Overview

  • Education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. Developing countries have made tremendous progress in getting children into the classroom and the majority of children worldwide are now in primary school. Nevertheless, some 260 million children are still out of primary and secondary school, and hundreds of millions of children cannot read or write, despite having attended school.

    Education has large, consistent returns in terms of income and reduces inequality. For individuals, it promotes employment, earnings, health, and poverty reduction. 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 to develop the human capital that will end extreme poverty.

    The World Bank Group works with countries to develop and improve their education systems.

    Our approach is inclusive and focused: we understand the needs of governments and work with them to ensure learning for all. Our projects, analytical work and technical assistance span early childhood education through higher education, with the goal of ensuring that all children can realize the promise of education.

    Ensuring access requires also strengthening quality, while taking into account the specific needs of the most vulnerable, such as children living in fragile and conflicted affected areas, refugees, children with disabilities and those who are vulnerable because they are female or from a marginalized community. We also understand that adult learning remains a real need, whether it’s to gain basic literacy and numeracy skills or for job training and business skills. We are developing new approaches to ensure that when it comes to education, no one is left behind.

    But there is more work to be done and the Bank Group is engaged in identifying, supporting and developing the best routes for delivering learning for all. In many countries, Bank Group funds are helping to attract much larger resources from governments, as well as other development partners, resulting in streamlined education programs and lower transaction costs for governments.

    Since 2000, the Bank Group has invested more than $45 billion in education, highlighting the importance of education for the achievement of our twin goals, ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. 

    Last Updated: Apr 24, 2017

  • The Bank Group’s global education strategy is focused on “learning for all” and ensuring that all children are able to attend school and learn. We 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. The Bank Group helped draft and is a signatory to the Education 2030 Framework for Action, which will guide countries through the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals for education.

    To make this vision a reality, the Bank Group is mobilizing all available resources and is applying a systemic approach to creating, supporting and enhancing education systems that deliver learning for children, young adults, and those who need skills later in adulthood. Our strategy is focused on three areas critical to reaching these goals:

    • We take an integrated approach to the education system to ensure learning throughout the life-cycle. Education services from pre-school to secondary education, and beyond to university and other tertiary education, need to be aligned and consistent.
    • We work to ensure universal access to quality education. Realizing true universal access requires equality of opportunity. Specific strategies must be developed to meet the educational needs of children and young adults in fragile or conflict-affected areas, those from marginalized and rural communities, girls and women, displaced populations, students with disabilities, those from ethnic minorities, and other vulnerable groups.
    • We want to strengthen financing tied to results. Funds need to be appropriately directed and spent smartly across regions and schools. We will continue to advance the gathering and dissemination of evidence on what works based on rigorous impact evaluations, and to help countries build results-based systems that link financing to outcomes along the education delivery chain.

    Our integrated approach to education is reflected in the scope of our operational and technical support to ensure learning, starting with pre-primary school programs for children aged three to six years old and continuing through secondary and higher education and other programs to meet the needs of older adults who never developed reading, writing and numeracy skills. Among the areas where we focus our work are:

    Ensuring that kids are off to a good start. In low income countries, only one in five children access preschool. We are working to ensure school readiness and learning for children age 3 to 6 by promoting and supporting early childhood education.

    Integrating curriculum, instruction and learning assessments. We are sharpening our focus on ensuring that learning happens in the classroom by simultaneously tackling what competences and knowledge should be taught, how teachers can effectively teach them, and measuring what students learn.

    Revamping teachers’ professional development. A good teacher makes all the difference. For learning to happen, teachers must be qualified, motivated and in the classroom teaching. We are working with governments and partners to improve how teachers are recruited, paid, rewarded, incentivized, assessed, and trained. This includes targeted professional development for teachers. 

    Building up implementation and management 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 so that they deliver services that can achieve learning for all.

    Facilitating the use of metrics to guide improvements in system performance. Metrics are critical to identifying regions and schools that are achieving results, recognizing good practices, and learning what works. We are continuing to invest in developing global public goods such as SABER and EdStats, and in working with countries on their own data-systems so that they apply metrics to measure and improve their education systems.

    For more about our work visit www.worldbank.org/education

    Last Updated: Apr 24, 2018

  • These are some of the WBG’s education results at the country level:

    In Belarus, the Belarus Education Modernization Project is improving the quality of its general education by rehabilitating schools across the country, as well as building a comprehensive Education Management and Information System. Through this project, Belarus is also participating for the first time in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), in an effort to measure student performance in mathematics, science, and reading. The Bank Group is also working with the Government on developing and piloting a per-capita student financing mechanism, which is covering 642 schools—about a fifth of all schools in the country. 

    In Haiti, Bank Group support is providing more than 437,000 tuition waivers, making it possible for an estimated 180,000 disadvantaged youth to attend school. In addition, daily quality hot meals to more than 372,000 students and financial support to an estimated 2,800 schools allowed many educational institutions to reopen following the devastation of the 2010 earthquake. Bank Group support is also focusing on education quality: An accelerated pre-service teacher training resulted in an additional 3,570 qualified primary school teachers.

    In India, more than 3,600 residential schools are now supporting the education of 400,000 girls ages 10 to 14. These residential schools, part of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya program, provide room and board, as well as full-time secondary education, and are supported under the India Third Elementary Education Project.

    In Indonesia, more than 15,000 teachers across 25 districts were trained to provide early childhood education as part of the Early Childhood Education Smart Generation in Villages program. The program, which was initiated in 2016, strengthened collaboration between various ministries to further early childhood development opportunities, particularly in the country’s poor and rural areas. In Indonesia, an estimated 20,000 villages – or about 30 percent of all villages in the country – don’t have access to early childhood education facilities.

    In Jordan, the Government has integrated more than 130,000 Syrian refugee children into public schools and is planning to expand this number to 160,000 with support from the new Bank Group-financed Education Reform Support Program. Bank Group support is also helping the country revise its early grade curriculum and expand preschool access, with the goal of reaching an 85 percent enrollment rate over the next five years. Jordan has also rolled out a new Education Information Management System (OpenEMIS) and is reforming its national assessment system to measure and monitor student learning and provide relevant support to students.

    In Lebanon, the Government has integrated 220,000 Syrian refugee children into public schools, increasing the number of students in public schools by more than 80 percent in just four years. The Bank Group-financed Support to Reaching All Children with Education 2 is continuing to support the Government in providing access to education for refugee children, improving the quality of education for all, and strengthening education systems in the country.

    In Nicaragua, the Education Sector Strategy Support Project helped certify more than 2,300 community preschool teachers—about a quarter of the national total— through a two-year training. Additionally, the project distributed 191,000 books for secondary school students in five key subjects: Spanish language and literature; mathematics, natural sciences; social sciences, and English.

    In Nigeria, the Bank Group approved an additional $100 million for the State Education Program Investment Project that will contribute to the return of students—particularly girls—to schools in the North East states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, and Taraba. Together with partners, the project will help identify out-of-school children, especially girls, and strategize on ways to bring them into school.

    In Pakistan, the Sindh School Monitoring System—the country’s first digital monitoring system in the education sector— is leading to the transparent and effective monitoring of staff, students and school infrastructure as a way to reduce absenteeism and other challenges faced in the area’s school system. As part of the program, which was implemented in 2017, more than 210,000 teaching and non-teaching staff have been profiled using biometric information, covering more than 26,200 schools.

    As part of Tanzania’s Education Program for Results, primary and secondary school learning has improved across the country. For grade 2 students, the average number of words read per minute in Kiswahili is up from 17.9 in 2013 to 23.6 words per minute in 2016. In mathematics, the number of correct answers per minute, also among grade 2 students, increased from 7.6 to 9.1 during the same period.  

    In Vietnammore than 8,000 poor students received tuition subsidies to attend non-public upper secondary schools and professional secondary schools. Using a results-based financing approach, the project linked the payment of a tuition subsidy with student performance. This helped increase access to upper secondary school education and reduce dropout rates among disadvantaged students in 12 provinces.

    In the West Bank and Gaza, the Teacher Education Improvement Program has helped train teachers for grades 1-4 in an effort to improve learning quality for Palestinian primary school children. In addition, the Education-to-Work-Transition project is strengthening the relevance of tertiary education programs through strategic partnerships with the private sector. To date, about 6,300 students have received entrepreneurship and soft skills training, to better prepare them for the job market.

    In West & Central Africa, 22 university-based Africa Centers of Excellence were created in seven countries to teach young students science-related subjects that are critical for Africa’s development. This Africa-wide program is financed by the Bank Group and implemented by national governments. The ACE for Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Redeemer’s University in Nigeria has published crucial research on the Ebola virus. Currently, there are 2,410 regional students enrolled in short-term courses, Master’s, and PhD programs. In 2017, the program celebrated its expansion to East and Southern Africa.

    In Yemen, the Bank Group implemented the Secondary Education Development for Girls Access Project in five governorates. A total of 14,350 teachers received training and 89 new female teachers were trained and hired, which encouraged parents to send their daughters to school, especially at the secondary school level. In addition, the project built 43 schools and equipped 50 schools with libraries, and science and computer laboratories.

    Find out more about World Bank Group education results here.

    Last Updated: Apr 24, 2018

  • The WBG collaborates closely with United Nations agencies and development partners and will strongly support countries as they work towards the SDGs.

    In 2002, the WBG was instrumental in creating the multi-donor Global Partnership for Education (GPE), an important partner in basic education. Efforts to better coordinate education financing from GPE and the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, are underway.

    Together with UNICEF, the WBG launched the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN) in 2016, which is bringing together governments, development partners, civil society, parliamentarians, and the private sector to increase investments in early childhood development.

    WBG President Jim Kim is one of the high-level commissioners of the Education Commission, which was convened  to chart a pathway for increased investment in order to develop the potential of all of the world’s young people.

    The Early Learning Partnership is a multi-donor (Hilton Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation or CIFF, and Department for International Development or DFiD) trust fund managed by the WBG. The WBG is working with countries to promote increased investment in children’s early years through research, policy planning, project design, and finance. 

    The WBG partners with bilateral donors, including Norway, the United States, and Germany for the Results in Education for All Children (REACH program), which is supporting efforts to build evidence on results-based financing in education. It has also partnered with DFiD and CIFF on the Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF).

    Other trust fund partners include Australia, the European Commission, Korea, Japan, and Russia.

    The WBG is also working with partners including Teach for All, the Arab World Initiative, the Early Childhood Consultative Group, the Global Reading Network, the Building Evidence in Education (BE²) Group, and the Global Book Alliance.

    Last Updated: Sep 19, 2017

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PHOTO GALLERY

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In Depth

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Impact Evaluations

Research that measures the impact of education policies to improve education in low and middle income countries.

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Results-Based Financing

A program that supports education services by focusing more sharply on results.

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Education Systems

This tool evaluates the quality of education policies against evidence-based global standards.

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Mapping Our Education Work

Explore where the World Bank supports countries on both the financing and knowledge fronts.

Additional Resources

Media Inquiries

Washington
1818 H St NW Washington DC 20433
pdacamara@worldbank.org