Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Sunday, February 24, 2019 04:09:15 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

There's nothing soft about education reform

By
08th-Jul-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Sophie Edwards :
When Jaime Saavedra was sworn in as minister of education for Peru in 2013, the country was reeling from the news that it had come last in the Programme for International Student Assessment tables, and many told him the education system was impossible to reform.
But just one year later, the country's PISA scores showed the fastest improvement in Latin America, and the fourth-fastest in the world.
The impressive record was not enough to keep him in government, however. He was sacked as minister in 2016 over alleged corruption, although supporters say he was the victim of political wrangling.
Saavedra now heads up the World Bank's global education practice, where he is hoping to use his experience in office to help the institution more effectively support education ministers in client countries to improve schooling.
His top priority is addressing the global "learning crisis," he told Devex during last week's annual RISE conference on education research. While school enrollment has improved dramatically in recent years, it has sometimes come at the cost of quality, leading to the realization that "schooling is not learning," Saavedra said.
"The size of the challenge is something to be really worried about," he said, adding that "we recognize that large investments in education … in the developing world implied a trade-off between quantity and quality."
Between 2000-2017, the bank invested $45 billion in education, making it the biggest multilateral supporter of schooling. This financial year, it provided $4.2 billion in new lending and grants for education, its highest annual contribution since 2009, according to a bank spokesperson.
Improving learning in primary and secondary schools will continue to be the bank's main area of focus. But Saavedra, an economist by training, said improving failing school systems will require a "large menu" of support from the bank, including doing more around early childhood development, and tertiary, and vocational education. Unless effort is put into these areas, countries could see another "trade-off" between access and quality, he warned.
Reforming tertiary education
"University and technical institutes are where a lot of innovations and solutions for development problems will have to come from," Saavedra said.
"The only certainty we have is uncertainty in terms of the shape of the new labor market."
While countries are seeing a "massive expansion in access" to higher education, driven largely by private institutions, their quality is not guaranteed - something he cracked down on while education minister in Peru by introducing reforms to regulate universities.
"Families are willing to invest resources and the returns are high … but the expansion is heterogeneous in terms of quality … there [are] some extremely good institutions but also a lot of 'diploma mills,'" he said.
Students finishing secondary school also need more options beyond technical training or university, and they need to be taught relevant skills for the workforce of the future. "The only certainty we have is uncertainty in terms of the shape of the new labor market," he said. Education systems need to adapt to ensure children learn not only mathematics, literacy, and science, but also the "ability to learn permanently."
This will also mean offering different kinds of qualifications. "We need to reform systems so ... you have all possible types of education, including microdegrees, nanodegrees, and certifications on specific issues which could be stackable," and potentially turned into degrees, the education boss said.
Get development's most important headlines in your inbox every day.
However, making these changes will be difficult as long as ministries of labor and education are "not talking to each other," which results in "people still pursuing degrees with relatively low value in the labor market," he said. How to better integrate tertiary education with the labor market will be explored in the forthcoming 2019 World Development Report on the changing nature of work, he added.
Politics matter
Saavedra said that researchers and development actors, including the World Bank, often fail to appreciate the political constraints on education ministers and the fact that, despite good intentions, "there are things that cannot be done." Better bridging the gap between research and policy was a key takeaway from RISE.
Resistance from teachers' unions has long been presented as one of the biggest hurdles to education reform. While Saavedra said he did come up against opposition during his tenure, it was not a simple case of teachers versus government. Research presented at RISE by the Center for Global Development's Agustina Paglayan also challenged the evidence that unions obstruct education reforms in both high- and low-income countries.
Saavedra advised ministers to communicate with the unions, arguing that teachers are key to improving education quality. Reforms he introduced while in office to support them included pay increases; better linkages between performance and promotion; and sending ministerial and motivational messages to teachers by text.
"Education is a service intense with human interaction, so any improvement in quality will [come by] improving the quality of the interaction between teachers and students," he said.  
In order to get the best from teachers, governments must create a "two-way relationship" in which they feel valued and "see themselves as key to the [education] solution," responsible for learning outcomes, he said. "Teachers need to internalize that your job is not just to show up ... those kids have to learn."
Saavedra also said the bank, and others, need to change the way they talk to ministers about evidence. Instead of always talking about "best practices" and suggesting impact evaluations, they should offer more synthesized evidence about what works, what doesn't, and why.
This means putting a greater emphasis on "process evaluations," rather than just outcome evaluations. Ministers needs to know "about all practices," including the ones that failed, he said.
Asked about the bank's controversial new human capital index, which will rank countries on outcomes in education, health, and social services, Saavedra said it will help "make sure human and physical capital are on the same footing," and address the persistent misconception among politicians that human capital sectors are "soft," which leads to them being underresourced and deprioritized.
"You still hear people say those are 'soft sectors,' but having been on the other side of table, there's nothing soft about education reform."

(Sophie Edwards is a reporter for Devex based in London covering global development news including global education, water and sanitation, innovative financing, the environment along with other topics).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Football »

Piatek scores again as AC Milan beat Empoli 3-0 in Serie A


AP, Milan :When it comes to scoring in Serie A, only Cristiano Ronaldo is more prolific than Krzysztof Piatek.But only just.Netting in AC Milan's 3-0 win over relegation-threatened Empoli on Friday, Piatek moved to 18 league goals this season - only one behind Ronaldo in his first campaign at Juventus.The ...

Cricket »

Mushfiqur under injury cloud for New Zealand Tests


Already stuttered by injuries to Shakib Al Hasan and Taskin Ahmed, Bangladesh are now sweating over Mushfiqur Rahim's fitness ahead of the three-Test series against New Zealand. Mushfiqur's rib injury resurfaced during the second ODI, making him doubtful for the third ODI, in which he went on to feature despite ...

City »

Come forward to build prosperous BD: CJ


Chief Justice (CJ) of Bangladesh Syed Mahmud Hossain called upon Rotarians to come forward to implement welfare programmes to build a happy and prosperous Bangladesh.He said it at the national conference of Rotary International District 3281 at the BICC auditorium of Dhaka on Friday morning. Representative of Rotary International President ...

Editorial »

Old Dhaka needs new urbanization plan


CHEMICAL warehouses in residential buildings, power cables and transformers dangerously set very close to houses and vulnerable gas supply lines — all are set to turn the overcrowded Old Dhaka into hell at any time. Casualties and losses might be multiplied in any fire incidence or earthquake due to narrow ...

International »

Venezuela`s Guaido defies travel ban as aid row turns deadly


AFP, Cucuta :Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido claimed the military helped him defy a travel ban by the government of President Nicolas Maduro as he joined thousands over the Colombian border on Friday for a charity concert to push for humanitarian aid deliveries.Maduro is trying to prevent food and medicines, ...

Entertainment »

Runa Laila composes song


Entertainment Desk :Melody queen Runa Laila has not lent her voice to a new song for a long time. She has been active on stage both at home and abroad. After the long hiatus, the legendary singer of the Indian Subcontinent is now back with a new song, which will ...

City »

IGP Zabed Patwari and RAB DG Benazir Ahmed placing floral wreaths at the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar in the city on Thursday on the occasion of Amar Ekushey.


.

Editorial »

Ensure relocation of chemical godowns


THE death toll from the fire in Chawkbazar area of Old Dhaka has now risen to 80. Scores were injured in the fire that originated around 10:40pm on Wednesday on the ground floor of the five-storey building named Hazi Wahed Mansion. The flames then quickly spread to three other buildings ...

International »

200 US troops to remain in Syria after pullout: White House


PTI, Washington :The US military will keep around 200 troops in Syria after President Donald Trump's pullout from the war-torn country, the White House said on Thursday."A small peace-keeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.The announcement comes ...

Football »

Chelsea, Arsenal, Napoli, Inter advance in Europa League


AP, New York :Chelsea shook off their recent troubles and easily advanced in the Europa League with a 3-0 second leg victory over 10-man Malmo on Thursday, a result that takes some pressure off embattled coach Maurizio Sarri.After a scoreless first half, Olivier Giroud tapped in a cross from Willian ...

Entertainment »

Mehazabien gets appreciation from viewers


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Last Pahela Falgun and Valentine’s Day popular  actress Mehazabien Chowdhury acted in several plays and telefilms those were telecasted in different satellite  and YouTube channels. Mehazabien acted BU Shuvo’s First Love, Mabrur Rashid Bannah’s Chhotto Pakhir Basha, Mahmudur Rahman Himi’s An Unexpected Story and Misunderstanding, Mizanur Rahman ...

Cricket »

BD lose to NZ in third ODI


Sports Reporter :Despite Sabbir Rahman's century Bangladesh lost to New Zealand by 88 runs in the third and last One Day International (ODI) match at Dunedin in New Zealand on Wednesday. New Zealand clinched the ODI series 3-0.Sabbir hit a marvelous 102. His 110-ball innings was laced with 12 fours ...

Editorial »

True spirit of Ekushey must be reflected everywhere


THE nation solemnly remembers the supreme sacrifice of the valiant souls who laid down their lives to establish the right of our mother tongue Bangla as the state language of Pakistan on this day in 1952. As the pioneering movement that led to our ultimate independence, Ekushey invokes the emotional ...

International »

Palestinian President rejects tax money from Israel


Reuters, Ramallah, West Bank :The Palestinian Authority (PA) will no longer accept tax revenues collected on its behalf by Israel following its decision to trim the sum over the PA's financial support of militants' families, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.The cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, an interim self-government body set up following ...

City »

President of Bangladesh Diploma Student Nurses Union Sadia Akhter speaking at a press conference in DRU auditorium on Wednesday demanding Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's intervention in resisting conspiracy to ruin nursing education.


.

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news