Education is a human right, a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability.
Education delivers large, consistent returns in terms of income and is the most important factor to ensure equality of opportunities. For individuals, it promotes employment, earnings, health, and poverty reduction. Globally, there is a 9% increase in hourly earnings for one extra year of schooling. For societies, it drives long-term economic growth, spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion. Indeed, making smart and effective investments in people is critical for developing the human capital that will end extreme poverty.
Developing countries have made tremendous progress in getting children into the classroom and more children worldwide are now in school. But learning is not guaranteed, as the 2018 World Development Report (WDR) stresses. For about half of students, schooling is not learning. Hundreds of millions of children cannot read or write despite having attended school. In Sub-Saharan Africa, almost 90 percent of students do not have the minimum skills in reading and math.
And not even all children are in school. Some 260 million children are still out of primary and secondary school.
The World Bank Group (WBG) works with countries to strengthen and align their education systems so that the focus is on ensuring that all children learn. Education is fundamental to building the human capital that allows people and countries to thrive.
Ensuring that kids are off to a good start
In the developing world, only half of all children between the ages of three and six years are in preschool. In low-income countries, only one in five are in preschool. We are working to ensure access to a fulfilling preschool experience for all children by promoting and supporting quality early childhood education.
Revamping teachers’ professional development
A good teacher makes all the difference. For learning to happen, teachers must be in the classroom and be qualified, motivated, and focused on making sure all students learn. We are working with governments and partners to improve how teachers are recruited, paid, rewarded, incentivized, assessed, and trained. Teachers’ responsibilities are immense. Countries that succeed are those that recognize this and value teachers.
Integrating curriculum and instruction for learning
Learning happens through rich interactions between students and teachers. Improving the quality of those interactions is at the center of our work. We support countries in defining what competencies and knowledge should be taught, in supporting teachers and schools in effective instruction strategies, and in measuring what students learn.
Building implementation and management capacity
Education systems must deliver a complex service, day after day, to millions of students. Great program designs, even when resources are available, can fail if they lack financial management, procurement, and administrative capacity. Implementation and managerial capacity is critical for a successful education system. We are working with countries to build their capacity to organize and manage education systems.
The WBG is the largest financier of education in the developing world. In 2018, we provided about $4.5 billion for education programs, technical assistance, and other projects designed to improve learning and provide everyone with the opportunity to get the education they need to succeed. Our current portfolio of education projects totals $17 billion, highlighting the importance of education for the achievement of our twin goals, ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
We work on education programs in more than 80 countries and are committed to helping countries reach Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which calls for access to quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.
lastupdated: Nov 12, 2018