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The Future of Higher Education: Four Critical Questions for Policymakers in Developing Countries

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The Future of Higher Education
The rapid increase in demand for higher education raises important questions for developing countries and other stakeholders engaged in the higher education sector.The rapid increase in demand for higher education raises important questions for developing countries and other stakeholders engaged in the higher education sector.

Bulgaria: Social Inclusion Project (PPAR)

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Bulgaria is a middle-income country that joined the European Union (EU) in 2007. After setbacks in social well-being and economic growth precipitated by the 2008 global economic crisis, Bulgaria has recently made progress in improving economic performance and reducing poverty. However, it faces the formidable challenge of addressing persistent pockets of poverty and social exclusion. Poverty in Show MoreBulgaria is a middle-income country that joined the European Union (EU) in 2007. After setbacks in social well-being and economic growth precipitated by the 2008 global economic crisis, Bulgaria has recently made progress in improving economic performance and reducing poverty. However, it faces the formidable challenge of addressing persistent pockets of poverty and social exclusion. Poverty in Bulgaria is linked with low levels of education, high unemployment, rural residence, belonging to an ethnic minority, female gender, and old age. Social exclusion is both a cause of poverty and a consequence. Fighting poverty and social exclusion is a priority of Bulgaria, and education a key component of its national policies. The objective of the Social Inclusion Project (SIP) is “to promote social inclusion through increasing the school readiness of children below the age of seven, targeting low income and marginalized families, including children with a disability and other special needs” (World Bank 2008a). The objective did not change during the life of the project. Ratings for the Social Inclusion Project are as follows: Outcome is moderately satisfactory, risk to development outcome is moderate, Bank and Borrower performance are both moderately satisfactory. The following lessons, offered to this end, are relevant to both the World Bank and the government: (i) Official databases are important, but may need to be complemented with mapping of target communities and households and their needs, priorities, motivations, and dynamics, undertaken by those with intimate knowledge of the community and with community development expertise. (ii) Mobile services and mediators face challenges in reaching target populations, especially when mediators are few relative to their target populations and have heavy workloads, and they do not always share the language, culture, and living conditions of those populations. (iii) Low appreciation of evidence for learning, program refinement, and policymaking can undermine the effectiveness of programs and policies, especially where piloting is intended. The development of M&E capacities could provide MLSP with a critical management tool for ensuring continuous learning and accountability for ECD results and increase its potential for resource mobilization and future replication. (iii) Experience under the SIP reveals the scope and opportunity to clarify roles and responsibilities to optimize comparative advantages and synergies of the many actors involved both horizontally (across partners at each level of the system) and vertically (up and down the various levels of decentralized government). (iv) Investments in ECD and social inclusion activities targeted to low-income and marginalized children ages 0–7 years and their parents are necessary, but they are insufficient to ensure the children’s success and inclusion in primary school and beyond.

Gambia CLR Review FY13-16

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This review of the World Bank Group's (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the Second Joint Partnership Strategy (JPS-2), FY13-FY16, for the Gambia. The JPS-2 was a joint strategy of the WBG and the African Development Bank (AfDB).The Gambia is a small, fragile and landlocked country with a GNI per capita income of USD 430 in 2016.The JPS-2 had eight objectives organized around two Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group's (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the Second Joint Partnership Strategy (JPS-2), FY13-FY16, for the Gambia. The JPS-2 was a joint strategy of the WBG and the African Development Bank (AfDB).The Gambia is a small, fragile and landlocked country with a GNI per capita income of USD 430 in 2016.The JPS-2 had eight objectives organized around two pillars or focus areas: (i) enhancing productive capacity and competitiveness; (ii) strengthening the institutional capacity for economic governance and public service delivery. The JPS-2 was aligned with the government's medium term development plan as articulated in its Program for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) 2012-2016 and the government's long-term plan contained in Vision 2020.The JPS-2 focus areas and objectives were aligned with government's Medium Term Development Plan (PAGE), and its long-term strategy, Vision 2020. The joint strategy and clear division of labor with AfDB provided the foundation for WBG's selectivity. The WBG's program was generally selective in terms of focus areas, objectives and interventions. IEG concurs with some of the key lessons which are summarized as follows: (i) strong donor collaboration is critical but could also have high transactions costs; (ii) country capacity is an important consideration in data collection and quality, and in developing a results framework; and (iii) formal mid-course corrections through the PLR process is even more important in a difficult country circumstances. IEG adds the following lessons: i) Small and fragile countries could benefit from participation in regional integration operations by leveraging limited IDA financing and maximizing development impact. In the case of the Gambia, its participation in regional operations brought benefits to the country in terms of improved technology adoption in agriculture and increased connectivity. ii) To the extent possible, it is important that WBG interventions are aligned to the CPS objectives and their contributions reflected in the results framework. In the case of the Gambia, there were IFC interventions in several areas that were not reflected in the results framework.

Evaluation of the World Bank Group Engagement on Strengthening Subnational Governments (Approach Paper)

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Decentralization has been at the center of the public policy reform agenda all over the world - a process driven by both economic and political factors. Long-run structural transformations – mainly economic development and urbanization – have been associated with increasing demand for the provision of public services at the local level, especially in rapidly growing urban centers. Show More Decentralization has been at the center of the public policy reform agenda all over the world - a process driven by both economic and political factors. Long-run structural transformations – mainly economic development and urbanization – have been associated with increasing demand for the provision of public services at the local level, especially in rapidly growing urban centers. This has often been translated into an assignment of public functions from national to subnational governments (SNGs), a process which, together with the transfer of the respective structures, systems, resources and arrangements, amounts to what is generally understood as decentralization. The main objective of the proposed evaluation is to assess the role and contributions of the WBG to the strengthening of subnational governments (SSNG)’ ability to fulfill their public service provision responsibilities. The evaluation will focus on WBG support to core government policies and institutions necessary for SNG to deliver services and infrastructure. The evaluation aims at distilling lessons from past WBG engagement in these areas with a view to inform WBG strategic approaches in SSNG support. The evaluation is expected to make specific recommendations that could feed into relevant country strategies and project design. This evaluation is of strategic relevance from the perspective of implementing the Maximizing Finance for Development (MFD) approach, which called for enhancing financial leverage of the WBG. In addition to raising domestic resource mobilization, Bank and IFC support to SNGs, has been designed to create the conditions for increased private development finance at the subnational level. The potential audience for this evaluation includes WBG management, WBG task teams, clients (at national and subnational levels), development partners and practitioners.

Philippines: Support for Basic Education Reform, 2006-12

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The Philippines is a lower-middle-income country with a gross national income of $3,550 per capita and an estimated population of 101.6 million in 2015. Economic growth has increased substantially in recent years. The longest period of sustained economic growth in recent history was between 2012 and 2016. Despite this growth, poverty and inequality remain high and persistent. Priority for reform Show MoreThe Philippines is a lower-middle-income country with a gross national income of $3,550 per capita and an estimated population of 101.6 million in 2015. Economic growth has increased substantially in recent years. The longest period of sustained economic growth in recent history was between 2012 and 2016. Despite this growth, poverty and inequality remain high and persistent. Priority for reform of the education sector has shifted through the years from access to quality. This assessment examines two such education quality projects in the mid-2000s, assessing both projects together because they were designed jointly to support the government’s education strategy. The National Program Support for Basic Education’s (NPSBE) objective was “to improve quality and equity in learning outcomes for all Filipinos in basic education.” The Support for Basic Education Sector Reform Project’s (SPHERE) objective was “to support the implementation of the Philippine government’s Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA) which in turn aims to contribute to the achievement of the Philippines’ basic education goal of improving quality and equity in learning outcomes.” Relevance of the objectives is rated substantial for both projects. The projects’ objectives aligned well with government and World Bank strategy at appraisal and closing. However, project documents also reference intended efficiency outcomes that were not specified as part of the formal objectives. Relevance of design is rated modest for both projects. Both projects’ stated development objectives supported improvements in quality and equity of learning outcomes, yet the equity objective was not well defined, and the components and activities were oriented toward access and quality with an unclear theory of change that would have related project interventions to equity outcomes.

The Future of Higher Education in the Global Economy

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The Future of Higher Education in the Global Economy
Watch the re-play of a panel discussion about how to support higher education systems in meeting the demands of today's complex global economy.Watch the re-play of a panel discussion about how to support higher education systems in meeting the demands of today's complex global economy.

Investing in Higher Education for Better Development

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Investing in Higher Education for Better Development
IEG's recent evaluation reflects a rich debate around the role of higher education in development.IEG's recent evaluation reflects a rich debate around the role of higher education in development.

Growth for the Bottom 40 Percent: The World Bank Group’s Support for Shared Prosperity

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Growth for the Bottom 40 Percent
This evaluation assesses the World Bank Group's record on implementation of the shared prosperity goal since 2013, using the official definition of the goal of fostering income growth of the bottom 40 percent. It also analyzes institutional requirements for effective implementation of the goal, and evaluates the extent to which the Bank Group was already incorporating distributional issues in its Show MoreThis evaluation assesses the World Bank Group's record on implementation of the shared prosperity goal since 2013, using the official definition of the goal of fostering income growth of the bottom 40 percent. It also analyzes institutional requirements for effective implementation of the goal, and evaluates the extent to which the Bank Group was already incorporating distributional issues in its various activities during the period 2005-13, before the adoption of the goal.

Growing the Rural Non-Farm Economy to Alleviate Poverty

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Growing the Rural Non-Farm Economy to Alleviate Poverty
This evaluation assesses the World Bank Group's contribution to the creation of sustainable income generation for the poor within the rural non-farm economy and the extent to which this has led to reduced poverty.This evaluation assesses the World Bank Group's contribution to the creation of sustainable income generation for the poor within the rural non-farm economy and the extent to which this has led to reduced poverty.

Staying on track with the Sustainable Development Goals- What evaluation can teach us

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Staying on track with the Sustainable Development Goals – What evaluation can teach us
What IEG has learned about the Sustainable Development Goals through evaluating the World Bank Group’s work.What IEG has learned about the Sustainable Development Goals through evaluating the World Bank Group’s work.