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CGD's work in this area seeks to better understand the sources of global learning gaps and to identify solutions to help close these gaps.
While primary school enrolment levels have increased dramatically in recent decades, this progress has not been matched by equivalent gains in learning. Millions of children in the developing world leave school without basic literacy and numeracy skills. CGD seeks to better understand what causes this learning gap and to identify policies and ideas to help end the global learning crisis.
George Bush famously asked, ‘Is our children learning?’. That’s also the question by Uwezo, a coalition of NGOs working in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Their report published today makes dismal reading about the quality of schools.
First, a word about the report. This is not a study by the World Bank, or a group of donors. It is a study by Uwezo, an East African initiative hosted by three NGO networks: TEN/MET in Tanzania, WERK in Kenya and UNNGOF in Uganda, with overall quality assurance and management support from Twaweza. They conducted their own survey (standardized across the countries) to test the literacy and numeracy of more than 100,000 children, the largest ever survey of its kind in the region. When citizens themselves are telling us about whether their public services work, we should be paying attention.
Desmond Bermingham recaps the consensus from a CGD discussion about what to do about a hidden crisis in global education. He offers his top-12 tasks for delivery on global commitment to give all children a good education.
In his latest essay, Charles Kenny seeks to revive Solow's model of exogenous growth; growth driven by the global diffusion of new technologies and ideas. He suggests that when it comes to quality of life improvements, institutions may be less important than exogenous factors, like new vaccines, oral re-hydration therapies, or improvements in hygiene and education practices.
Charles Kenny attempts to dispel development pessimists' fears in this essay summarizing his latest book Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding - And How We can Improve the World Even More (Basic Books). According to Charles, better health, education, greater access to civil and political rights, infrastructure and even beer, are all signs historic progress being made in the developing world.