News and Research 233

Georgia Launches New Information Portal to Support and Improve its Vocational Education and Training Sector | A newly revamped website,, will serve as a hub and one-stop shop for information on new developments, data and statistics, best practices, government policies, and latest trends in Georgia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector. The online launch of the new portal was hosted today by the World Bank in partnership with Georgia’s Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport.

Promoting Social Inclusion in Kazakhstan through Community Engagement

Since 2017, the Youth Corps project (ZHAS) has brought together thousands of youth initiatives from different parts of Kazakhstan. By 2019, ZHAS had supported 9,800 young people and provided nearly 3,000 grants. While some initiatives focus on environmental issues like waste management, recycling, and pollution, others deal with unemployment, entrepreneurship, healthy lifestyle, journalism, and cultural heritage. The grants are mainly focused on building strong communities and social development. Launched in partnership with the World Bank and the Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science, the project has achieved remarkable results in supporting youth in their employment and professional development.

Kazakhstan Youth Corps Project Video| In Russian | In Kazakh.

Toward Greater Inclusion and Success: A New Compact For International Students | Lucia Brajkovic | This is the time for a new compact for international students among U.S. higher education institutions, organizations, and policymakers. The compact should focus on all three phases of the international student lifecycle—before (international students come to the institution), during (their study in the institution), and after (their graduation from the institution)—for both undergraduate and graduate students…

The Netherlands Announces Education Relief Package | Higher education students including those in a higher vocational program will only pay half of their tuition fees for the coming academic year. The initiative is part of an 9.2 billion euro education support package that includes increased funding for the university and school system to cope with an expected increase in students next academic year, and more money for primary and secondary schools to provide more support to their student body. Another 162 million euro earmark will also be allocated to allow the continued employment of 20 thousand academic researchers. This will give them more security as they continue their research and teaching duties, the government said. There are about 6,600 primary schools in the Netherlands, and they will all be given an average of 180 thousand euros to spend in the next academic year. The 650 secondary schools will receive an average of 1.3 million euros per school. Investments will also be made in special education facilities. The exact amounts will scale up or down depending on the number of students. The money is to be spent directly on helping students, including on their social and emotional development. Focused tutoring and partnerships with public libraries will be encouraged, with teachers providing input on how the money is spent. In return, the government wants schools to provide tutoring over the summer, free of charge, to any student who needs it or wants it.

SPACs in Education | Education-focused SPAC files for $200m IPO | Excolere Acquisition, a blank-cheque company targeting the education and human capital management industries, filed on Wednesday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering… Earlier this month, it was revealed that ed tech company Nerdy would go public via a $1.7 billion reverse merger with a SPAC. (What’s a SPAC? Read The Economist here.) Michael Moe, chief executive of Nasdaq-listed Class Acceleration, has been reported as saying his education-focused SPAC has a target list spanning more than 100 companies in the US, as well as Vietnam, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. (See also: Softbank leads $83 mln investment in Brazil education startup Descomplica | A group of investors led by Softbank Group has invested 450 million reais ($83million) in Brazilian test-prep startup Descomplica, which has seen demand for its online learning services surge in the pandemic, the company said on Thursday. Along with Softbank, investors in the round include InvusGroup, the Chan Zuckerberg initiative and U2 guitarist The Edge.)

Reopening of schools after COVID-19 closures: Nigeria | Over 11 million girls in low and middle income nations such as Nigeria may not return after the reopening of schools following their closure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a report by the World Bank has noted.

Insight | Online Education Leaves Georgia’s Poor, Rural Pupils Behind | Around 78 thousand socially underprivileged school students are not connected to the internet at home. This makes for 13.1% of the entire school population. 95% of those pupils from economically vulnerable families live in areas with internet coverage but cannot afford to pay. This, according to the research, leaves a staggering one-fifth of the school students without “effective engagement in the education process.”

Will reopening schools in America cause covid-19 cases to spike? | The spread of the virus in schools will depend on the communities those schools are in.

The Maryland Blueprint | The Maryland legislature has passed a revolutionary piece of legislation aimed at transforming the state’s education system— the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. The legislation was informed by research conducted by NCEE on the policies and practices of top-performing education systems. The process Maryland used provides a model for other states interested in building an education system that matches the best in the world on student achievement, equity and efficiency.