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Global Education Learning Strategy

Strategy Overview

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Students at the government primary school at Kothwa village in Danapur, Bihar, India.

OUR GOAL: 

Provide education systems around the world with better information, evidence, tools and approaches that can help improve primary and secondary education, with an emphasis on foundational learning in primary grades.

The Challenge

At A Glance

The world has made tremendous progress in education over the past 15 years, but the job is not finished. Millions of students are in school but learning very little in many countries around the world.

Along with health, education is an investment in the future, and a necessary building block on the path to greater well-being for people and communities.

Our strategy centers on providing education systems with better information, evidence, tools, and approaches that can help improve primary and secondary education, with an emphasis on foundational learning in primary grades in places such as India and a few sub-Saharan African countries.

Our Global Education Learning strategy is led by Girindre Beeharry, director, and is part of the foundation’s Global Policy & Advocacy Division.

The world has made tremendous progress in education over the past 15 years: The number of primary-aged children out of school has been cut almost in half,(i) and more than 90 percent of primary-aged students are in school.(ii) Importantly, girls are attending school in increasing numbers, and the gender parity index has improved.(iii) But the job is not finished.

Attending school is not the same as learning. Millions of students are in school but learning very little. In many countries low and lower-middle income countries, fewer than one in three students is proficient in reading, and fewer than two in five are proficient in mathematics.(iv)

Studies show that students who cannot read by third grade fall behind, often with no opportunity to catch up.(v)  This learning crisis threatens to hold back hundreds of millions of students—and scores of countries—from reaching their full potential.

The Opportunity

Improving education is one of the best investments the world can make. Along with health, education is an investment in the future, and a necessary building block on the path to greater well-being for people and communities. We want to be part of the community working toward the success of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4, which seeks a quality education for all children.

Our Strategy

We listened to and learned from several dozen people deeply engaged in education around the world—students, teachers, academics, bureaucrats, non-governmental organizations, multilateral partners, parents, entrepreneurs, and those working at the global level. They helped us understand where we are best suited to make a meaningful contribution.

Our commitment of $68 million over four years centers on providing education systems with better information, evidence, tools, and approaches that can help improve primary and secondary education, with an emphasis on foundational learning in primary grades. While we will focus on India and a few sub-Saharan African countries, we hope these resources will be of interest to other geographies. We are not undertaking this work alone. We will work with a range of partners to make the biggest impact possible for people who need it most.

Areas of Focus

Our focus is underpinned by the four pillars of our strategy:

  • Building Global Action in Learning by supporting efforts to make data on learning outcomes comparable and salient across countries.
  • Helping Countries Advance Education Quality by working with partners in India and a few sub-Saharan countries to develop locally-appropriate, system-level strategies to improve learning.
  • Identifying Cost-Effective Approaches to Classroom Instruction and Learning by evaluating promising practices that support classroom teaching and student learning.
  • Understanding Barriers to girls’ participation through secondary school and to reaching the Sustainable Development Goal of quality education for all children.

 


(i) UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). Policy Paper 32 / Fact Sheet 44, "Reducing global poverty through universal primary and secondary education" Figure 1.
(ii)Ibid, Table 1
(iii)Ibid, Figure 3.
(iv)World Development Report 2018, “Learning to Realize Education’s Promise.” Figure O.5
(v)Ibid, Box 3.1

 

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