World Development Report 2018

LEARNING to Realize Education’s Promise


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Main Messages

  • Schooling is not the same as learning.
  • Schooling without learning is not just a wasted opportunity, but a great injustice.
  • There is nothing inevitable about low learning in low- and middle-income countries.

The Three Dimensions of the Learning Crisis

The crisis has three main dimensions:

  1. The first dimension of the crisis is the poor learning outcomes themselves.
  2. The second dimension of the learning crisis is its immediate causes:
    • Children arrive unprepared to learn.
    • Teachers often lack the skills or motivation to teach effectively.
    • Inputs often fail to reach classrooms or to affect learning.
    • Poor management and governance often undermine schooling quality.
  3. The third dimension of the crisis is its deeper systemic causes.

The Three Policy Actions to Address the Crisis

  1. Assess learning, to make it a serious goal.
  2. Act on evidence, to make schools work for learners.
  3. Align actors, to make the system work for learning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

In Depth


Full Report:

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Part I: Education’s promise

Chapter 1: Schooling, learning, and the promise of education


Part II: The learning crisis


Chapter 2: The great schooling expansion—and those it has left behind

Spotlight 1: The biology of learning

Chapter 3: The many faces of the learning crisis

Spotlight 2: Poverty hinders biological development and undermines learning

Chapter 4: To take learning seriously, start by measuring it

Spotlight 3: The multidimensionality of skills


Part III: Innovations and evidence for learning                                                                                                                     


Spotlight 4: Learning about learning

Chapter 5: There is no learning without prepared, motivated learners

Chapter 6: Teacher skills and motivation both matter (though many education systems act like they don’t)

Chapter 7: Everything else should strengthen the teacher-learner interaction

Chapter 8: Build on foundations by linking skills training to jobs

Spotlight 5: Technology is changing the world of work: What does that mean for learning?



Part IV: Making the system work for learning at scale


Chapter 9: Education systems are misaligned with learning

Spotlight 6: Spending more or spending better—or both?

Chapter 10: Unhealthy politics drives misalignments

Chapter 11: How to escape low-learning traps


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