. The 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an example of emerging global policy architecture for human rights for disabled people. Article 24 states that disabled people should receive the support required to facilitate their effective education. In research, links between higher education access, equalities and disability are being explored by scholars of the sociology of higher education. However, with the exception of some small-scale studies from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Rwanda, Namibia, Uganda and Pakistan, literature tends to come from the global North. Yet there is a toxic correlation between disability and poverty – especially in the global South.

This article is based on a review of the global literature on disability in higher education and interview findings from the project ‘Widening Participation in Higher Education in Ghana and Tanzania: developing an Equity Scorecard’, (WPHEGT) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Department for International Development. A central finding was that while disability was associated with constraints, misrecognition, frustration, exclusion and even danger, students’ agency, advocacy and achievement in higher education offered opportunities for transforming spoiled identities.

The students in the WPHEGT study have shown their detailed knowledge of what they need to enable them to contribute to their societies materially and socially. Their narratives of struggle to succeed in education demonstrate the agency and advocacy that they have exercised individually and collectively through disabled people’s organisations. For many of the students, disability was at least partly about a positive identity rather than only about impairment.

It was the built environment and social relations that created difficulties for them as they sought to develop their capacities and realise their educational and professional potential. Questions remain about the disabled students who were unable to maintain the struggle to be educated in schools largely serving to select the few rather than educate all. The students in this study aspired to be advocates for other disabled people as they sought to redefine what it means to be a disabled person in Ghana and Tanzania. Universities need to provide an education in learning to live together, for disabled and non-disabled students alike. As a pivotal knowledge hub, HE needs to play an enhanced role in the creation and dissemination of knowledge by and with disabled people in order to challenge prejudice and promote social inclusion. In a globalised knowledge economy, the value of HE needs to be seen in terms of social justice, well-being, wealth distribution and poverty alleviation, and not only as wealth creation.




Mobile phones and education in Sub-Saharan Africa: from youth practice to public policy

08 Nov 2016 12:09:14 GMT

Young people's use of mobile phones is expanding exponentially across Africa. Its transformative potential is exciting, but findings presented in this paper indicate how the downside of mobile phone use in African schools is becoming increasingly apparent. Drawing on mixed-methods field research in 24 sites across Ghana, Malawi and South Africa and associated discussions with educational institutions, public policy makers and network providers, we examine the current state of play and offer suggestions towards a more satisfactory alignment of practice and policy which promotes the more positive aspects of phone use in educational contexts and militates against more damaging ones.

Through this paper, the authors aim to contribute to demands for a more substantial body of evidence in African contexts. Mixed-methods field research in 24 sites across Ghana, Malawi and South Africa and associated discussions with mobile phone network providers, educational institutions and policy makers suggests that while there are some positive aspects of mobile phone use for African pupils, their downside is also becoming increasingly apparent, especially in urban and peri-urban sites.

This research start with some background details (key literature, study methodology and phone ownership and usage), and then charts available evidence of positive educational value of mobile phones in the research sites before moving on to examine a range of negative impacts associated with youth (and teacher) practice. The paper then asks how, and to what extent, should and can public policy address issues such as phone-related classroom disruption (whether caused by pupil or teachers' phones), lengthy periods spent by young people on social network sites, disruption in adolescent sleep patterns associated with cheap night calls and widespread circulation of pornography? The final section of the paper considers the potential to address some of the most negative aspects of phone use in educational contexts and to promote more positive aspects through engagement with policy makers.




Teenage childbearing and educational attainment in South Africa

08 Nov 2016 11:04:52 GMT

Teenage childbearing and attainment at school in South Africa are investigated using nationally-representative data from the National Income Dynamics Study. The analysis focuses on the outcomes by 2010 of a panel of 673 childless young women aged 15–18 in 2008. Girls who had their first birth by 2010 had 4.4 times the odds of leaving school and 2.2 times the odds of failing to matriculate, controlling for other factors. Girls from the highest-income households were unlikely, and girls who were behind at school relatively likely, to give birth. More than half the new mothers enrolled in school in 2010. They were most likely to enroll if they were rural residents who resided with their own mother and she had attended secondary school.

Poor educational attainment, teenage motherhood and childhood poverty are interrelated problems in South Africa: for middle-class families, avoiding early motherhood contributes to the intergenerational transmission of privilege. Dissuading girls in their mid-teens who are behind at school from becoming teenage mothers may require intervention at an earlier stage of their schooling.




What development interventions work? The long-term impact and cost-effectiveness of anti-poverty programs in Bangladesh

08 Nov 2016 03:55:42 GMT

While Government and NGOs in Bangladesh have undertaken many interventions designed to help individuals and households escape poverty, few studies have evaluated their long-term impact. Using a newly available longitudinal data set, this project attempted to: (1) assess the long-term impact of three antipoverty interventions in Bangladesh—microfinance, the introduction of new agricultural technologies, and educational transfers—on a range of monetary and non-monetary measures of well-being; (2) examine institutional and contextual factors underlying the performance of these interventions; and (3) compare their cost-effectiveness in attaining their development objectives.
 
Differences between short- and long-term impacts of the agricultural technologies arose from dissemination and targeting mechanisms; divisibility of the technology; and intrahousehold resource allocation. Programs disseminated through women’s groups, while having smaller impacts on household per capita expenditures and household assets, improved women’s asset holdings and child nutritional status. Limited coverage, lack of geographical targeting, and the declining real value of the Primary Education Stipend were responsible for the remarkably small impact of this nationwide program. Microfinance emerged as an important cause of wellbeing improvement in the qualitative work, while the impact of the PES was limited by its low monetary value.
 
The life-histories showed little long-term benefit from the agricultural technology programmes, possibly because they were bundled with microfinance and separate impacts were difficult to attribute. The project utilized an active user engagement strategy involving regular policy workshops and media coverage in Bangladesh to stimulate policy dialogue among key stakeholders and contribute to the design of future anti-poverty interventions



Factors shaping the HIV-competence of two primary schools in rural Zimbabwe

04 Nov 2016 04:36:05 GMT

School attendance often has positive impacts on the well-being of HIV-affected and HIV-vulnerable children in sub-Saharan Africa. In the context of the growing emphasis on the need for schools to go ‘beyond education’, international policy accords schools and teachers a central role in the care and protection of such children, particularly in relation to facilitating their school access and their health and well-being. However, much remains to be learned about (i) the readiness and ability of schools to take on these roles, and (ii) the impacts of wider contextual factors on school efforts.

This paper explores these issues through a multi-method study of two primary schools in a rural Zimbabwean province, one in a rural area and one in a small town. The rural school is located in a relatively settled rural farming settlement, and small-town primary school is located in a small roadside town. Compared to the small-town school, the rural school is associated with

  • higher levels of school attendance by HIV-affected children in its catchment area; and
  • higher well-being scores among HIV-affected children


The authors use the method of dichotomous case comparison, involving comparisons of very different cases, to flag up factors facilitating or hindering each school in providing support and care for HIV-affected children.




The role of schools in supporting HIV-affected children in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review

04 Nov 2016 02:35:18 GMT

HIV-affected children (themselves sick/with sick parents/orphaned) are particularly vulnerable to poor nutrition, mental and physical health, sexual abuse and poverty - which consequently tend to have a negative impact on their school enrolment and academic progress.

Reviewing existing literature on schools and the health and well-being of vulnerable children, this literature review aims to address the following question:

What interventions have been made to improve school environments to facilitate support for the health and well-being of vulnerable children in Zimbabwe and similar socio-economic contexts in sub-Saharan Africa?

Establishing an overview of existing literature on this topic is essential to learn from previous experiences and identify what supplementary research is needed in order to fully understand the potential possibilities of school capacities to facilitate contexts of care and support for HIV-affected children.

This review has demonstrated positive correlations between school enrolment and the health of children, as well as acknowledged the potential of school-based interventions to support the health of children and promote their health knowledge. However, there is a need for schools to go beyond knowledge and provide more comprehensive support for HIV-affected and orphaned children, particularly in light of the dwindling capacity of struggling households to provide adequate care and support for children in their care. Rather than relying on the implementation of external resources to do this, there is a need to supplement existing research exploring the pathways through which some schools in challenging socio-economic contexts manage to support HIV-affected learners by drawing on already available resources and by involving local communities.

Furthermore, there is a need to explore the interface between schools and external organizations in order to strengthen supportive school environments. This should be done by developing the existing literature with more in-depth qualitative research focusing on children’s perspectives, allowing HIV-affected children to express how they experience the school environment and cope with adversity in their everyday lives.




New knowledge on children and young people: a synthesis of evidence - summary paper

14 Oct 2016 03:22:41 GMT

Improving children and young people’s (CYP) wellbeing, and recognising the role they can play in creating a more sustainable world will be critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This timely report provides insights into how ESRC-DFID funded research has provided new knowledge that can inform and strengthen policy making in relation to CYP issues and help meet global development ambitions.

Key research findings:

  • recognising young people’s agency and the role they can play in research and policy making around the issues that matter to them most is critical
  • enhanced participation and community engagement programmes amongst the most marginalised can contribute to reduction in inequalities of new born survival rates
  • religion can have a significant impact on child wellbeing outcomes in India
  • CYP’s psychological wellbeing is positively associated with staying in school and negatively associated with entering the labour market in China. However for CYP in Tanzania there is often a clash between their perceptions of the long term gain of education and the more immediate benefits of employment
  • marriage is often viewed by both CYP and their families as a key livelihood strategy
  • young people are using mobile technologies to access services and build up social capital. They also have concerns around mobile phones and the potential negative impact on their personal safety and wellbeing



Every last girl: free to live, free to learn, free from harm

11 Oct 2016 10:21:25 GMT

More than 700 million women in the world today were married before their 18th birthday and one in three of those women was married before age 15. Child marriage can trigger a cycle of disadvantage across every part of a girl’s life.

Maternal mortality is the second leading cause of death for adolescent girls aged 15–19 years old (after suicide). An estimated 70,000 adolescent girls die each year from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Every year 2.5 million girls under 16 give birth.

Aside from child marriage and inadequate sexual and reproductive helath care, this report highlights further barriers to girls' equality, including gender-based violence, trafficking, economic exclusion when household resources are limited and boys are prioritised, education and learning gaps, and gender issues arising from conflict and disasters.

This report identifies the three specific Guarantees to Girls that governments must make - fair finance, equal treatment and accountability - that governments must make to reach excluded children.




Balancing school and work with new opportunities: changes in children’s gendered time use in Ethiopia (2006-2013)

29 Sep 2016 10:04:26 GMT

Focusing on the relationship between children’s work and school attendance, this paper explores time use trends among boys and girls in Ethiopia. It does this by comparing the time use of two cohorts of children at the same age, 12 years, but interviewed at two different points in time, 2006 and 2013.

In assessing the pattern over this period the authors have taken four contributory factors into account; gendered norms and aspirations for children’s futures; local opportunities for both schooling and work; the characteristics of schools and different kinds of work; and intra-household dynamics.

Broad trends are identified through survey data and case studies of two rural communities that have experienced rapid economic and social transformation, with associated increases in gendered opportunities for work. 

The paper finds that overall there is a small reduction in the hours worked by 12-year-olds over the seven years.
However, this trend is mainly in urban areas. Rural boys are found to have increased their working hours. By examining two case-study communities that have experienced increasing economic development and gendered work opportunities the research finds that, contrary to expectations, the increased returns to work have lowered boys’ education aspirations and increased their school drop-out rates relative to girls’.



Low social and political returns to education in the Arab World

18 Aug 2016 02:26:48 GMT

The policy discussion in the Arab world has rarely focused on the social and political returns of education, areas of keen interest in more democratic countries. This is unfortunate. The evidence uncovered in the author's recent research, and summarised here, is that the social and political returns to education are in fact much lower in the Arab world than in the rest of the world – in other words, educated Arabs are much less emancipated by their education on political and social values compared to their global peers. This means that unless policymakers start focusing on reforming the type of education Arab youth receive, it will remain difficult to foster more open societies in the Arab world.

Arab societies urgently need to start looking at how to improve education systems, not just in ways to improve the marketability of individuals, but as importantly, to improve their social and political impact on society, such as by strengthening a sense of community, beefing up values of civic engagement, inculcating democratic prin - ciples, supporting gender equality, and promoting social tolerance.




A Moving Issue: Children and young people’s transport and mobility constraints in Africa

12 Aug 2016 01:07:23 GMT

Children and young people are rarely at the forefront of transport studies, despite the fact that their ability to access health and educational facilities is crucial to the achievement of internatioanl development goals. To address this knowledge gap a collaborative research project gathered evidence of the specific mobility constraints experienced by children in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa as they attempt to access the facilities and services that are important to their lives. The project explored the travel challenges thaty children face through their own eyes alongside traditional adult-led research methods. It looked at their access to health, education and other services, at the lack of direct information on how mobility constraints impact on children's current and future livelihood opportunities, and at the lack of available guidelines on how to tackle them. This issue of Forum News highlights the key findings of the project, shares relevant resources and asks where do we go from here?




Adolescent girls in Egypt

14 Jul 2016 02:09:20 GMT

Girls under age 20—around 19 million of them—make up one-fifth of Egypt’s population.1 In 2015, about 8 million of these girls were adolescents between ages 10 and 19. According to the latest projections from the United Nations (UN) Population Division, this group will grow to 11.5 million in 2030—a 44 percent increase in 15 years. Improving the lives of adolescent girls in Egypt requires a national response that cuts across development sectors and programs. Such a response is necessary because of the girls’ demographic significance, and more importantly because they are vulnerable to harmful practices such as female genital cutting (FGC) and early marriage that violate girls’ rights and hinder the country’s development.

This policy brief presents the latest data on girls’ education, early marriage, and FGC in Egypt, to illustrate improvements in the situation of adolescent girls as well as the gaps. It points to Egypt’s rapid population growth and wide socioeconomic inequalities as major challenges hindering efforts to improve girls’ lives. It calls for coordinated, national efforts to implement recently adopted policies to uphold girls’ rights and bring about change. Lifting girls up, by empowering them to reach their full potential, will also help lift the Egyptian nation.




The state of the World's children 2016: a fair chance for every child

28 Jun 2016 03:17:09 GMT

Every child has the right to health, education and protection, and every society has a stake in expanding children’s opportunities in life. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. The State of the World’s Children 2016 argues that progress for the most disadvantaged children is not only a moral, but also a strategic imperative. Stakeholders have a clear choice to make: invest in accelerated progress for the children being left behind, or face the consequences of a far more divided world by 2030.

The report begins with the most glaring inequity of all – disparities in child survival – and goes on to explore the underlying determinants of preventable child mortality. It argues that to meet the 2030 child survival target, we must urgently address persistent disparities in maternal health, the availability of  skilled birth attendants, adequate nutrition and access to basic services, as well as other factors such as discrimination, exclusion and a lack of knowledge about child feeding and the role of safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene in preventing childhood disease.

The discussion continues with a look at one of the most effective drivers of development and the greatest equalizer of opportunity: education. Without quality education, disadvantaged children are far more likely to be trapped as adults in low-skilled, poorly paid and insecure employment, preventing them from breaking intergenerational cycles of disadvantage. But a greater focus on early childhood development, on increasing education access and quality, and on providing education in emergencies will yield cascading benefits for both this generation and the next.

Having discussed two of the most glaring deprivations children face, this report then examines child poverty in all its dimensions – and the role social protection programmes play in reducing it. Arguing that child poverty is about more than income, it presents a case for combining measures to reduce income poverty with integrated solutions to the many deprivations experienced by children living in poverty.

Finally, as a call to action, the report concludes with a set of principles to guide more equity-focused policy, planning and public spending. These broad principles include expanding information about who is being left behind and why; improving integration to tackle the multiple dimensions of deprivation; fostering and fuelling Innovation to reach the hardest-to-reach children; increasing investment in equity-focused programmes; and driving involvement by communities and citizens around the world.

 

 




Beneficial effects of 12-week OM chanting on memory in school children

21 Jun 2016 10:35:58 GMT

Pranayama is a yogic practice where the subject prolongs and controls the breath, which helps to bring the conscious awareness in breathing; to reshape breathing habits and patterns. OM is one of the fundamental symbols used in the yoga tradition. It is Combination of A, U (O) and M, which symbolizes the three states of consciousness i.e., waking state, dream state and deep sleep respectively. Though, the sound of OM represents the primal vibration. The OM chanting is an important exhalation exercise.

This study was aimed to provide scientific evidence for beneficial effect of OM chanting on memory. The study study was conducted at Akshara group of institutions, Manthani, Telangana State, India, after obtaining institutional human ethical committee clearance. A total of 60 healthy and wiling female school children aged 12-15 years, were included in the study after obtaining informed consent, following inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Subjects were asked to sit in sukhasana and to inhalation deeply and then while exhaling should produce sound (chant) OM with the ability to continue until further exhalation is not possible. Intervention group participants, performed OM chanting once in a day for 30 minutes daily, between 6:30 AM to 7:00 AM, for 12 weeks under the supervision of yoga teacher. No significant difference was observed in demographic data of the participants. Spatial and verbal memory scores before intervention (baseline values), are not significantly different between control and intervention groups. Significant improvement in both spatial and verbal memory was observed in intervention group when compared to control group. The study further supports the beneficial effect of OM chanting on memory, and recommends adopting OM chanting in routine day life style for a better cognition and quality of life.




Mobilising a response to HIV, gender, youth and gender-based violence in South Africa: a toolkit for trainers and programme implementers

21 Jun 2016 04:42:54 GMT

This toolkit was produced as part of the Sexual HIV Prevention Project (SHIPP) to support in-house training on gender, HIV, youth, and community mobilisation for programme implementers working on HIV and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention at the district and community levels. The toolkit modules cover a range of topics and can be selected based on organisational needs and specific knowledge gaps among staff and volunteers. According to the toolkit, "an advantage of the modular arrangement is that rather than having to set aside large blocks of time for training workshops, exercises and modules can be conducted on a stand-alone basis through sessions as short as two to three hours, or, if time permits, over a day or several days, or intermittently over a number of weeks or months." The toolkit also provides a detailed outline of the key principles and techniques of participatory learning.

The following topic areas are covered:

  • Module 1: Gender concepts and definitions
  • Module 2: Gender roles and change
  • Module 3: GBV: intimate partner and non-partner domestic violence
  • Module 4: Links between GBV and HIV
  • Module 5: Gender and HIV policies
  • Module 6: Gender analysis and engaging men and boys
  • Module 7: Mobilising community action teams through community facilitators
  • Module 8: Youth vulnerability, HIV and GBV



Zambia's Child Grant Program: 48-month impact report

09 Jun 2016 11:15:27 GMT

In 2010, the government of the Republic of Zambia, through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCD MCH), began implementing the Child Grant cash transfer program (CGP) in three districts: Kaputa, Kalabo, and Shangombo. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by UNICEF Zambia in 2010 to design and implement a randomized controlled trial (RCT) for a 4-year impact evaluation of the program and to conduct the necessary data collection, analysis, and reporting.

This report presents findings from the 48-month follow-up study, updating results from the 24-month and 36-month impact reports, including impacts on expenditures, poverty, food security, living conditions, children, women, and productivity.

The overall results from the collection of evaluation reports over the 4-year period of 2010–2014 demonstrate unequivocally that common perceptions a bout cash transfers—that they are a hand-out and cause dependency, or lead to alcohol and tobacco consumption, or induce fertility—are not true in Zambia. The 1.49 multiplier effect, which is driven by productive activity, speaks directly to the response by poor, rural households in Zambia to use and manage the cash productively to improve their overall standard of living. Labour supply to off-farm work has
increased among CGP households, as has work in family enterprise. At no point during the 4-year evaluation have there been any positive impact s on alcohol and tobacco consumption, nor has there been any impact on fertility during the lengthy evaluation period. In short, this unconditional cash transfer has proven to be an effective approach to alleviating extreme poverty and empowering households to improve their standard
of living in a way that is most appropriate for them, based on their own choices. 




How politics shapes the quality of education in Ghana

31 May 2016 11:51:06 GMT

Ghana is characterised as a ‘competitive clientelist’ type of political settlement, in which two parties – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – have consistently challenged each other in national elections. In this context, the incentives of ruling elites can become loaded towards the use of public institutions in politicised ways to secure short-term gains. This has implications for the education sector in Ghana, which has historically been seen by its ruling elites as critical, both to their means of staying in power through increased legitimacy and to their ideas of promoting national development.
 
Key findings of this brief:
 
  • Ghana’s blend of multi-party competition and patron-client politics generates much stronger incentives to improve access to education than to improve the quality of education. The general failure to improve accountability in the education sector, particularly regarding the proportion of highly-trained teachers who spend time on task, has led to poor educational outcomes that directly reflect how politics and governance work in Ghana
  • Ghana’s competitive clientelist settlement has tended to generate a high degree of policy incoherence and politicisation within the education sector. Governance arrangements are usually poorly aligned with the prevailing balance of power at multiple levels of the educational system
  • where good practice does emerge, this is usually through the efforts of reform-minded coalitions of state and non-state actors at district and school levels, with the capacity to devise and enforce problem-solving solutions to local problems
  • decentralisation reforms have created the space for these kinds of coalitions to emerge, but have not systematically improved performance. This is because of failures to ensure coherence with centralised aspects of educational sector governance, as well the ways in which district-level politics play out



Education aspirations among young people in Peru and their perceptions of barriers to higher education

12 May 2016 03:25:29 GMT

Results from the Young Lives survey show the existence of a gap between young people’s aspirations for higher education and their actual chances of accessing this level of education. This paper uses qualitative information from Young Lives in order to gain a deeper understanding of young people’s aspirations as well as their perceptions of the main barriers preventing them from achieving these aspirations. More specifically we analyse how aspirations are formed, to what extent they are related to parents’ educational aspirations for their children, and if they are stable or tend to change over time.

The authors find high educational aspirations among low-income young people and their caregivers and establish that education is highly valued by Peruvian families. The aspirations of young people and their caregivers are influenced by caregivers’ educational history and experiences. The longitudinal nature of the data, both quantitative and qualitative, allowed us to identify that young people’s, and particularly caregivers’, educational aspirations were not static and changed over time, mainly in response to changes in the socio-economic status of the family.

The study also identified several barriers preventing low-income youth in urban and rural areas from realising their educational aspirations. Besides economic and psychological barriers (mainly experienced as lack of family support), the results of this paper point out to the existence of additional barriers such as a lack of information available to secondary school seniors (and their parents) about higher education (what and where to study and how to apply) and the fact that schools are not playing an active role in preparing students for a transition to higher education. Based on these results, the study discusses policy recommendations aimed at overcoming those barriers.




Do dreams come true? Aspirations and educational attainments of Ethiopian boys and girls

22 Apr 2016 04:26:51 GMT

Most economic decisions that individuals take are forward-looking and are therefore shaped by the desire or ambition to achieve a goal. And yet, little is known about how aspirations shape decision-making. This paper partially addresses this gap using a rich longitudinal dataset following a cohort of children in Ethiopia for over a decade between the age of 8 and 19. We investigate the role of early aspirations for human capital investments in a context of poverty, traditional social expectations and gender roles. More specifically, the focus is on three related questions. First, the author investigates the relation between aspirations and boys’ and girls’ educational attainment, as an indicator of cumulative investments in education. Second, the paper look at how parents and children form their aspirations and at the transmission of aspirations from one generation to the other. Third, the paper explores the gender-based bias in aspirations and we investigate whether an initial pro-boys aspiration bias might constitute a source of gender inequality perpetuation particularly in a context of extreme poverty.

The author finds that:

  • aspirations have a strong predictive power for later educational attainment particularly for boys, who are more likely to drop out of school after the age of 15
  • there is a substantial gender gap in aspirations and steep gradient in aspirations across wealth
  • parents ground their aspirations on the expectations they have about their children’s future when they are 12 years old
  • children’s aspirations mirror parental aspirations
  • initial low aspirations might be a mechanism of perpetration of gender inequality among the poorest segment of the population
  • parents and children revise their aspirations over time adapting to external circumstance and social expectations, so that after the age of 15 the pro-boys gender bias in aspirations is reverted.



Language, education, and citizenship in Africa

07 Apr 2016 01:07:36 GMT

African states are known for their linguistic diversity. Few have spread a single official language widely through their education systems. The preservation of many local languages seems a benefit in terms of minority rights, but some fear that fragmentation may inhibit national cohesion and democratic participation.

This article examines language competence of individuals in 10 states in Africa, highlighting distinctions in types of education systems. It also assesses their attitudes about citizenship and democracy, using Afrobarometer survey data. It shows that immersion systems appear much more effective in spreading a standard language, but that national sentiment has very little to do with proficiency in this official language. It also reveals that citizens armed with literacy in local languages tend to be more participatory, more demanding of greater accountability in government, and more critical of authoritarian rule.




Sharing of social sectors experiences in IBSA: assessment of initiatives and way forward

31 Mar 2016 10:09:51 GMT

The establishment of the India-Brazil-South Africa Trilateral Cooperation Forum (IBSA), formalised by the Brasilia Declaration in 2003 is a distinctive international trilateral development initiative to promote South- South cooperation among these countries.

In order to assess the overall status of social sectors in IBSA countries since its inception, this paper analyses the select Communiqués and Declarations pertaining to social sectors issued from time to time. In this context, it evaluates the status and performance of social development in each of the IBSA countries and analyses the progress achieved in terms of poverty reduction, health and education towards achievement of MDGs targets. The paper presents an insight from the policy initiatives taken for inclusive growth followed by analysis of their serious commitments into concrete actions to strengthen trilateral cooperation and finally suggests the way forward.




From Insult to Inclusion: Asia-Pacific report on school bullying, violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

21 Mar 2016 11:00:43 GMT

This report presents a comprehensive regional review focusing specifically on the issue of bullying, violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE). The report details the extent of the problem in Asia-Pacific, the impact of this type of abuse, and the measures governments are taking and could take to address it.

The report draws on more than 500 published and unpublished documents, peer-reviewed literature and media reports from around 40 countries in Asia-Pacific, as well as direct input from dozens of key stakeholders in the region and feedback from a regional consultation involving more than 100 people from 13 countries hosted by UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in June of 2015.

The report finds that the majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) youth in Asia-Pacific say they have been subjected to some form of violence or bullying in school – in some countries as many as four out of five LGBTI learners are affected. The impact of this abuse on learners is devastating, with some country studies cited in the report showing that one in three LGBTI learners report depression, while up to seven in 10 report harming themselves and nearly five in 10 say they have attempted suicide. Recommendations are made to advance action in this area by the education sector and other partners in core areas of: policy and laws; curriculum and learning materials; teacher training and support; and support for learners.




The role of social protection programmes in supporting education in conflict-affected situations

21 Mar 2016 02:05:29 GMT

This background paper examines the role of social protection programmes in supporting education in conflict-affected contexts. It looks at the impact, design and implementation issues of social protection programme experience in conflict, protracted crisis and post-conflict contexts, including in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone, Somalia, Nepal, Northern Uganda and Pakistan.

The paper finds that the costs of education are significant in conflict-affected countries – not only are the direct costs of schooling high, but also parents often have to contribute a significant amount to the school to keep it functioning. In a context of high rates of poverty and disrupted livelihoods and potentially high opportunity costs of sending children to school, the direct and indirect costs of sending children to school are often the most substantial barrier to children’s schooling.

Experience suggests that education subsidies and fee waivers offer important potential to offset costs and increase enrolment and attendance, but they have not been widely implemented. Education has remained mainly a secondary objective in social protection programming, for example in cash grant transfers, public works programmes and school feeding programmes. Longterm funding, institutional coordination and support for capacity building are needed to deliver sustainable social protection at scale which supports households to meet both the direct and indirect costs of education in conflict-affected contexts.




Connect with Respect: preventing gender-based violence in schools; classroom programme for students in early secondary school (ages 11-14)

18 Mar 2016 11:50:10 GMT

Students learn best in schools that provide safety and social support. However, some young people experience violence and harassment in, around, and on the way to school. This includes gender-based violence (GBV), which can take many different forms and can negatively impact students’ learning.

“Connect with Respect” is a curriculum tool to assist teachers. Developed through a regional partnership, it draws on the scientific literature around violence prevention, gender norms change, and the programmatic experience of school-based interventions in the region and beyond.

Produced by: The regional offices of UNESCO, UNICEF, Plan International and UN Women and the East Asia Pacific UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign.




Ghana LEAP programme increases schooling outcomes

18 Mar 2016 11:26:58 GMT

There is a growing body of literature analysing the impacts of social cash transfer programmes (SCT) on schooling. This brief summarizes findings from the impact evaluation of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme on schooling outcomes overall and for various subgroups: by sex, age group and cognitive ability. 

The results of this study show that Ghana’s LEAP programme had strong impacts on children’s schooling, in particular on certain subgroups. By moving beyond average treatment effects, the study provides important insights on the nuances around the programme impacts. The strong results among older children with low cognitive ability supports theories of compensating behaviour by parents, and suggests that programme conditionality is not necessary to induce parents to send more vulnerable children to school. 

Adapted from author’s summary.
 




Social protection programs and early childhood development: unexplored potential

18 Mar 2016 10:20:43 GMT

The rapid growth in social protection programs has been fuelled in part by the promise of its ability to reduce poverty, including emerging findings on improved child health and education outcomes. Early childhood care and development (ECCD) is gaining wide recognition as a robust and viable approach to building human capital and alleviating poverty, but there has been relatively little inquiry into the relationship between social protection and early childhood development. 

This report addresses this knowledge gap by taking a systematic review methodology to examine the effects of social protection programs on ECCD outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. The study finds that there are clear implications for scale-up. For programmes to have greater impact, the authors argue that they must explicitly target ECCD outcomes in order to measure and evaluate the effects. Additionally, programs must be generated considering applicability across contexts, with a clear theory of change, and include early and ongoing evaluation with a phased scale-up. 

Adapted from authors’ summary.
 




Cross-border trade in higher education: what are our chances?

18 Mar 2016 10:10:09 GMT

It is estimated that by year 2025, foreign student enrollees will reach eight million, four times more than what it is today based on the statistics of various international organizations. This growth in cross- border higher education and its huge impact on the economies of nations boost the interest of governments around the world to be major providers of higher education. Still at the forefront of the competition is the United States with its 500,000 foreign students; only a little behind are Australia, United Kingdom, and Germany. The educational institutions in these countries are noted for the high quality of their educational services and the high employability prospects of the students after graduation. The economies of these nations had been definitely helped by the influx of revenues coming from foreign student enrollees.

International students place a high premium on the quality of education and international recognition of courses. This only suggests the great urgency of taking immediate steps to abate the deteriorating quality of Philippine higher education.




The national system of technical vocational education and training in the Philippines: review and reform ideas

17 Mar 2016 12:53:05 GMT

The role of the National System of Technical Vocational Education and Training (NSTVET) is critical in skill upgrading and development. The rapidly changing technology highlights this need even more. This paper reviews the state of Philippine NSTVET, and identifies and discusses reform ideas. It does so by doing three things, namely, (a) provide a description of the characteristics of an improved NSTVET described in recent sectoral reviews, (b) provide a description of the characteristics and analysis of the performance of the existing Philippine NSTVET, and (c) provide recommendations to improve the system.

Among the recommendations provided in the study are:

  • TESDA should focus more on regulation and information provision
  • greater emphasis on enterprise-based training
  • make training continuously relevant to industry needs
  • greater performance orientation in access to public training funds
  • improved targeting and sufficiency of financial assistance for TVET
  • ensure quality in community-based training
  • improve data generation and dissemination
  • improve capacity for monitoring and evaluation, and
  • improve the image of TVET

 




Promoting inclusive growth through higher education

17 Mar 2016 12:44:39 GMT

Investing in human capital, especially in higher education, contributes to inclusive growth. Households, for the most part, finance higher education. To make growth that is driven by higher education inclusive, families with insufficient funds must have access to credit markets that they can turn to in order to finance their children's college education. This Policy Note analyzes the role that investing in human capital in the Philippines, especially in higher education, plays in economic growth. It also proposes some policy recommendations that will address concerns about inequitable growth, particularly the country's policy for higher education. Some of these recommendations include designing student loan and other financial aid programs, setting content standards in core courses and subjects in all colleges and universities, and devising standardized tests for determining compliance with content standards of both public and private higher education institutions.




Importance of entrance exam scores for selecting grants-in-aid recipients

17 Mar 2016 12:33:43 GMT

The Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA) is one of the initiatives of the Philippines government to break the poverty cycle by providing support to students who cannot afford tertiary education. It aims to increase the number of higher education graduates among poor households and employ these graduates in high value-added occupations. The selection of grantees is important in achieving the objective of the program. Given the thrust of the program, it is also important that the grantees have a relatively high likelihood of completing their degrees. This Policy Note focuses on the relationship between entrance exam scores and academic performance. It points out that administering admission exams is the best available tool for gauging the ability of students to complete the program.




Results of an impact evaluation study on DepED's school-based feeding program

17 Mar 2016 01:28:39 GMT

The link between malnutrition and poor health among elementary school children and absenteeism, early dropout and poor classroom performance as well as the effectiveness of school-based nutrition and health interventions in improving school performance are well-established in the literature. Thus, the Department of Education has been conducting conditional food transfer programs since 1997. Its current program, the School-Based Feeding Program, as implemented in school year (SY) 2013-2014, fed 40,361 severely wasted pupils enrolled in Kindergarten to Grade Six in 814 public elementary schools in the country.

This paper presents the findings from the impact evaluation of the SY 2013-2014 implementation of the program. This is a follow-up on the process evaluation conducted by the PIDS. The study employed mixed methods research, undertaking qualitative surveys while undertaking focus group discussions. The findings indicate that, except for inaccurate measurement of nutrition status variables and improper documentation of the program in all its three phases (prefeeding, feeding, and postfeeding), the program was generally implemented well by the beneficiary schools, and welcomed not only by program beneficiaries and their parents but also by many of the school heads and teachers of the beneficiary pupils.




Education, labor market, and development: a review of the trends and issues in the Philippines for the past 25 Years

16 Mar 2016 11:28:34 GMT

This paper comprehensively reviews the developments in the education and labor markets in the Philippines in the past 25 years. It highlights the trends on how the labor market has used educated workers. It also reviews how education has contributed to national development. Furthermore, it summarizes the recommendations of several comprehensive reviews done for the sector in the last decade. Finally, it identifies research areas for the sector.




Overcoming barriers: ensuring that Roma children are fully engaged and achieving in education

16 Mar 2016 02:33:53 GMT

The report summarises how three local authorities and 11 schools in the U.K. have been working to meet the needs of Roma children from Eastern Europe. It identifies key issues and barriers and provides case studies of good practice. 




Conflict, education and displacement

16 Mar 2016 02:22:33 GMT

Children make up half of people forced to flee their homes as a result of conflict. The impacts of this conflict-included displacement on education are immense. This essay focuses on five urgent challenges for education in these settings, including barriers to access, the protracted nature of displacement, urban displacement, physical integration without social integration, and the search for quality. Three central ideas emerge from these challenges as priorities for future research: the need for comprehensive data on access to and quality of education for refugee and IDP children in order to understand the context-specific nature of general challenges; the use of “integration” as a guiding concept for education in displacement, specifically investigation of the social implications of physical integration; and the role of education as a portable durable solution for displaced children, including implications for curriculum, pedagogy, and post-primary opportunities. 




A national policy study on child labour and development in the Philippines

15 Mar 2016 09:52:56 GMT

The alarming number of children engaged in labour as released by the National Statistics Office from the years 1995 to 2001 gave rise to a timely national policy study to review all the important studies available on child labour and assess key government policies affecting child labour in the Philippines.

This paper provides an overview of the nature, extent and predominant forms of child labour in the country based on available data disaggregated by age, sex, geographic distribution, industry, and occupation. Previously done literature about child labor is examined to identify determinants as to why children work despite low wages and poor working conditions and the possible consequences and implications socially and economically. A review of the international and national policies operating in the Philippines concerning child labour is conducted to identify best practices and replicable approaches as well as to assess the adequacy of policy responses in eliminating child labour. The paper ends with proposals and recommendations on what else needs to be done and an agenda for possible future researches.




Number of children and their education in Philippine households

14 Mar 2016 11:01:44 GMT

Relative to countries with about the same level of development, the Philippines is known for high school attendance at all levels. Even with its relatively low per capita income, it has achieved attendance rates that approximate those found in high-income countries.

This paper shows how large family size can be an important contributor to poverty in the Philippines. It examines one of the mechanisms behind this link by focusing on the relation between number of children and school attendance of children 6 to 24 years old. It surveys the international literature to establish how the problem has been approached and what the results are for other countries. It then formulates and tests a model using a nationally representative household survey data for the Philippines to explain what determines the decision to keep children in school. The model specifically considered the endogeneity of the number of children school attendance equations.




Human resource development and poverty in the Philippines

14 Mar 2016 10:32:28 GMT

In the last twenty years, the Philippines has gained a good progress in poverty reduction. However, compared to other countries in the region, the Philippines is still behind. In the early years of the 21st century, more than a third of the Philippine population lives below the poverty line. With landless status, the poor depended largely on labour with its embedded educational capital.

However, in education, the rich and the poor are separated by two different educational divisions--private and public--and of high quality and low-quality education. Poor children encounter lack of access to quality education due to a high dropping out rate at an early age and going to public schools that offer low quality education. The lack of access to quality education has affected the poor more severely when there was poor job generation, relative deterioration of unskilled labour situation, and low rate of return on education at basic levels. The poor faced high rate of underemployment and low income. The government is aware of the educational lack of the poor, but there are a number of factors that prevent the poor having access to quality education. To an extent, government spending policies on education was not geared toward pro-poor. Furthermore, opportunity costs and their unfavorable outcomes in labor markets prevent further improvements of early and high dropout rate of the poor as a result of weaknesses in policy implementation.




Cross-border transactions in higher education: Philippine competitiveness

14 Mar 2016 10:10:06 GMT

The international education service sector is undoubtedly growing. The movement of students across nations is expected to grow fourfold in the next quarter of a century. Undaunted by the current domination by English-speaking providers, countries in Asia have taken big steps to be centers of education in the region, an ambition. Their single-mindedness in the pursuit of this vision has already made them countries to contend with.

This paper shows that the focus and determination of countries like Singapore, Malaysia and China, is not present in the Philippine environment that is characterized by an unusually high dependence on the private sector to meet the growing demands for education. Marred by a highly politicized setting and inadequate resources, the education sector struggles in its aims to provide education for the growing population at an affordable rate and still maintain a decent level of quality. With these conditions, the Philippines, slowly losing its edge in English education in the region, can only hope to niche and attract foreign students and academics into specific programs and institutions, hopefully with the concerted support of government. If Government is serious in its desire to compete internationally, policymakers must address squarely the barriers to achieving this, including the enactment of laws to facilitate the influx of education services trade.




Expansion of educational provision

11 Mar 2016 09:47:39 GMT

Education broadcasting is a medium that delivers information and contents through sounds and images. Education broadcasting is more extensive, unilateral and mechanical than delivering content through conversation. It is also rapid, visually stimulating, transient and emotionally appealing than printed media. Extensiveness of education broadcasting means it can deliver the same information to a more expansive region and broader target audience simultaneously overcoming the limits of time and distance, and enlarging educational activities. Television education programs that broadcast to a wide area using radio waves provide fast and accurate transmission and provide equal educational opportunities to students across the country. Provision of visual data, using sounds and images allows a detailed instant and real time delivery and is more effective in emotional and behavioral education by enhancing the viewer’s sense of reality.




Role and function of the national technical qualification system in the development of vocational ability

11 Mar 2016 09:26:11 GMT

Korea has promoted industrialization under its national economic development plans that were commenced in 1960 and needed to train and produce skilled technical workers during this process. Accordingly, each department of the government introduced a national qualification system focusing on the area of technology by using the qualification systems of other countries, such as Germany and Japan, as models. The early qualification systems contributed to transforming Korea’s industrial structure from an agriculture-centered into a manufacturing-centered, and established a basis for national basic industries. Since then, national qualification systems, which had been operated under the individual business laws according to the promotion of heavy chemical industry preference policies for technicians at the national level, were integrated into the National Technical Qualification Act in 1973. With the enactment of this Act, many qualified technicians needed by industry were developed, and the qualification system has been constantly improved in accordance with the needs of the field.

It is necessary to make efforts to develop a virtuous cycle of qualification in the labour market by reinforcing the research function for the constant development of the qualification system. Thus far, Korea’s national technical qualification system has played pivotal roles in national economic development by responding flexibly to changes in the domestic/overseas environment, supplying certified human resources to the labor market, and more. Korea’s national technical qualification system will be constantly developed by reflecting the industry demand.




An empirical analysis on the tradeoff between schooling and child labor in the Philippines

11 Mar 2016 05:43:49 GMT

This paper looks into the reality that is child labor and tries to understand its existence in light of education realities and schooling issues in the Philippines.

It attempts to answer the aforesaid question through the investigation on the tradeoff between child labor and schooling, and the exploration of the impacts of this tradeoff in both the short term and long term.

[adapted from source]




Encouraging parents’ engagement in public education reform

09 Mar 2016 12:18:17 GMT

Mexico has a large public education system where the ratio of public to private elementary schools is roughly 10:1. Mexico spends more per student than most industrialized nations and yet exhibits the lowest levels of academic achievement, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2012. The laws would dismantle the stronghold of teacher’s unions, which have the second highest paid education staff among OECD nations, and have so far controlled teacher hiring, promotions and competency exams.

It is in this landscape of reform where the digital platform Mejora tu Escuela, or ‘Improve Your School’ has entered, seeking a greater involvement of parents in transforming the system which educates their children.




The impact of national and international assessment programmes on education policy, particularly policies regarding resource allocation and teaching and learning practices in developing countries

09 Mar 2016 05:04:56 GMT

There is a global rise in the number of countries undertaking national learning assessments, as well as international and regional learning assessments. Much of this growth, especially in national learning assessments, has occurred in economically developing countries. However, little is known, on how these assessments affect education policy and practice in developing countries.

This review examines the impact of national and international assessment programmes on education policy, particularly policies regarding resource allocation and teaching and learning practices in developing countries. This particular focus on policies regarding resources and teaching and learning practices stemmed from an observation that, particularly in economically developing countries, analyses of data from such assessments are used to make policy recommendations in those areas. This review synthesised evidence by employing a framework synthesis approach to accommodate the anticipated diverse types and quality of literature.




Bringing learning to light: the role of citizen-led assessments in shifting the education agenda

09 Mar 2016 04:55:02 GMT

As governments and donors focused on increasing access to education in the wake of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the issue of learning received comparatively little concerted attention. Some organisations working in countries where access was rapidly increasing took notice of the fact that, while rising enrollment rates were being celebrated, there was little evidence of whether or not learning was taking place.

One of the results of this realisation was the emergence of the citizen-led assessment movement, initiated by Pratham in India in 2005. The movement is an attempt by civil-society organisations to gather evidence on learning and use it for two main purposes: first, to increase awareness of low learning outcomes and second, to stimulate actions that are intended to address the learning gap. 

In an effort to more deeply understand the citizen-led assessment model and to evaluate its ability to measure learning, disseminate findings, and stimulate awareness and action, Results for Development Institute (R4D) evaluated four citizen-led assessments between May 2013 and November 2014: the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) in India, Beekunko in Mali, Jàngandoo in Senegal, and Uwezo in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. This summary includes a subset of recommendations that draw on the key evaluation findings.




The role and impact of philanthropic and religious schools on education in developing countries: evidence brief

09 Mar 2016 04:11:05 GMT

Despite a growing body of evidence on the role and impacts of private schooling, there is much less analysis of other types of non-state providers. The available literature focuses on philanthropic and religious providers, but is highly fragmented by provider and limited in geographic scope. Where evidence exists, it finds that philanthropic schools in particular have learning outcomes that are comparable to those in state schools and can play useful roles in complementing state education, by expanding access to marginalised groups and improving school readiness.

This brief is designed to provide an overview of the key evidence discussed in the rigorous review, The role and impact of philanthropic and religious schools in developing countries, to assist policy-makers and researchers in assessing the evidence in this field. It summarises key findings and indicates the country contexts from which evidence is drawn. The evidence is deeply contextual and this evidence brief provides only a broad overview. It is not designed to provide advice on which interventions are more or less appropriate in specific contexts.




Early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries: evidence brief

09 Mar 2016 04:06:57 GMT

This paper summarises findings from the rigorous literature review, Early childhood development and cognitive development in developing countries. It provides an overview of key evidence to assist policy-makers and researchers in assessing the research in this field.

Among the key findings are:

  • A large, high-quality evidence base shows that early childhood development (ECD) interventions focusing on (i) parental support; (ii) early stimulation and education; (iii) nutrition and health; (iv) income supplementation; and (v) comprehensive and integrated programmes have positive effects on children’s cognitive development 
  • The largest effects are associated with comprehensive programmes
  • Parent-focused interventions are most effective when both the child and parent are involved and 
  • Using well-qualified early childhood educators and community health workers lead to better cognitive outcomes for children across programmes



The role and impact of private schools in developing countries: evidence brief

09 Mar 2016 04:01:43 GMT

This paper summarises the rigorous review, The role and impact of private schools in developing countries: A rigorous review of the evidence.

The brief notes that arriving at general conclusions from the evidence reviewed is difficult because of the diversity of private schools, the significant gaps in the evidence and the fact that available research is rarely generalisable in itself. However, some of the findings were rated strong or moderate; while these findings cannot be universally translated into policy regardless of context, they do merit policy-makers’ attention. What is clear is the need for more targeted research to fill the gaps in our understanding of the role and impact of private schools in developing countries.




Early childhood development in the SDGs

09 Mar 2016 03:07:33 GMT

Agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) signals that early childhood development (ECD) will be a priority focus for the 21st century. Explicit mention is made in SDG Target 4.2 which states that by 2030 countries should: ‘ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education’. But SDG commitments to ECD are much broader than this education-focused target. Strengthening early childhood development is key to achieving at least seven of the SDGs, on poverty, hunger, health (including child mortality), education, gender, water and sanitation and inequality.

This policy brief offers five key messages that can underpin delivery of the SDGs through the transformative potential of accessible, inclusive, quality ECD – for all young girls and boys, and for their families:

  • Early deprivation affects the growth and changing structure and function of the brain;
  • Inequalities emerge – and are best prevented – early in life;
  • Early child development programmes are cost-effective;
  • The first three years matter too and;
  • It is important to ensure that programmes are targeted, equitable and inclusive.