News and Research 238

It is time to return to learning | Rafael de Hoyos, Jaime Saavedra | It has now been a year since schools started closing all around the world to try to contain the spread of COVID-19. For most students, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a tragedy of multiple dimensions. With schools closed, many children lost access to a relatively safe environment at a time when the deteriorated economic conditions at home led to increased stress as well as domestic violence.

The roles of childhood circumstances and schooling on adult reading skills in low- and middle-income countries | M. Najeeb Shafiq | Alexandria Valerio | The article investigates the roles of childhood circumstances (including parental socio-economic status, parental education, parental engagement, and sibling composition) and schooling on adult reading skills in low- and middle-income countries. Using regression models and data from surveys of urban labor-force participants in Armenia, Bolivia, Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, Kenya, Ukraine, and Vietnam, the study reaches several conclusions. First, childhood circumstances predict adult reading skills in all eight countries. Second, among the childhood circumstances variables, parental education is the most frequent predictor of adult reading skills. Third, schooling is at least as important as the childhood circumstances variables in explaining adult reading skills. Finally, an extra year of schooling is associated with larger gains in adult reading skills in the relatively lower income countries.

Economic Crises and Private Rates of Returns to University Education: A Conceptual Framework, Stylized Facts from Three Middle-Income Countries, and COVID-19 Implications | with Tazeen Fasih & M. Najeeb Shafiq | In this study, we develop a conceptual framework that explains the reasons behind a widening of the gaps in private rates of return to university education during an economic crisis such as COVID-19. Next, we report stylized facts on the private rates of return to university education before and after economic crises in Indonesia, Pakistan, and South Africa. We further conduct panel regression analysis to assess the statistical significance of the relationship between private returns and crises in the three countries. We conclude by speculating on COVID-19 implications and future research.

How Uruguay implemented its computer science education program | Computer science (CS) education helps students acquire skills such as computational thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. It has been linked with higher rates of college enrollment, and a recent randomized control trial showed that lessons in computational thinking improved student response inhibition, planning, and coding skills. Since these skills take preeminence in the rapidly changing 21st century, CS education promises to significantly enhance student preparedness for the future of work and active citizenship…

Europe and Central Asia – Health Workforce Mobility from Croatia, Serbia and North Macedonia to Germany | Governments are worried that increased health workforce mobility could deplete human resources in the public health sector and in medical faculties, lead to staff shortages at home, and a loss of returns to their investments in medical education. This study of the magnitude and effect of health workforce migration from Croatia, Serbia, and North Macedonia to Germany examines how increased mobility affects the health and education sectors in these countries and whether governments should be concerned about this mobility and should take actions accordingly.

Tackling Childcare Pakistan: A market study on the benefits and challenges of employer-supported childcare and Tackling Childcare Pakistan: Insights from an IFC-PBC Peer-Learning Collaboration | The market study surveyed 140 private sector employers in Pakistan, in addition to interviewing working parents, policymakers, and childcare providers, to identify challenges and opportunities for expanding employer-supported childcare and other family-friendly policies in Pakistan. The note about the IFC-PBC Peer-Learning Collaboration on Family-Friendly Workplaces discusses the outcomes of the collaboration, providing an overview of the actions taken and lessons learned by the 13 participating companies. It aims to inspire other business leaders to take action and help foster a dialogue on the importance of private sector participation in this space. The launch event recording can be found here and our press release here.

The world is in the biggest crisis in education of the century | COVID-19 has exacerbated the global learning crisis, but also offers opportunities to reimagine education and realize the future of learning through smart uses of new technologies.

Future of Education Technology 2021 | Smart devices… smarter learning:Smart devices play a huge role in our daily lives, but now they are also enabling us to learn smarter through fostering motivation and engagement.

Tackling the global learning crisis | By exacerbating a pre-existing “learning crisis,” the COVID-19 pandemic has undermined many developing countries’ long-term… and this.