Global Conference on Equity and Excellence in Basic Education
May 17-19, 2016Shanghai, China


The release of the 2012 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results sparked another round of discussion and comparison of student achievement across the globe. Among the 65 participating economies, Shanghai ranked first in reading, mathematics, and science.  Its mean math score of 613 points in 2012 is 119 points higher than OECD average, equivalent of approximately three years of schooling Shanghai first participated in the PISA tests in 2009 when it also ranked top in the three subjects.

An intense discussion has been trailing the Shanghai PISA story ever since 2009, ranging from initial questioning of the true representativeness of the sample, to attempting to discredit Shanghai results by saying that Shanghai is not China, or attributing Shanghai and East Asian achievements to merely “Confucius”, culture, or parental emphasis on education. 

During the past two years, the World Bank has been leading an effort to systematically document education policies and practices in Shanghai, in an attempt to distill policy lessons that would be applicable to other countries and at the same time identify persistent challenges of equity and quality even in Shanghai. 

Based on the World Bank’s education benchmarking instrument, SABER, Shanghai scored “established” and “advanced” in almost all areas across four key education domains: teachers, school finance, school assessment, and school autonomy and accountability.  Shanghai also has a high degree of coherence between policy and implementation, as the study does not find significant divergence between policy statements and reality on the ground. Shanghai also stands out for its constant drive to renew and improve its education system and practices.

The proposed Global Conference will be an opportunity to renew the World Bank’s commitment to improving the quality of education, to share good policy practices from Shanghai and other countries, and to promote collaboration amongst the countries across the globe in this effort. 


  1. To learn about the highlights and lessons from Shanghai and other successful PISA countries such as Poland or the Netherlands;
  2. To share policies, programs, challenges, and reflections from other participating countries; and    
  3. To promote education collaboration between the World Bank, Shanghai, and countries.  

Speakers' bios will be posted as they become available.

World Bank Group

Through its financing, development knowledge, and global partnership, the World Bank Group aspires to eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared growth by 2030.  Education is one of the most powerful instruments for growth and poverty alleviation.  Since its launch in 2011, the World Bank Group’s Education Strategy 2020: Learning for All, has guided the Bank’s global engagements in education through the strengthening of country education systems around the world. In addition to improving enrollment and completion rates, the strategy’s core idea is that investments in education should achieve Learning for All because growth, development, and poverty reduction depend on the knowledge and skills that people acquire, not the number of years that they sit in a classroom.

Shanghai Municipal Education Commission

The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission is the education unit of the Shanghai municipal government, shouldering the main responsibility of educational affairs in Shanghai, in particular financing and provision of higher educational institutes affiliated. While a few key higher education institutes are directly financed and managed by the Chinese central Ministry of Education, most of the Shanghai universities and colleges are financed and managed by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission.  At the same time, district (in urban areas) and county (in rural areas) governments are responsible for the financing and provision of preprimary education as well as  nine years of basic education.

Shanghai Normal University (SHNU)

Founded in 1956, the Shanghai Normal University (SHNU) is a key comprehensive university and also a premium teacher training college in Shanghai.  For the last five decades, SHNU has cultivated 120,000 talents of various domains.  Almost 70% of primary and secondary school teachers and principals in Shanghai have been trained at the SHNU.  The SHNU boasts a high quality academic staff of 2,845 teachers and researchers, including 1696 fulltime faculty members with close to 80% of them holding master’s or doctor’s degree. There are more than 22,000 undergraduates, 5000 graduate students, and another 12,000 continuing study students.

China Education Innovation 20+ Network

is an education innovation cluster jointly founded by around 20 members, including individual members from education institutions, education administrations, international organizations, other agencies as well as several institutional members of large education IT companies.   

  • WHEN: May 17 – 19, 2016
  • LANGUAGE: All sessions will be held in English or Chinese with simultaneous translation.
  • REGISTRATION: By invitation