Evolving Education Strategy 2020 Emphasizes Learning for All

October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010 ̶ After much input from a first phase of global consultations, the World Bank has now posted the initial draft of its Education Strategy 2020 online for readers to review and give comments. A second phase of global consultations, underway from September through November, is soliciting feedback on the draft Strategy from stakeholders worldwide.

From Argentina to Mongolia, participants are asking questions that get to the core of the new Strategy: How will it build upon previous World Bank education strategies to further learning for all? What does it mean to strengthen an education system at the country level? How can the Bank put learning outcomes at the heart of its assistance? Discussing these and other questions is key to furthering the dialogue taking place within countries and with education stakeholders at all levels. The consultation process has been set up to ensure that information and feedback passes in multiple directions and we encourage you to join the discussion.

Focus on Learning for All

The new Strategy will build upon previous education strategies. The Strategy will focus on learning and overcoming barriers to education for disadvantaged groups. The Bank’s approach is based on the premise that the knowledge and competencies that enable people to live healthy, productive and satisfying lives are much broader than literacy and numeracy. Learning is not only about schooling, as there are many factors that impact human development and the skill acquisition necessary to compete in the labor market, which ultimately lead to poverty reduction and economic growth for individuals, communities and countries.

Focus on strengthening countries’ education systems

Increased learning requires institutional changes in the education system that can support investments in inputs such as trained teachers, better curriculums or more learning materials. Since most funding for education stems from government budgets rather than from donor contributions, it is critical that every country has the capacity to govern and manage its education system according to standards of quality and equity. To strengthen education systems at the country level, the Bank supports reforms that align governance, management and financing policy, and incentive mechanisms. On the ground, financial and technical aid from the Bank will be increasingly targeted to help improve learning outcomes and strengthen the relationships of accountability. In turn, the Strategy affirms its commitment to learning for all by increasing the effectiveness of government resources and aid financing for education.

Focus on outcomes

The Bank is focused on outcomes and exploring ways to drive results. In order to do this, it is important to understand the financing conditions that countries face and explore different options for financing, such as results-based financing. A useful starting definition of results-based financing used by the Bank is: “a cash payment or non-monetary transfer made to a national or sub-national government, manager, provider, payer or consumer of services after predefined results have been attained and verified. Payment is conditional on measurable actions being undertaken.” The Bank's education sector has piloted a number of results-based loans and credits in which government financing to providers is conditioned on the quantity and/or quality of service or outputs. The Bank will continue to support country programs to align funding arrangements and resource allocations with goals, functions and accountability mechanisms.

The full draft Strategy is online for discussion of these and many other issues which will continue to shape the evolving Strategy and inform the implementation process. The second phase of consultations will run from September to November and comments may be submitted through an online form and will be collected until November 30. Feedback from the comments from this second phase of consultations will inform the development of the final strategy paper that will be presented to the Board in early 2011.

Please read the draft and share your thoughts, provide success stories, or make suggestions.