Making Systems Work: A Global Conference on Education Systems
February 29-March 02, 2016Sydney, Australia

Education is a powerful driver of development and is one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. A quality education that ensures Learning for All children and youth provides them with the skills and competencies necessary for success in life and work.  This is critical to ending poverty by 2030 and is a central component of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which includes SDG 4, calling on the global community to Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.”

Yet, even though the benefits of education are well understood and documented and have been adopted by the global community, significant education challenges remain. Over 59 million children are still out of school today while 250 million children are unable to read or write even after having attended school.  This learning crisis and the failure of education systems around the world to deliver on their promises is one of the greatest challenges we face. 

A two day global conference followed by a one day Pacific regional workshop will focus on exploring tools and research that aim to enhance education system policies and performance to help ensure Learning for All.   The Making Systems Work: A Global Conference on Education Systems will bring together an international audience of education stakeholders, from policy makers to academics and researchers, to explore the evolution of education systems research and discuss the advancement of tools that are enabling the development community to better understand education system policies and institutions.  The findings from the event will shape the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) initiative as it continues to evolve; exploring, assessing, and understanding the complexities of education system policy intent, implementation, and service delivery.


  1. Explore how systems thinking can help inform the direction of education systems research and reform to improve student learning. 
  2. Discuss the focus and priorities of the education systems research agenda across the global community.
  3. Provide an overview and take stock of the Systems Approach for Better Education Results achievements; present challenges and future strategic directions focused on education policy implementation and service delivery.
  4. Share examples of education system reform both in terms of how evidence has helped shape policy reform and also how implementation realities have had an impact.  

February 29, 2016 Time


Day 1  

A Focus on Education Systems Research 

8:30-9:00 AM 


9:00-9:30 AM

Welcome and introduction: Why is systems thinking important now?



  • Claudia Costin, Senior Director, World Bank Group (WBG)
  • James Gilling, First Assistant Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australian Government  

9:30-10:30 AM

Session | 1 

Why focus on systems?  Systems thinking and its relevance to education



Chair: James Gilling, First Assistant Secretary, DFAT



11:00-12:00 AM

Session | 2

Problem-driven iterative adaptation and system reform 



  • Michael Woolcock, Lead Social Development Specialist, WBG Discussant: 
  • Suzanne Grant Lewis, Director, International Institute for Educational Planning Chair: Alison Chartres, Assistant Secretary, DFAT



1:30 - 3:00 PM

Session | 3

Policymakers’ perspectives on education system reform Table work/directed discussion



  • Zbigniew Marciniak,  Professor, Institute of Mathematics, University of Warsaw and Former Under-Secretary of State, Poland
  • Miguel Székely Pardo, Director, Center for Education and Social Studies in Mexico and Former Under-Secretary of Education, Mexico  

Chair: Mandeep Samra, Researcher and Education Advisor, Department for International Development (DFID)



3:30 -5:00 PM

Session |4

Transforming education systems: Key challenges

Ministerial Panel

Chair: Claudia Costin, Senior Director, WBG


March 1, 2016 Time  


Day 2

Tools to Enhance Education System Performance

8:30-9:00 AM 


9:00-10:30 AM

Session | 5

Building a global evidence base on systems to ensure learning for all 

  • Use of evidence in education policymaking and reform 
  • Micro evidence for macro policy
  • Gaps in evidence 



  • Justin Sandefur, Research Fellow, Center for Global Development, Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE)
  • Emmanuel Jimenez, Executive Director, International Initiative on Impact Evaluation (3ie)
  • Lisa Cameron, Professor, Monash University

Chair: Yousuf Caires, Director of Programs, Dubai Cares



11:00-12:00 AM

Session | 6

SABER: Systems in action 

  • Lessons from SABER as a systems approach 
  • Education System Change in Shanghai 



  • Husein Abdul-Hamid, Senior Education Specialist, WBG
  • Minxuan Zhang, Former Vice-Director General of Shanghai Municipal Education Commission Chair: Yidan Wang, Senior Education Specialist, WBG



1:30-3:00 PM

Session | 7

Linking policy intent and implementation: Recent findings

  • Why the persistent gap between policy intent and implementation, and what do systems have to do with it?
  • Lessons from Thailand and The Gambia



Chair: Hannah Birdsey, Director, Education Section, DFAT



3:30-5:00 PM

Session |8

Measuring service delivery as a “system quality snapshot”

  • The Service Delivery Indicators as a proxy of systemic health
  • Capturing the “black box” of student-teacher interactions and its systemic roots



  • Deon Filmer, Lead Economist, WBG
  • Halsey Rogers, Lead Economist, WBG

Chair: Juan Diego Alonso, Senior Economist, WBG


March 2, 2016 Time


Day 3

On Transforming Education Systems 

8:30-9:00 AM 


9:00-10:15 AM

Session | 9

Can data and planning change systems? 

  • Australian experience with online school profiles 
  • Education Sector Analysis: From diagnosis to reform mapping
  • Voltaire’s bastards, the technocrats and education: a systems perspective



  • Robert Randall, CEO, Australia Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority -  Jean-Marc Bernard, Deputy Chief Technical Officer, Global Partnership for       Education
  • Reg Allen, Oxford Policy Management

Chair: David Coleman, Senior Education Advisor, DFAT



10:45-12:00 PM

Session | 10

School effectiveness and learning outcomes 

  • Applying EGRA in the PNG: What we have learned
  • PILNA: Next Steps in Literacy and Numeracy Assessment in the Pacific



  • Grace Hiris Birney, Coordinator of READ PNG project
  • Michelle Belisle, Director, Secretariat Pacific Community (SPC) 
  • Elizabeth Cassity, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Council for Educational Research Chair: Venki Sundararaman, Program Leader, WBG   



1:30-3:00 PM

Session | 11

A systems approach: Learning, policies, and research in the Pacific



  • Fred Brooker, Principal Education Advisor, CEI
  • Karoline Afamasaga-Fuata’i, CEO, Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, Samoa
  • Constance Nasi, Under-Secretary National Education Services, Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Solomon Islands

Chair: Fred Brooker, Principal Education Advisor, CEI



3:30-4:30 PM

Session | 12

Lessons learned: Takeaway messages 

Plenary discussion 

  • Promising trends and blind alleys in education systems and research
  • Moving from concepts to action 
  • Policy intent hopes vs. policy implementation pitfalls


Moderator: Luis Benveniste, Practice Manager, WBG


Registration is by invitation only. 


HUSEIN ABDUL-HAMID, Senior Education Specialist, Education Global Practice, World Bank Group


HUSEIN ABDUL-HAMID is a Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank. Dr. Abdul-Hamid works on the education flagship initiative, Systems Approach for Better Education Results. His professional career spans international development, academia, and government. He has more than 25 years of experience in the following areas of education: system reform, information systems and strategic planning, private education, education markets, institutional effectiveness and system accountability, equality in education and analysis of learning outcomes. Before joining The World Bank Group, Dr. Abdul-Hamid worked at the University of Maryland, as Professor and Vice President for Institutional Planning. Dr. Abdul-Hamid holds a Ph.D. in Statistics.


KAROLINE AFAMASAGA-FUATA’I, CEO, Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, Samoa


KAROLINE AFAMASAGA-FUATA’I is the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture’s new Chief Executive Officer in Samoa as of February 2016. Karoline is also PaBER-Samoa’s research specialist for the PaBER Component 3: Field Research (2015-current).  Prior to her new appointment, Karoline has been the Founding Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education at the National University of Samoa since 2004.  During this period she also spent 5 years as Associate Professor at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia. With cumulative and extensive experiences as an academic, researcher, consultant, academic manager, and educator Karoline is looking forward to the challenges of being CEO at MESC, Samoa and the opportunity to apply and scale up, through concerted and targeted national strategies, the application of creative and innovative strategies in the classroom to improve students’ achievement of their learning outcomes.


REG ALLEN, Consultant, Oxford Policy Management


REG ALLEN has thirty years of experience in education systems and student assessment, including in his roles as Chief Executive Officer for the Tasmanian Qualifications Authority in Australia, Director of Statewide Assessment at the Minnesota Department of Education in the USA and Deputy Director of Testing and Analyses for the Queensland Board of Senior Secondary School Studies in Australia. Dr Allen has consulted to the World Bank, under the Russia Education Aid for Development (READ) Trust Fund programme and the Gates Foundation’s Center for Assessment in Dover, New Hampshire. In addition, Reg is author of the World Bank ‘Developing the Enabling Context for School-Based Assessment’ for the System Approach for Better Education Results (SABER). Reg’s work focuses on assessment systems and learning and achievement, with his research focusing systems improvement for ‘more learners, learning more’. Within his role with OPM Reg is working on several DFID-funded programmes, including developing a roadmap for assessment reform in Uganda, developing learning assessments for the Education Fund for Sind in Pakistan and working in partnership with the OPM Metrics group to develop a methodology for monitoring the education related SDGs in DFID focus countries.


MICHELLE BELISLE, Director of EQAP, Secretariat of the Pacific Community












LUIS BENVENISTE, Practice Manager, Education Global Practice, World Bank Group


LUIS BENVENISTE is the Education Practice Manager for Global Engagement and Knowledge at the World Bank. He was a co-author of the World Development Report 2012:  Gender Equality and Development.  He previously worked on a wide variety of World Bank education projects in Africa and East Asia and Pacific.  His research interests focus on teacher policies and student assessment practices. Some of his recent publications include Teaching in Cambodia (2008), with J. Marshall and M. Araujo, Teaching in Lao PDR (2008), with J. Marshall and L. Santibañez, "The political structuration of assessment: Negotiating State power and legitimacy," in A.H. Halsey, P. Brown, H. Lauder & J. Dillabough (eds.), Education: Globalisation and Social Change (2006) and All Else Equal (2003), with M. Carnoy and R. Rothstein, a book on accountability and the organization of public and private schools in the United States.


JEAN-MARC BERNARD, Deputy Chief Technical Officer, GPE


JEAN-MARC BERNARD is the Deputy Chief Technical Officer in the GPE Secretariat, in the Strategy, Policy and Performance team. Jean-Marc joined the GPE Secretariat in January 2012, working first as senior education specialist for the Country Support Team and then as team lead of the Monitoring and Evaluation Team before his current position. Jean-Marc has extensive experience in the education sector both on analytical and evaluation work and policy dialogue.  He has worked in more than 25 countries including Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Palestine, Senegal, South Sudan, and Uganda. He started his career as a Technical Assistant in Cameroon and Mauritania, focusing on planning, monitoring and evaluation issues.  He was lead advisor of the Program for Analysis of Educational Systems (PASEC) from 2001 to 2005, where he was in charge of implementing assessments and analyses of learning outcomes in primary schools in African French-speaking countries.  From 2007 to 2009, he was the country sector work adviser at Pôle de Dakar (UNESCO) where he led the support to countries, essentially through education sector analyses and financial simulation models. In addition, before joining the Global Partnership for Education, he worked as a freelance consultant for several multilateral agencies (UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank and UNRWA).  Jean-Marc holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Burgundy and was a research fellow at the Institute of Research on Education (IREDU, Dijon).  In addition to his extensive field experience, he has authored several publications on education policy, education reform, teacher policy, and learning achievement.  He has also taught education policies and the economics of education at several universities.


GRACE HIRIS BIRNEY, Project Coordinator, Department of Education, Papua New Guinea




MOUSSA P. BLIMPO, Economist, World Bank Group


MOUSSA P. BLIMPO is an Economist in the Office of the Chief Economist for the Africa Region (AFRCE) and in the DEC's Development Policy Department (DECDP) at the World Bank. Prior to this position, he was an Assistant Professor of economics and international studies at the University of Oklahoma (2012-2015) and a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University's Institute for Economic Policy Research (2010 - 2012). Moussa’s research interest focuses on a wide range of policy relevant questions on African economies, particularly on the economics of educations and early childhood investments. His current and past research in the area of education spans several countries including The Gambia, Benin, Ghana, Rwanda, and Haiti. Moussa holds a Ph.D. in economics from New York University and he was the founding director of the Center for Research and Opinion Polls (CROP), a think tank in his home country of Togo, which he led between 2011 and 2015.


FRED BROOKER, Principal Education Advisor, CEI


FRED BROOKER is an education and human development specialist with 30 years’ experience supporting governments and development agencies in Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific.  This involves wide experience in international development spanning a range of disciplines including strategic planning, policy development, institutional development, monitoring and evaluation and various aid modalities from projects to sector wide approaches and budget support. His areas of expertise in education include learning assessments, teacher development, educational planning and management, education policy reform, skills development and employment, and adult education.  Fred has practical experience in the design, management and monitoring of education programs from small community-based interventions to large scale projects.  In addition, he has provided high-level technical support as a senior adviser to senior government and donor officials in many countries. Fred has extensive experience with the global education initiatives including the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER), the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), post MDG agenda and Education For All. Fred has worked in a wide variety of countries including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Finland, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi and Ethiopia. He is currently working in the Pacific Benchmarking for Education Results in collaboration with the World Bank and DFAT.     


YOUSUF CAIRES, Director of Programs, Dubai Cares


YOUSUF LUIZ CAIRES is the Director of Programs at Dubai Cares, a leading organization in increasing access to quality education in developing countries. Since joining in 2009, Yousuf has enabled the organization’s growth through numerous development programs, global partnerships and thematic competencies, resulting in over 14 million children benefitting from interventions in the past 6 years. He is also a founding member and Managing Trustee of the Milele Zanzibar Foundation, a local NGO working to accelerate progress in the areas of health, education and livelihood opportunities in Zanzibar, Tanzania. As an educationalist, his interests roam within the learning sciences and psychology of education, the economics of education as well as the resilience of educational systems. A national of Brazil and a father of two, he received his B.A. from Northeastern University and M.S. from Michigan State University on international trade and value chain management.


LISA CAMERON, Professor, Department of Econometrics, Monash University


LISA CAMERON is an empirical micro-economist whose research focuses on social and economic issues in Asia – predominantly Indonesia and China – including evaluations of policy impacts. She received her PhD from Princeton University in 1996 and since 2010 has been a Professor in the Department of Econometrics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She was a principal investigator on a World Bank/Gates Foundation evaluation of Total Sanitation and Sanitation Marketing (the large scale community-led sanitation intervention in Indonesia) and is currently leading the Bank’s Laos sanitation impact evaluation. Other current research projects include an evaluation of an information intervention to improve the welfare of female Indonesian international migrant workers; an examination of gender wage gaps in Indonesia; and an examination of the way in which China’s skewed sex-ratio is a driver of its increasing crime rate. In 2013 she was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences.


ELIZABETH CASSITY, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Council for Educational Research


ELIZABETH CASSITY is a Senior Research Fellow at ACER. Elizabeth has over 15 years’ experience working in the Pacific region and Zimbabwe as a researcher and university academic specialising in the education sector. She received her PhD from Columbia University. Elizabeth has expertise in education planning and assessment as the ACER Project Director for the Strengthening Regional Educational Assessment Project for the Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA). She was also Project Director for the Zimbabwe Early Learning Assessment Project and led all components of the study including evaluation, capacity building, stakeholder engagement and dissemination and reporting. Other recent education research includes sector analyses in Fiji and Solomon Islands, and an institutional policy analysis in Samoa. As an academic at the University of Sydney, she conducted ARC-funded research on development partner assistance and the education sector in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Southeast Asia and supervised several postgraduate students. She was a University expert on education, development and the Millennium Development Goals, and a member of the University's Pacific Experts Group. Her PhD research focused on the development of the University of the South Pacific and higher education in Fiji. She was also a teacher in northern Namibia. She is a contributor to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics International Catalogue of Learning Assessments (2016).


ALISON CHARTRES, Assistant Secretary, Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


ALISON CHARTRES is currently Assistant Secretary of the Development Policy and Education Branch in the Development Policy Division of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).  In this role, she leads on issues relating to Australia’s overarching aid policy, aid investments in the education sector and in social protection, and disability-inclusive development.  Alison has been in this role since May 2015. Immediately prior to taking up this position, Alison was Director of DFAT’s Papua New Guinea Governance, Justice and Aid Performance Section in the Pacific Division. Alison worked for the Australian Government’s aid agency, AusAID, from 1993-2013, prior to AusAID’s integration with DFAT. From 2011-2014, Alison was posted to New York as Counsellor (Development) at the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations, and covered a range of UN development and humanitarian issues. This included serving as a Vice President of the UN High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation in 2012-2013. From 2008 to 2010, Alison was Chief of Staff in the Asia-Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence (now the Australian Civil-Military Centre).  She was Director of AusAID’s Fragile States Unit from 2005 to 2008.  Her other roles have included Deputy Development Coordinator for the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands (2004-2005), Acting Director in the Humanitarian and Emergencies Section of AusAID (2002-2003) and Adviser to the Solomon Islands Peace Monitoring Council (2001).  Alison also managed a range of peacebuilding and reconstruction programs in Bougainville during her posting to Papua New Guinea (1996-1999). Alison has a Bachelor of Science (Honours in Environmental Science) from Murdoch University in Western Australia.


KAI-MING CHENG, Emeritus Professor, University of Hong Kong


KAI-MING CHENG is Emeritus Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He was Chair Professor of Education, Dean of Education, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Senior Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor of the University. He was instrumental in setting up the Development and Alumni Affairs Office at HKU. He is Director of Education Policy Unit at the Faculty of Education. He taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as Visiting Professor 1996-2007. Trained as a mathematician, he was a school teacher and a principal before he pursued doctoral study at the London Institute of Education. He has been involved in institutional evaluation and accreditation, policy discussion and training in various jurisdictions, among which he participated in the evaluation of major universities in China. He also lectures at the National Academy of Education Administration, China, and has created the Summer Institute on higher education at HKU. His current attention is on the fundamental changes in society and their challenges to education, and therefore the attention to learning as the core business of education. He co-founded the Strategic Research Theme on Sciences of Learning at HKU, an alliance of over 60 researchers on campus. He has been consultant with the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP and the Asian Development Bank, and worked on education systems in various parts of the world.  Currently, he is member of the National Advisory Committee on Curriculum Reform in China. Locally he was member of the Education Commission and was instrumental in the comprehensive reform which started 1999. He was founding chairman of Hong Kong Teachers’ Centre and the Council for Profession Conduct of Teachers, and led the team that created the Professional Code for Teachers in Hong Kong. He chaired the Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications (2002-08), and was Chairman of the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (2009-15). He also chairs the Hong Kong Regional Advisory Committee for PISA 2015. He writes a column in Hong Kong Economic Journal Daily, Shanghai Education and Escuela (Spain).


DAVID COLEMAN, Senior Education Advisor, Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


DAVID COLEMAN is Senior Education Advisor at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  He has extensive education for development experience in Asia and the Pacific.  David has previously served as UNICEF Chief of Education in Cambodia, Education Adviser with the New Zealand Aid Program, and Education Specialist with the AusAID Education Resource Facility.  He holds a doctorate in international education policy and program evaluation, and is co-author of the book The United Nations and Education: Multilateralism, Development and Globalisation. 


CLAUDIA COSTIN, Senior Director, Education Global Practice, World Bank Group


Before joining the World Bank Group in July 2014, CLAUDIA COSTIN, a Brazilian national, was Secretary of Education, Rio de Janeiro. Under her stewardship, learning results rose by 22 percent in the city. She also implemented a strong Early Childhood program, working seamlessly across sectors with the Health and Social Protection secretariats. Claudia has been vice-president of the Victor Civita Foundation, dedicated to raising public education quality. Believing in the transformational power of education, she helped create the civil society movement Todos pela Educação, also serving on its technical committee. Convinced that teacher motivation is critical for real learning, Claudia communicates with thousands of teachers using social media. Her former positions include Secretary of Culture, Sao Paulo State and Federal Minister of Public Administration and State Reform. She has also served as Executive Secretary, Helio Beltrao Institute and CEO, Promon Intelligens. Earlier, she served as World Bank Sector Manager, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, Latin America and the Caribbean; and has also advised several African governments on public policy and state modernization. Claudia has held academic positions at the Catholic University of São Paulo, Getúlio Vargas Foundation, INSPER Institute of Education and Research, and École Nationale d’Administration Publique in Québec. She has a Master’s in Economics from the Escola de Administracao de Empresas de São Paulo of the Fundacao Getúlio Vargas.





DEON FILMER, Lead Economist, World Bank Group


DEON FILMER is a Lead Economist in the Research Group of the World Bank. He works on issues of human capital and skills, service delivery, and the impact evaluation of policies and programs to improve human development outcomes-with research spanning the areas of education, health, social protection, and poverty and inequality. His publications include studies of the impact of demand-side programs on schooling outcomes; the roles of poverty, gender, orphanhood, and disability in explaining education inequalities; the determinants of effective service delivery and the evaluation of interventions aimed at improving it; the determinants of fertility behavior; and on trends in adult mortality around the world. He has recently co-authored books on Making Schools Work: New Evidence from Accountability Refoms and Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and was a core team member of the World Bank's World Development Reports in 1995 Workers in an Integrating World and 2004 Making Services Work for Poor People, and a contributor to the 2007 report on Development and the Next Generation. He holds a PhD and MA from Brown University and a BA from Tufts University.


JAMES GILLING, First Assistant Secretary, Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


JAMES GILLING joined AusAID in 2001. He is currently a First Assistant Secretary in DFAT’s innovationXchange.  Prior to this, Mr. Gilling was Minister for Development Cooperation at Australia’s embassy in Jakarta, overseeing one of Australia’s largest aid programs.  He has also held positions as head of policy and Pacific divisions and was head of the Indonesia and East Timor branch. Before this, he was the principal adviser on aid effectiveness with the Office of Development Effectiveness. Mr. Gilling has worked with Oxford Policy Management in the UK as a consultant economist, and with DFID as a rural development adviser. He worked with the PNG Department of Agriculture and Livestock as an ODI fellow in the 1980s.


NICK KUMAN, Minister for Education, Papua New Guinea





HON. NICK KUMAN has a Bachelor in Applied Science with Honors at the University of Western Australia. The highest position attained while working for the government was being promoted to acting City Manager position of the National Capital District Commission. The Commission is responsible for the administration of the National Capital District, the capital of Papua New Guinea, and the biggest municipality of the country. Contested and won the Gumine Open Electorate seat in 2002. Was elevated to be the Minister for Culture and Tourism from 2002 – 2007. The 2012 – 2017, is the second term in Parliament with being the Minister for Education. The wards system in the electorate, now being instituted adopted by the provincial governments was a concept Mr Kuman developed while being the manager of the social services division of the National Capital District Commission.  The ward system, with councilors as their heads, is the lowest in the three-tier governments of Papua New Guinea; the national, provincial, and local level governments. The wards system produce proxies for bottom-up planning. Mr Kuman is the stalwart founder of the current ruling party, the People’s National Congress party, which is the major coalition party in the current Government. This Government prioritize policies which are dearer to the people of Papua New Guinea in their development aspirations: education, health, infrastructure, and law and order. Mr Kuman’s contributions to nation building was recognised by the Queen of England by bestowing him with the Member of the British Empire (MBE) title.


SUZANNE GRANT LEWIS, Director, International Institute for Educational Planning


SUZANNE GRANT LEWIS was appointed Director of the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) in 2014. In this position she provides strategic vision and leadership for the Institute, develops strategic partnerships and mobilises resources, and provides oversight of the staff, financial resources, programme and administration of IIEP Paris, Pôle de Dakar and Buenos Aires.  She has over twenty-five years of experience in improving educational opportunities in the developing world, particularly in education policy and planning in Africa. In 2011, she helped launch the International Education Funders Group, a collaborative of over 50 foundations, whose purpose is to help private donors play a catalytic role in advancing Education for All. Prior to this, Ms. Grant Lewis directed the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, the initiative of seven private US foundations to strengthen African universities. As a Harvard University faculty member (1997-2006) she co-developed and directed the International Educational Policy Programme, a skills-based Master's degree programme. She also taught postgraduate courses on gender inequalities in education and on education planning and policy-making in international settings. Ms. Grant Lewis has experience in designing and managing applied educational research programs across many contexts and has published works for a wide range of audiences on participation in school governance, democratic policy-making in education, funding trends in education internationally, among many others. She has lived in the USA, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Malawi, and France.


SENGDEUANE LACHANTHABOUNE, Acting Minister, Ministry of Education and Sports, Lao PDR


MME SENGDEUANE LACHANTHABOUNE was born on 3 August, 1954 in Vientiane Province, Lao PDR. She earned her first degree in Mathematics at Pedagogy Institute in 1977 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. She also obtained the second degree in Education Administration in Germany in 1982. In 1987, she gained another diploma in Mathematic Analysis and Research in Hungary. Mme LACHANTHABOUNE completed Master of Arts in Education Administration in Australia in 1997.

Mme LACHANTHABOUNE began her career in education from 1977 onwards as a Mathematic lecturer at Pedagogy Institute which is currently known as National University of Laos. She was then appointed to the position of UNESCO expert counterpart in secondary education in Vientiane as well as a Chief of Mathematics Section, National University of Laos from 1987 to 1990. From 1991 to 2005 she worked for Teacher Education Department starting from being a Director of Division and later was promoted to Deputy Director and Director General respectively. In 2006 she was promoted to the Deputy Minister and on 8th February 2016 she is assigned to be Acting Minister of Ministry of Education and Sport.  Mme LACHANTHABOUNE has played many significant leadership roles in education development at national and regional levels. At the National level, she has been appointed as a Vice Chair of the National Committee on Education System Reform and a Vice Chair of the National Committee on Human Resources Development. At the Regional level, she was used to be a Vice Chair of SEAMEO RECSAM.

Mme LACHANTHABOUNE’s vast wealth of experience and expertise has enabled her to publish a number of articles in leading international journals. This includes two articles in the Pedagogical Magazine in December 1986, in Bulletin of Young Mathematicians in May 1987 in Budapest, Hungary, Three articles in the IUFM journal in December 1995 in Grenoble, France, in Education for Peace in Latin America and Asia in 2003, Washington D.C., the United States, and in the journal of UNESCO 48th International Conference on Education on the theme of “Inclusive Education: the Way of the Future”, Geneva, Switzerland.


EMMANUEL JIMENEZ, Executive Director, International Initiative on Impact Evaluation


EMMANUEL (MANNY) JIMENEZ is Executive Director of the International Initiative on Impact Evaluation (3ie), a non-profit organization which provides grants for the rigorous assessment of the effectiveness of development projects and programs and supports the use of such evidence in decision-making.  He came to 3ie early in 2015 after many years at the World Bank Group where he provided technical expertise and strategic leadership in a number of research and operational positions including as director of the bank’s operational program in human development in its Asia regions from 2000-2012 and as director of public sector evaluations from 2012-2014. Before joining the bank, Dr. Jimenez was on the economics faculty at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. He received his Ph.D. from Brown University.


ZBIGNIEW MARCINIAK, Professor, Institute of Mathematics, University of Warsaw


ZBIGNIEW MARCINIAK was born in 1952 in Warsaw. He is a mathematician, specializing in algebra. He is a professor in the Institute of Mathematics at the University of Warsaw. In 1976 he graduated at the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics of the University of Warsaw. In 1982 he received a PhD in mathematics at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA. Professor Marciniak has worked at the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics of the University of Warsaw since 1976. From 1996 through 1999 he was the vice dean and from 2000 through 2005 – the dean of the Institute. In the years 2005-2007 he held the post of the President of the State Accreditation Committee. In the years 2007-2010 he was the chairman of the Commission of Didactics in the Committee of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 2007-2009 he held the post of Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of National Education, where he was responsible for defining main principles in the education curriculum reform and the quality of teaching. In 2010-2012 he held the post of Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. At present he is Deputy Chair of the Main Council of Science and Higher Education.   Professor Zbigniew Marciniak has been a member of the Mathematics Expert Group of the OECD PISA project, continuously since 2002. He has been appointed the Chair of the MEG for the PISA 2015 cycle. He is also the lead math expert in the OECD PISA-D project – a version of PISA for developing countries. Since 2013 he has been a member of CERI – the Steering Committee for Education Research in OECD. In 2013-14 he served as an expert at the Brookings Institute, in the “Millions Learning” project.  Professor Zbigniew Marciniak is the author of more than 30 scientific publi­cations in the field of algebra. He is a member of editorial committees of periodicals: “Delta” and “Algebra and Discrete Mathematics”. For his contribution to supporting mathematically-talented students he was honored the Silver Cross of Merit and the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. Married with two children.


CONSTANCE NASI, Under-Secretary National Education Services, Ministry of Education, Solomon Islands


CONSTANCE NASI is the Undersecretary for National Education Services in the Ministry of Education in Solomon Islands, with 21 years of experience working in various capacities in the education sector in Solomon Islands. The scope of her duties as an Under Secretary is to ensure a coherent approach to education policy development and implementation with the aim to improve the quality and standard of education across the Solomon Islands. She previously held senior positions in the Ministry of Education including the position of Solomon Islands Coordinator for the PaBER (Pacific Benchmarking of Education Result) Pilot Program from 2012-2014. Constance holds a Master of Education from the University of New South Wales, and a specialized Master in Assessment and Evaluation from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her areas of interest include assessment and evaluation of educational achievements, education sector performance improvement, risk management, monitoring and evaluation of educational programs/projects, education and strategic planning, human resource management.


HARRY PATRINOS, Practice Manager, Education Global Practice, World Bank Group


HARRY PATRINOS specializes in the economics of education, particularly the returns to schooling, school-based management, demand-side financing and public-private partnerships. He has managed education lending operations and analytical work programs in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico.  He has studied and worked extensively on the socioeconomic status of Indigenous Peoples, and has co-authored two books on this subject: Indigenous Peoples, Poverty and Human Development in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and Indigenous Peoples, Poverty, and Development (Cambridge, 2014). He has many publications in the academic and policy literature, with more than 50 journal articles published. He is co-author of the books: Making Schools Work: New evidence on accountability reforms (World Bank, 2011); The Role and Impact of Public-Private Partnerships in Education (World Bank, 2009); and Decentralized Decision-Making in Schools: The Theory and Evidence on School-Based Management (World Bank, 2009). He has also worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. He previously worked as an economist at the Economic Council of Canada. In his new role as Education Global Practice Manager for the East Asia and Pacific Countries, he leads a team of staff based Washington D.C. and in 10 Asian countries to provide strategic vision and direction, encourage and support innovation in both knowledge work and lending and manages staff to deliver results on the ground. Mr. Patrinos received his doctorate from the University of Sussex.


ROBERT RANDALL, Australia Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority


ROBERT RANDALL has been Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) since November 2012. Robert brings significant experience and success in curriculum, assessment and reporting projects to this role. This experience has been gained at both state and national levels and has ranged from program design through to implementation. He has worked at ACARA since 2009 and was previously Deputy CEO and General Manager, Curriculum, of ACARA. In the lead-up to the establishment of ACARA, Robert was General Manager of the Interim National Curriculum Board. Robert began his career as a teacher of mathematics in Perth before holding a range of positions within and beyond schools in Western Australia. In 1996 Robert was appointed Director, Curriculum, with the NSW Board of Studies, and in 2001 took up the position of Director of Curriculum K–12 with the NSW Department of Education and Training.


OSCAR HUGO LOPEZ RIVAS, Minister of Education, Guatemala


OSCAR HUGO LOPEZ RIVAS, Minister of Education of Guatemala, holds a Education from Universidad de La Salle (Costa Rica). He is the former Head of the PADEP/D, the flagship 2-year in-service teacher training program of Guatemala, which has significantly helped upgrade the skills of more than 18,000 pre-primary and primary education teachers in the country since 2009. Before that, he was a researcher at the Department of Research at the prestigious Universidad de San Carlos (Guatemala). Throughout his professional career, Dr.Lopez Rivas was also an international consultant for different projects funded by USAID, the German Cooperation, United Nations Population Fund, among others.


HALSEY ROGERS, Lead Economist, Educational Global Practice, World Bank Group


HALSEY ROGERS is Lead Economist with the Education Global Practice of the World Bank Group.  He leads the World Bank’s global work on teacher policy and co-authored the new Latin America regional report Out of School and Out of Work:  Risks and Opportunities for Latin America’s Ninis (2016).  His other recent focus areas have included representing the World Bank in UN-hosted negotiations on the SDGs and Education 2030 agenda, researching education innovation for a creative economy with the Korean government, leading the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) program, and co-authoring the World Bank’s Education Strategy 2020:  Learning for All.  He has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and advised governments on teacher effectiveness, service delivery in education, aid effectiveness, development strategy, and other education topics such as private tutoring and out-of-school youth.  He also co-authored Growth and Empowerment:  Making Development Happen (Oxford University Press, 2006).  Rogers previously served as a Senior Economist in the World Bank’s Research department and as an advisor to former World Bank chief economists Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern.  He has also served with the US Council of Economic Advisors at the White House in Washington, the Indonesian Ministry of Finance in Jakarta, UC Berkeley, and the Korea Development Institute in Seoul.  He holds an AB from Princeton University, an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.


PISHTIWAN SADIQ, Minister of Education, Kurdistan Regional Government


H.E. DR. PISHTIWAN SADIQ ABDULLA, aged 46, is a distinguished lawyer from Kurdistan Region-Iraq (KRI) in the north of Iraq. He is a minister of Education of KRI. He holds a PhD in International Law. He was also an instructor at College of Law- Salahaddin University in Erbil. He has been a member of Law and Politics Department of that university for years. He has a distinguished career in that field for more than ten years. He was also a legal researcher and lecturer in International Law and Politics as well as Law Faculty member there. He has many published topics on Education and educational reform in KRI. He leads the recent reform in education towards transformation of life and community towards better standards and better understanding each other and founding a community based on education.


MANDEEP SAMRA, Researcher and Education Advisor, Department of International Development


MANDEEP SAMRA is an Education and Research Advisor at DFID working on a range of areas including education systems, education technology, data and the role of education in building community resilience. As the lead for education technology research, Mandeep is particularly interested in building robust evidence on the impact and cost effectiveness of ed tech interventions to identify solutions that can be scaled up for widespread adoption. She has worked as a social researcher across the public and private sector and has specialist skills in conducting research and evaluation with ‘hard to reach’, marginalized and vulnerable groups. Having moved from the Cabinet Office, where she worked on horizon scanning across areas as diverse as emerging technologies and the future of trust, Mandeep is passionate about social innovation and multi-disciplinary working.


JUSTIN SANDEFUR, Research Fellow, Center for Global Development





MIGUEL SZÉKELY, Director, Center for Education and Social Studies in Mexico


MIGUEL SZÉKELY is Director of the Center for Education and Social Studies in Mexico. From 2010 to 2013, he was Director of the Institute for Innovation in Education at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico. Prior to that, he served as Under Secretary for Middle Education of the Government of Mexico (2006-10) and as Under Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Ministry of Social Development (2002-06). He also served as Chief of the Office of Regional Development at the Office of the President of Mexico (2001), as Research Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank (1996-2001), and as Researcher in the Economics Department at El Colegio de México (1989-1993). He has a PhD in Economics and a Masters in Economics for Development from the University of Oxford, as well as a Masters in Public Policy and a BA in economics from ITAM, Mexico. He has lectured on Development Economics for Latin America at El Colegio de México, ITAM, and the University of Oxford. He is a specialist in education, social policy, and public policy evaluation. He has authored 84 academic publications, including 9 books, 31 refereed articles in academic journals, and 44 chapters in edited volumes.


BINH THANH VU, Senior Education Specialist, Education Global Practice, World Bank Group


BINH THANH VU is a Senior Education Specialist in the East Asia and the Pacific Region at the World Bank. She is currently based in Sydney, where she leads the World Bank’s education team for Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands under the Pacific Early Age Readiness and Learning Services (PEARL) for Pacific countries and other investment projects in PNG.  Her work in the Pacific is supported by her analytical, operational and policy experience from East Asia and Pacific and Europe and Central Asia in policy analysis and development in education from early childhood education, primary, TVET to higher education. She worked on analytical reports, policy and technical notes on quality of education for all, curricular improvement and education quality.



YIDAN WANG, Senior Education Specialist, Education Global Practice, World Bank Group



YIDAN WANG Yidan Wang is a Senior Education Specialist in the World Bank’s Education Global Practice. She leads the Education Staff Development Program (ESDP), the flagship training program within the World Bank Group which has become the core program for developing education-related technical competencies and skills for World Bank staff, development partners and policymakers. Prior to this position, she initiated and pioneered new global and regional courses for policymakers and practitioners at the World Bank Institute and Asian Development Institute in such areas as education for development and competitiveness, public-private partnerships in the social sector, tertiary education innovation etc. Wang has authored and co-authored several books and articles such as “Education in a Changing World: Flexibility, Skills, and Employability,” “A Primer on Policies for Jobs,” (2012),“Expanding Opportunities and Building Competencies for Young People: A New Agenda for Secondary Education,” (2005) “Public-Private Partnerships in the Social Sector” (2000), Her work experience spans across Africa, East and South Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, and the Pacific Region. She holds a Ph.D. in International Education and Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.


MICHAEL WOOLCOCK, Lead Social Development Specialist, World Bank Group


MICHAEL WOOLCOCK is Lead Social Development Specialist in the World Bank's Development Research Group. For ten years he has also been a part-time Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Together with Kennedy School colleagues Lant Pritchett and Matt Andrews he is a founder of the Building State Capability program and its signature initiative, Problem-Driven Iterative Adaption (PDIA), which seeks to embed a pragmatic approach to building implementation capability within a broader scholarly account of how institutions acquire capability and why development assistance strategies seeking to promote this so often underachieve. He is the author of numerous books and articles on an array of issues in international development, most recently (with Hana Brixi and Ellen Lust) 'Trust, Voice and Incentives: Learning from Local Success Stories in Service Delivery in the Middle East and North Africa' (World Bank 2015). An Australian national, he has a PhD in sociology from Brown University. He is currently based in Malaysia, helping establish the World Bank's first Knowledge and Research Hub.


MINXUAN ZHANG, Former President and Professor, Shanghai Normal University


MINXUAN ZHANG, Former President and Professor, Shanghai Normal University, PhD at Hong Kong University, joined the faculty of Shanghai Normal University in 1986. His research areas include international and comparative education, educational policy, strategic planning, and teacher education. Prof. ZHANG worked as the Deputy Director General, Shanghai Municipal Education Commission since 2004 and the Director of Shanghai Academy of Education Sciences. In 2011 Dr. ZHANG was invited as the President back to Shanghai Normal University. Dr. ZHANG was the National Project Manager of Shanghai PISA and now takes charge of Shanghai TALIS. Now Dr. ZHANG is a Standing Member of Shanghai Municipal Congress and the Deputy Director for International Affairs, and also working as the Director of the Center for International Education Studies and Consultation, Ministry of Education, China. In international community, Dr. Zhang serves an adversary member for UN International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP, Paris) and a Board member for UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning (UIL, Hamburg).


Making Systems Work: A Global Conference on Education Systems is proudly sponsored by both the Australian Government (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and the World Bank Group.

Australian Government

The Australian Government (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) is committed to contributing to global stability, sustainable economic growth, and poverty reduction through international and regional development. Specifically focused on two development outcomes, supporting private sector development and strengthening human development, Australia is supporting changes to education systems and policies in order to deliver better services. Australia’s investments in education enable children, particularly girls and children with a disability, to gain the skills they need to obtain work or go on to further study and to lead productive lives.

The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is a strong supporter of the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) and education systems research, evident in the new Strategy for Australia’s aid investments in education 2015-2020, which details the ways in which the Australian Government will work with partner countries to help them deliver comprehensive and high-quality education services. In partnership with the Australian Government, the World Bank Group has successfully applied the SABER tools in a number of countries around the world, particularly in the East Asia and Pacific region through the Pacific SABER (PaBER) initiative and also through the SABER Umbrella Facility. This three-year pilot regional program is led by the countries involved: Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea. 

World Bank Group

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.

Education at the World Bank Group has focused its efforts in two strategic directions in light of this goal: reforming education systems at the country level and building a high-quality knowledge base for education reforms at the global level. The Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) is helping the Bank to realize this goal at both the country level, by better informing education systems analysis, assessment, diagnosis, and dialogue, as well as at the global level by improving the knowledge base on education systems to inform effective reforms. Over the course of the last few years the systems approach to education has become the primary lens through which we as the international development community view the challenges that currently impede the realization of Learning for All, and is helping us to better understand what works and why. 

Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER)

There is widespread agreement that education delivers skills that underpin students’ future learning and leads to greater social and financial mobility, increasing one’s income and ultimately affecting a country’s economic growth and development. But there is far less agreement on the education policies and programs most likely to create quality learning environments and improve student performance, especially among the disadvantaged. The Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) tools collect and analyze policy data on education systems around the world, using evidence-based frameworks to highlight the policies and institutions that matter most to promote learning for all children and youth. SABER products and engagements are helping to reform education systems at the country level and building a high-quality knowledge base for education reforms at the global level.

Efforts thus far have focused on producing evidence-based frameworks and tools to collect comparative data and knowledge on education policies and institutions in an effort to help countries systematically analyze and strengthen their education systems. SABER offers a common basis for dialogue among stakeholders on reform strategies and programmatic priorities.

SABER and its related products are also helping build a high-quality global knowledge base in education available as a global public good through the SABER webtool. Through the site, comparable findings from the application of SABER tools and related country reports, regional reports, policy notes, briefs and studies are made available. Also available through this site are SABER framework papers, produced in each key education systems area currently analyzed through SABER; these papers provide an outline of evidence-based findings of the education policies that matter most in terms of building effective education systems and achieving Learning for All.

Education Staff Development Program (ESDP)

The Education Staff Development Program (ESDP) is a flagship program developed within the Education Global Practice of the World Bank Group. Originally designed to build the technical skills and competencies of education staff within the World Bank Group, the ESDP has since been extended to development partners, policymakers and practitioners. Technical components of the ESDP modules are based on SABER and cover: (i) global/cutting-edge knowledge on specific technical areas based on evidence; (ii) diagnostic tools to assess a country’s development stage; (iii) policy design and implementation issues; and (iv) experiences, lessons learned, and tips on project design.

The ESDP has developed eight modules based on specific technical areas of the education sector, including: i) teacher policies; ii) student assessment; iii) early childhood development; iv) workforce development; v) school autonomy and accountability; vi) engaging the private sector; vii) education management information systems (EMIS); and viii) information communication technologies (ICT) in education. In addition, the ESDP has developed two e-learning modules: “Education Strategy 2020” e-learning, which places learning and systems as key focus areas in education; and “Early Childhood Development for Policymakers and Practitioners” e-learning, which provides a rationale for investing in ECD, using SABER tools to analyze a country’s ECD policies and key areas to implement ECD interventions. This course is now available in Chinese as well.


This Global Conference on Education Systems will begin on Monday February 29, 2016 at 9am and end at 5pm on Wednesday March 2, 2016. A draft agenda will be shared prior to the conference and the final agenda will be available when collecting materials at registration.


The Conference will be held at the Intercontinental Sydney located in the heart of the Central Business District and about 13 kilometers from Sydney International Airport.

Arrangements for Participants

All event-related-expenses and logistics including travel, accommodation, medical insurance and other arrangements are the responsibility of the individual participants.


Participants must make their own accommodation arrangements, either at the Intercontinental Hotel or another hotel close to the conference venue. Note that the Intercontinental is within walking distance to Circular Quay and main shopping streets.

117 Macquarie Street
Sydney, N.S.W., Australia

Visa Issuance

All participants, except New Zealand nationals, need a visa to enter Australia.  Each participant will be expected to arrange their own visa. Information regarding Australian entry visas can be obtained from the Australian immigration website, or from the nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate. A list is available online here.


Participation in the Conference is by invitation only.

Should you have any questions regarding the Conference, please contact:




World Bank Group Sydney Office

Address:  Level 19, 14 Martin Place, Sydney 2000 Australia
Phone: (02) 9223 7773
Office Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm


Time Difference

Sydney is +16 hours ahead of Washington DC.

Weather – February/March

Sydney: average high 23℃ / 73.4℉ and average low 13℃ / 55℉.

Foreign Exchange Rate and Banking

The monetary unit in Australia is the Australian dollar (AUD). Australian currency consists of 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1 and $2 coins and $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes.  (1 USD = approximately 1.35 AUD). Internationally recognized credit cards including VISA, AMEX, Master Card and Diners Club can be used as credit cards and VISA and MasterCard debit cards can also be used.

Emergency Numbers

000 Police and Emergencies for Fire/Rescue & Hospital

  • WHEN: February 29 – March 2, 2016
  • WHERE: Intercontinental Hotel, 117 Macquarie Street, Sydney, Australia
  • LANGUAGE: All sessions will be held in English. Translation to other languages may be arranged as planning evolves but is not guaranteed.
  • REGISTRATION: By invitation
  • Contact: