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Education Year In Review 2010


Brochure | Historical Lending | 2010 Publications 
For a hard copy of the brochure and accompanying CD-Rom containing full text access to all World Bank publications and reports produced this past year please contact the Education Advisory Service.

In Focus: A Message from the Education Sector Board

Skill formation is critical to a country’s recovery from the global economic crisis and to its long-term development. Skills are at the core of improving an individual’s job prospects and increasing a country’s productivity and growth. An education system in which students attend school but do not learn is a lost opportunity, especially when one additional year of schooling raises earnings by 10 to 20 percent. Today, developing countries and emerging economies seek higher growth rates but face serious demographic challenges—from rapidly growing numbers of youth in Africa who have not yet mastered the basic competencies of writing and arithmetic and a “youth bulge” of new jobseekers in the Middle East, to a demographic transition of shrinking labor forces in Eastern Europe and East Asia. Making the most effective use of the workforce is vital for developing countries. It depends in large part on the ability of the education system to produce knowledge and skills. The education system must ensure clear learning standards, good teachers, adequate resources, and a proper regulatory environment for learning to take place. It must promote job-relevant skills that employers demand by developing the right incentive framework for both pre-employment and on-the-job training programs and institutions (including higher education). It must encourage entrepreneurship and innovation by creating an environment that encourages problem solving skills and creativity. These challenges are at the forefront as the World Bank embarks on the development of a new education strategy which will chart the course of our work in education over the next 10 years.

“Improved learning leads to better jobs, greater productivity, and higher incomes in every society. 
– Robert B. Zoellick, President of the World Bank Group 2010

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Education at a Glance

The Global Imperative:As one of the largest external funders of education in the developing world, the World Bank is a key player in global efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for education – universal primary completion and gender parity – and helps countries strengthen their education systems to achieve quality learning for all.

Since 2000, the World Bank has committed almost $24 billion to support education; including more than $12 billion from the International Development Association (IDA) to support the poorest countries. The global share of children completing primary school has risen to 88 percent in 2008 from 82 percent in 2000. In the last decade, the developing world has seen one of the largest schooling expansions in history. However, progress has been uneven, with many areas of the world not on track to achieve the MDGs by 2015. In 2008, more than a quarter of the world’s out-of-school children lived in South Asia and almost half of them lived in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 43% of the population is under the age of 14. In the majority of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, primary completion rates still linger at about 60% and although the region is making good progress on gender equality, it remains far behind the global target.

Achieving Education for All requires targeted efforts to get marginalized populations— especially girls and disadvantaged groups— into school. Moving forward, it also must mean closing the global learning gap so that all children and youth receive a quality education that equips them with skills for work and life.

The Promise of Education can be fulfilled by providing individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary for them to transform their lives and contribute fully to the development of their countries.

Supporting Education Around the Globe (Active Education Operations on June30, 2010)

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Year at a Glance

Today, the World Bank manages a portfolio of $11.7 billion, with operations in 81 countries around the world. Partially in response to the economic crisis, which threatened gains in education and put the poorest households at risk, global support to education reached a historic high of over $5 billion in 2010. International Development Association (IDA) interest-free credits and grants to the world’s poorest countries rose to a record high of more than $2.1 billion in new commitments for education this year. Across the institution, overall support to protect and invest in human development rose – with education totaling almost 9% of total Bank financing in 2010.

Sustaining Progress in Education with Record Levels of Support 

Also, this year the World Bank’s board approved financing for two large education operations for India totaling $1.05 billion to support India’s recent mandate to make basic education compulsory for all children from 6-14 years of age. Additionally, loans approved to Mexico in 2010 topped $1 billion for improving upper secondary education, school-based management, and early childhood education.

A Knowledge Bank: The World Bank complements its global operations with leading work on international education policy, country-level analyses, and rigorous impact evaluations that generate stronger evidence about what works in education. An evaluation of school management reform in the Punjab province of Pakistan, found that school and student “report cards” increased learning achievement in public schools, by empowering parents with knowledge about education quality. Over 100 publications and other knowledge products published in the past year tackle pressing issues, such as the Financing Higher Education in Africa report, which discusses options for financing the next generation of teachers, doctors, engineers and other professionals.

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Getting Children Off to the Right Start

Research increasingly points to evidence that early childhood development is essential to success in school and life. A new report, The Promise of Early Childhood Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, makes the case that early and targeted measures to ensure that the youngest children receive the proper care and early learning opportunities are one of the smartest, most cost-effective investments to ensure future educational achievement. In partnership with Shakira’s ALAS Foundation and the Earth Institute,

Supporting the MDGs and Beyond
the World Bank launched a new $300 million initiative, The Early Childhood Initiative: An Investment for Life, which will help provide needed health, nutrition and early learning opportunities to poor children in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Another report, Rethinking School Feeding: Social Safety Nets, Child Development and the Education Sector underlines the importance of child health and nutrition to learning, educational achievement and child development. The book is the product of a partnership between the World Bank and the UN World Food Programme. Early childhood education should be protected during economic crises. In Latvia, a new World Bank safety net project is boosting support to vital social programs such as early childhood education.

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Ensuring All Students Learn

While progress has been made to build the capacity of education systems, much remains to be done to ensure children and youth receive a high quality education and that learning occurs in the classroom. Literacy and numeracy are basic competencies that unlock life opportunities and allow for further educational advancement. The World Bank works closely with countries to improve quality at all levels of education by focusing on learning outcomes. Through a $32 million trust fund executed by the World Bank, the Russia Education Aid for Development (READ) program is helping low-income countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa strengthen their capacity to measure and assess student learning and use this information to improve teaching and learning. In the West Bank and Gaza, a World Bank project is aligning the competencies and skills of current and future primary school teachers to meet new certification standards developed in partnership with the EU and UNESCO. Engaging parents and communities in school quality and management is also critical. In Peru, results of analytic work shared with the public through a video entitled Do You Know How Much Your Children Are Learning? was the centerpiece of outreach efforts to help parents in rural and low-income areas understand national assessments that gauge whether children are performing at grade level.

Over the past 10 years, more than 80% of all IDA support to education has gone to Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the regions with the largest number of out-of school children. The World Bank also hosts the Secretariat of the global partnership, the Education for All – Fast Track Initiative (FTI) which helps 36 low-income countries to develop education sector plans and deliver primary education. In Malawi, efforts to increase access and improve quality of basic education focus on providing demand-side interventions, increasing the national teacher corps, and building management capacity by decentralizing school planning to the local level. Additional financing to Haiti, in conjunction with FTI support, has provided critical school feeding and reconstruction following the recent earthquake.

Targeted efforts can help bring out-of-school children and youth into the classroom – especially girls, rural and indigenous children, and those affected by poverty, conflict, and disability. Programs such as Indonesia’s BOS-KITA project give block grants directly to schools for operating expenses, on a per student funding basis – increasing enrollment and reducing the cost of schooling, especially for poor families. The report, Transforming Indonesia’s Teaching Force, highlights the benefits of aligning funding and teacher deployment on a per-student basis. In rural areas with few children, well designed multi-grade teaching efforts can work. In Bangladesh, the Reaching Out-of- School Children Project, has helped enroll over 500,000 out-of-school children since 2004 through more than 15,000 schools in districts with high poverty and low enrollment. In Nigeria, innovative school development grants and performance-based school awards are helping to improve the quality of lower secondary education.

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By The Numbers 

$5 billion 
total IBRD/IDA
support to education in 2010
$750 million
World Bank’s pledged increase in IDA support for basic education over the next five years for countries off-track to reach the MDGs by 2015, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
66% of Bank Education lending this year supports basic education,including support to early childhood education and grades 1-9
70% of operations this year focus on improving education quality, through learning assessments, curriculum reform, and classroom materials18 public tertiary-level institutions in Afghanistan reopened after years of conflict with the help of block grants supported through IDA funds27% of education projects leverage multi-sectoral investments for better education outcomes$17.5 million
contributions of the Norwegian Post-Primary Education Fund since 2006 to help countries in Sub-Saharan Africa meet the rising demand for post-basic education

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Developing Skills and Encouraging Innovation  

Around the world, hundreds of millions of youth of secondary school age are not in school, but gains in universal primary education have expanded the demand for secondary and tertiary education. In countries such as Cambodia, where a scholarship for girls raised transition rates from primary to secondary school by 30 percentage points, stipends are making secondary education available to poor students. The World Bank’s Norwegian Post-Primary Education Trust Fund supports post-basic opportunities, with a strong emphasis on science and technology education. In Tanzania and Uganda, the trust fund has leveraged $300 million to help establish national strategies for secondary education.

Limited opportunities for technical and vocational education can mean a shortage of skilled workers and a mismatch between jobs and available skills. In addition, tertiary education systems are oftentimes too small to meet the demands of growing economies. A new report, Skills not just Diplomas, which examines the skilled labor crisis faced by countries in Europe and Central Asia, highlights policies to better prepare students for the market economy. The Arab World Initiative recently convened a high-level round table with Egyptian government ministers to discuss the Quality of Education: the Gateway to Employability. A review of India’s tertiary education system emphasizes the importance of technical and engineering education to its competitiveness in the global knowledge economy. In East Asia, where universities must meet surging demand for higher education, one project in Vietnam is building a new model university that will offer specializations in science and technology.

In today’s global knowledge economy, ideas move more freely across boundaries and across continents. Knowledge exchanges between countries are a central part of World Bank work. Cross-country comparative analyses, such as for Chile’s Education Quality Assurance System, help to analyze institutional reforms and benchmark system performance against higher-performing countries to help ensure effective education system innovations. Through global events, such as the recent Science, Technology and Innovation Global Forum, and the Korea Education & Research Information Service (KERIS) Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) and Education conference, the Bank is helping unleash the powers of innovation. Investments in education from private organizations, such as foundations, faith-based groups, or for-profit businesses represent additional resources that the public sector can leverage. The role of the private sector in education was explored in a recent high-level conference hosted by the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the world’s largest multilateral investor in the private education sector in the developing world. As of January 2010, the IFC has committed $469 million in financing to 62 education projects in 30 countries, at a total value of $1.54 billion, helping to educate about 1.2 million students annually.

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How We Work  

The World Bank works in partnership with low and middle-income countries to invest in improving the equity, performance and relevance of education systems through financing and global expertise. The World Bank contributes to advancing global education in three main ways:

Knowledge The World Bank serves as a knowledge bank for data, research findings and best practices in policy design and implementation. Generating and sharing this knowledge through technical advice, reports and publications, training activities and communications is a Bank priority.

Financing and Operations The World Bank is one of the world’s largest sources of external education aid to developing countries. Through loans, credits and grants, it provides financial support to the governments of developing countries to assist in the design and implementation of education sector plans. The Bank works closely with countries at the ground level through decentralized field offices to ensure collaboration and ownership. Capacity building for private education is undertaken through the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group.

Partnership The World Bank works in close partnership with multilateral international organizations, bilateral donors, and civil society to align donor aid with developing country objectives. Such collaboration, through partnerships and co-financing, helps ensure the greatest impact.


Education Year in Review: 2012 | 2011 | 2009 | 2008

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*The Education Sector Board (ESB) is the executive body that has decision-making authority and provides leadership and guidance to the education sector in the areas of sector strategy; operational quality; knowledge management; strategic partnerships; and human resource management (including strategic staffing and staff learning). The ESB is supported by and oversees the work program of the Human Development Network Education Department (HDNED, the “anchor” unit). The Education Sector Board Composition includes a chair, a Network Sector Director, and Core Members (which include a network Sector Manager and Regional Sector Managers). The board also has member-at-large representatives from the World Bank Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC), the World Bank Institute (WBI), the World Bank Independent Evaluations Group (IEG), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), with the Board Secretary and Human Resources Representative also being part of the ESB. 

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