Money to spend

wb-interview_640_autoMr. Michael Crawford, Lead Education Specialist at the World Bank, tells how he views the financial autonomy scheme for Vietnam’s public universities.

What are your thoughts on financial autonomy in education around the world in general and in Vietnam in particular?

In order to reach high and appropriate levels of performance, universities require the ability to seek and raise resources. Sources might be student tuition, research grants, contract research, philanthropy, public support, or various sources of other self-generated revenue. Financial autonomy is essentially the legal and regulatory authority for the institution to raise and use resources with minimum restrictions. In Vietnam in particular, financial autonomy is one part of modernizing the way universities operate. It is becoming increasingly clear that rigid restrictions on what universities can charge students or how they can use their revenue can stifle creativity and effectiveness…

Class Size Effects on Fourth-Grade Mathematics Achievement: Evidence from TIMSS

Class size reduction policies have been widely implemented around the world in recent years. However, findings about the effects of class size on student achievement have been mixed. This study examines class size effects on fourth-grade mathematics achievement in 14 European countries using data from TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) 2011. We employ quasi-experimental methodology (i.e., instrumental variables and regression discontinuity) to facilitate causal inferences of class size effects. Although we find some evidence of class size effects in Romania and the Slovak Republic, overall there are no systematic patterns of class size effects across countries. The results indicate that in most European countries class size reduction may not improve mathematics achievement in fourth grade…

Assessing Impacts of Math in Focus, a “Singapore Math” Program

This study investigates, through a cluster randomized trial, the impact of Math in Focus, a core mathematics program modeled after instructional approaches used in Singapore, on third- through fifth-grade students’ achievement in mathematics. The program is currently being used in more than 400 school districts in the United States. The program focuses on coherence of coverage of materials across grades, use of the Concrete to Pictorial to Abstract approach to instruction, and covering fewer topics, but addressing them more thoroughly. Twenty-two grade-level teams across 12 schools were randomized to the program or business as usual. Measures included indicators of fidelity to treatment, and student mathematics learning. Impacts on mathematics achievement ranged from .11 to .15 standard deviation units. No differences in impact were observed depending on level of incoming achievement, minority status, or grade level. Impact of Math in Focus did not vary across the procedures and problem-solving subscales. Discussion of findings includes the nature of the counterfactual, and possible future direction of impact studies that may focus in greater depth on the critical features of inquiry instruction unique to Math in Focus…

How Loan-Averse Young Adults View Income Share Agreements

Inequality in college access is a serious challenge for America’s higher education system, with many students who are college-eligible facing substantial obstacles to enrollment. One  of these obstacles is price, which includes tuition after grants as well as the opportunity

Report from Ghana Adds Critical Evidence to Debate on Privatized Education

Government officials, educators and parents in Ghana continue to weigh the role of privatized education in the country. And now, a newly-released report from the UBS Optimus Foundation and Results for Development (R4D) is adding evidence to the debate…

Nine Countries Pledge Greater Investments in Children

World Bank Group President makes strong economic case for Investing in the Early Years

At a groundbreaking summit at the World Bank Group-IMF Annual Meetings, nine countries today pledged to make a range of major investments designed to dramatically reduce childhood stunting and equip tens of millions of young children with the abilities they need to succeed in a fast changing world. Today’s commitments are expected to help create future economic growth by preparing people – in the early years — for the jobs of the future…

How Long Do Ministers of Education Last?

The figure of Education Ministers is typically essential in the process of education reform, either by blocking or by leading the reforms. An important aspect to consider is how long ministers last, not only because a short term poses difficulties to implementation, but also because it is an indicator of the seriousness with which the executive branch approaches education issues…


Unleashing Greatness: Nine Plays to Spark Innovation in Education

Government can innovate, but it cannot do all the innovation necessary, or even most of it. Innovation is not prescriptive. As such, it is critical for leaders to see themselves as stewards, or gardeners. By creating an innovation-friendly climate, transformative innovation can bloom at the grassroots and school level. To get at the right types of innovation (and then take them to scale), three general enablers are needed – each of which need to be designed thoughtfully if an education system is to create conditions for innovation and greatness to flourish…

Uncovering Thailand’s Small School Challenge 

Despite Thailand’s success in expanding educational access, new research suggests that more needs to be done to maximize the potential of students. Small rural schools have seen a growing gap for their disadvantaged and poorer-performing students compared to their urban city counterparts..

Cambodia Early Childhood Care and Development for Floating Village Project

Funded by the Japan Social Development Fund through the World Bank, and coordinated by Save the Children in Cambodia, the Ministry of Education and other partners.

Singapore’s strict schools start to relax

Thousands of 12-year-old Singaporean children take a maths test on Friday that will help determine their choice of secondary school and, many believe, their future success in life…

Statisticians Found One Thing They Can Agree On: It’s Time to Stop Misusing P-Values

How many statisticians does it take to ensure at least a 50 percent chance of a disagreement about p-values? According to a tongue-in-cheek assessment by statistician George Cobb of Mount Holyoke College, the answer is two … or one. So it’s no surprise that when the American Statistical Association gathered 26 experts to develop a consensus statement on statistical significance and p-values, the discussion quickly became heated…

Maximizing Indigenous Student Learning

In this paper, we explore the importance of being conscious of the needs of  indigenous students within the education system in order to increase their learning process
and decrease their dropout rates. Specifically, we discuss how Mayan language, culture,