Every Child Ready, Every Child Learning Conference | March 5-7, 2018 | Auckland Early childhood is the most significant developmental period in life. The World Development Report (WDR) 2018 emphasizes the importance of development in the early years to ensure school readiness. The early years of life are the best opportunity to lay the foundations for a child’s future. While in many middle-income countries average learning levels remain far behind those in high-income countries, in many low-income countries, learning levels are low in an absolute sense.
The international conference, Every Child Ready, Every Child Learning, March 5-7 in Auckland, New Zealand, will focus on school readiness, early grades learning, and innovative financing. Luis Benveniste, Director, Education of the World Bank opened the conference today.
Roberta Gatti, Chief Economist for Human Development at the World Bank, outlined the importance of education. Private returns to schooling are about 10%, but human capital investments also produce social benefits, externalities and complementarities, all of which justifies finance and other interventions.
Michel Kerf, World Bank Director for Papua New Guinea the Pacific praised the fact that school enrollment is up in Pacific but lamented the low literacy levels. But he said that low learning is not inevitable. Countries can improve and the World Bank is ready to help improve school readiness and early reading outcomes.
Kristyna Sonnenberg of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) praises PEARL for improving reading in the Pacific.
Harry Patrinos said that we need to measure and invest in early reading. To do this, we need to do two things: (1) Establish a global assessment of basic reading skills at the 2nd to 4th grades. This will highlight the extent of illiteracy in simple terms and amplify attention on reading as a global issue. (2) Prioritize investment in reading at the primary school level, especially early reading. To make this happen, we need to look for innovate financing programs for secondary and tertiary education. This will us to realize the high returns to education. After all, literacy, numeracy, science and languages are all important, indeed fundamental, building blocks. But soon computers are going to be far better than humans at processing these forms of explicit knowledge. Therefore, we need to build skills that Artificial Intelligence (AI) cannot emulate.
Halsey Rogers, Co-Director of the World Development Report 2018 drew attention to the global learning crisis. He emphasized the fact that countries need to break out of low learning traps and provided examples of where it has been done well, for example, Korea and Vietnam. Amer Hasan of the World Bank provided an East Asia and Pacific perspective. He started by showing how important education was for the phenomenal economic growth record in the region.
The keynote was delivered by Paul Gertler, the Li Ka Shing Professor at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. He reported on his article – “Investing in the foundation of sustainable development: pathways to scale up for early childhood development” – in The Lancet series on Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale. In Jamaica, the long-term benefits of an early years intervention are significant, including a 25% increase in earnings by age 22. The costs of inaction are huge: 43% of children in low and middle-income countries (249 million) lose 27% of average adult income. Elements of large-scale programs share common features; but they need political commitment.
While Paul focused on the first 1000 days, Amanda Devercelli of the World Bank discussed the subsequent days and years. She showed the correlation between ECD attendance and subsequent learning outcomes, using PISA data. She led a panel of researchers from the Bank, BRAC, Jamaica and Tonga on what works in early education. Binh Thanh Vu, Andy Ragatz and Amer led participants through a knowledge sharing exercise.
World Bank Releases Robust, Long-Term Database of International Education Performance The World Bank has released a new working paper, A Global Dataset on Education Quality (1965-2015), which includes data covering a longer time period and more countries, especially lower income countries, than other previous international education databases. The database includes 163 countries and regions over 1965–2015. The World Bank developed globally comparable achievement outcomes by linking international tests such as TIMSS and PISA as well as high-quality regional achievement tests. The data set also includes information on gender, socioeconomic status, rural/urban, language, and immigration status. While much of the data focuses on developing countries, it also allows for long-term analysis of successful education reforms in high-performing developed countries. The World Bank intends for this data set to be used to benchmark global progress on education quality, as well as to uncover potential drivers of education quality, growth, and development. Read more at the World Bank.
Education: The world’s biggest scam? The problem is no longer the lack of schooling but rather that once children get there, they do not learn. But “lower-income countries are not condemned to have children who don’t learn. Between 1955 & 1975 Vietnam…suffered a terrible conflict. Today, their 15-year-old students have the same academic performance as those in Germany. It can be done…”