The Education Notes Series is intended to summarize lessons learned and key policy findings from the World Bank’s work in education as it relates to Education for All. The series presents positive developments towards reaching the global Education for All challenge.
Enhancing Accountability in Schools: What Can Choice and Contracting Contribute (April 2007)
Governments around the world, particularly those in developing countries, face significant educational challenges. Today, about 77 million children from the developing world are not enrolled in school and most children who complete school find they are not sufficiently prepared for the world of work. A number of governments have responded to the twin challenges of getting and keeping more children enrolled in school, while simultaneously ensuring that learning outcomes improve, by introducing policies that emphasize choice, managerial autonomy and accountability for results. [ Download: PDF - 2.9MB ]
Fast Track Initiative: Building a Global Compact for Education (September, 2005)
Around the world, there are still over 100 million children out of school, including 58 million girls. Despite overwhelming evidence that education can halt the spread of AIDS, increase economic growth and break the cycle of poverty, donor support for education has only increased modestly since 2000, when world leaders unanimously endorsed Universal Primary Education (UPE) by 2015.
Education for All: The Cost of Accessibility (August, 2005)
The goal of Education for All (EFA) is to provide universal access to primary education throughout the world. To accomplish this goal, as many as 10 million classrooms will be built in developing countries by 2015. A key objective of the program is to ensure that no child is denied access to education because of disability.
EFA and Beyond: Service Provision and Quality Assurance in China (July, 2005)
China is not often thought of in the EFA context but its education sector over the past 20 years provides many lessons for countries that are approaching Universal Primary Education (UPE). The most important lesson may be that the need for educational reform does not diminish as countries approach UPE. The first challenge is to expand education opportunities. As coverage expands, however, new challenges inevitably emerge that require constant attention and frequent updates to education policy and financing mechanisms.
In Their Own Language…Education for All (June, 2005)
Fifty percent of the world’s out-of-school children live in communities where the language of schooling is rarely, if ever, used at home. This underscores the biggest challenge to achieving Education for All (EFA): a legacy of non-productive practices that lead to low levels of learning and high levels of dropout and repetition. In these circumstances, an increase in resources, although necessary, would not be sufficient to produce universal completion of a good-quality primary school program.
Decentralizing Education in Guatemala: School Management by Local Communities (February, 2005)
Guatemala set out in 1992 to increase access to education in remote areas. Its National Community-managed Program for Educational Development (PRONADE) has evolved from a small, innovative pilot program in 19 rural communities, to a nationwide program reaching over 4,100 communities and 445,000 children. PRONADE is one of the most proactive managerial, administrative, and financial decentralization measures taken in Latin America. Isolated rural communities have been truly empowered to administer and manage the schools.
School Fees: A Roadblock to Education For All (August, 2004)
There is increasing momentum on the road to Education for All (EFA), but school fees are still a roadblock for too many children. Several African countries have recently abolished school fees outright. The dramatic surge in enrollments that followed is strong evidence that the payment of fees can be a major obstacle to enrollment.
When Governments Get Creative: Adult Literacy in Senegal (July, 2004)
The Education for All (EFA) goal of increasing adult literacy by 50 percent reflects two simple facts: first, primary school attendance has positive effects, including better family health and increased productivity; and second, when parents learn to read, more children go to school. So why haven’t more countries and donors supported adult literacy programs as a routine part of their EFA planning? One reason is that government programs tend to be too expensive, with weak content and high drop-out rates. Despite these constraints, Senegal appears to have found a way to implement a successful adult literacy program. [ Download: PDF - 243KB ]
Getting an Early Start on Early Child Development (June, 2004)
The children born this year - 2004 - will be eleven years old in 2015 - the age of primary school completion in most countries. This is the MDG* generation - for whom the international community has pledged that by 2015, all children will be able to complete primary schooling. Ensuring good early child development is the first essential step toward achieving these goals.
Education for All: Compensating for Disadvantage in Mexico (May, 2004)
Education for all means learning for all. It means closing the “advantage” gap - making sure that the children of the poor and disadvantaged achieve the same levels of learning as all other children. This is one of the great challenges any country can face. It is a particular challenge in a diverse country such as Mexico, where many children do not speak Spanish, live in villages inaccessible by roads and cannot afford such basic expenditures as school uniforms.
Bringing the School to the Children: Shortening the Path to EFA (August, 2003)
Recent education planning initiatives in West and Central Africa show that the path to EFA may be shortened considerably by reconsidering the way basic education is delivered in isolated rural communities. Since independence, education systems have been expanding rapidly and are now serving most of the easy-to-reach population. For progress to continue, the focus must be shifted toward the sparsely populated areas, which means adjusting the type of schools used, and building them close to where children live.
Education for All: Building the Schools (August, 2003)
Putting all children worldwide in school by 2015 will constitute, collectively, the biggest building project the world has ever seen. Some 10 million new classrooms will be spread over 100 countries. At current costs of about $7000 per classroom in Africa, $8000 per classroom in Latin America, and $4000 per classroom in Asia, the total price tag for construction will come to about $72 billion dollars through 2015, or about $6 billion annually.
Education for All: Including Children with Disabilities (August, 2003)
An estimated 40 million of the 115 million children out of school have disabilities. The vast majority of these children have moderate impairments that are often not visible or easily diagnosed. Disabled children include those with learning difficulties, speech difficulties, physical, cognitive, sensory and emotional difficulties. Children with disabilities are likely to have never attended school. A 1991 report by the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights and Disabilities found that at least one in ten persons in the majority of countries has a physical, cognitive, or sensory (deaf/blind) impairment. Fewer than 5 % are believed to reach the EFA goal of primary school completion. This number may be growing due to global conditions of increasing poverty, armed conflict, child labor practices, violence and abuse, and HIV/AIDS. Because these children are part of a family unit, it is estimated that at least 25% of the world population is directly affected by the presence of disability. [ Download: PDF - 187KB ]
Big Steps in a Big Country: Brazil Makes Fast Progress Toward EFA (May, 2003)
Brazil is one of the few large countries in the world to make real progress toward EFA over the course of the 1990s. Remarkably, it did this during a period of low GDP growth, economic instability and tight budgets. Brazil's success is thus an encouraging precedent for countries facing similar constraints, and it underscores the message that by focusing on policy reform, and making difficult choices consistent with policy objectives, countries can achieve renewed momentum towards EFA.
EFA in Indonesia: Hard Lessons About Quality (May, 2003)
Indonesia has seen vast improvements in access to education over the past thirty years. It is a good example of a country that has followed a disciplined linear approach to EFA: Indonesia focused first on primary school access, next on lower secondary school access, and is only now attempting to address key policy issues to improve learning outcomes. However, many long-established precedents that have a negative impact on quality are proving very hard to change. Indonesia's struggles to improve quality demonstrate the importance of tackling such issues from the very beginning, as initial efforts are put in place to expand access. [ Download: PDF - 166KB ]
Achieving Education for All in Post-Conflict Cambodia (July, 2002)
Cambodia has made good progress in rebuilding its education system after three decades of conflict and isolation. Enrollments are growing, administration is improving, and large numbers of schools have been rehabilitated. A number of innovative and mutually reinforcing programs have energized local administrators and resourced schools, building on early efforts to rebuild capacity. These are, however, not sufficient conditions for improving education outcomes, and significant challenges remain in the financing and management of education in order to realize Cambodia's goal of providing free, universal access to basic education. [ Download: PDF - 170KB ]
Guinea: A Steady Growth Path to Achieve Education for All (April, 2002)
Guinea is one of the few countries world-wide to have sustained over an entire decade the primary school enrollment rate increases necessary to achieve the key Dakar EFA goals without degradation of quality. Gross Enrollment Rates increased almost 10% annually from 1991- 2001, with girls' enrollment increasing at 12% annually each year. Gross primary enrollments increased from 28% to 61% over this ten-year period, in spite of a weak macroeconomic environment. The Guinea case, then, provides guidance on how resource-poor countries can plan and follow a steady course toward Universal Primary Education through policy change and hard work, even where conditions, on the surface, are not particularly favorable. [ Download: PDF - 189KB ]
Achieving Universal Primary Education in Uganda: The 'Big Bang' Approach (April, 2002)
Uganda's primary enrollment rates have risen remarkably since 1996, when the Government eliminated fees in a bold attempt to achieve universal primary education. But the massive expansion in numbers has affected the quality of education; and it will be a major challenge to cope with the rising demand for post-primary education.