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BRIEF November 10, 2020

Discover: Reimagining Human Connections Technology and Innovation in Education at the World Bank



Identifying innovations and building the evidence base for EdTech

The World Bank supports education communities around the world to discover new innovations, build the evidence base and facilitate the transformation of Ministries of Education into learning organizations. Policy makers are supported to analyze their education systems as a whole, but act like entrepreneurs to make things happen. This is achieved through institutional support for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in projects that use EdTech, partnerships with like-minded organizations and the development of digital ‘global public goods’ that can be used across multiple countries.


The EdTech Readiness Index

This tool will support an ecosystem view of EdTech investments and include indicators to help policymakers identify critical gaps in their EdTech strategies and plans. The Index goes beyond data relating to availability of devices and the level of connectivity – the typical first order infrastructure-related indicators most commonly considered – to better capture the key elements of the larger ecosystems within the education and technology sectors in a given country whose development are considered critical if investments in EdTech are likely to bear fruit.

EdTech Readiness: An ecosystem perspective

All countries, rich and poor, are struggling to realize the potential of new technologies at scale to benefit all learners in their education systems. Despite the overwhelming focus on investing in technology infrastructure in education systems, there is little compelling evidence to suggest that the mere availability of devices and connectivity alone has a positive impact on student learning. Experiences from the past three decades of EdTech investments around the world highlights the necessity to make complementary investments to digital infrastructure to strengthen teaching and learning.

A new World Bank Global EdTech Readiness Index seeks to track key elements of the supportive ecosystem that need to be in place if EdTech investments are likely to be impactful at scale.

Key elements of this index include: 

a. Digital infrastructure for education

  • Devices
  • Connectivity

b. Digital content for teaching and learning

  • Digital learning material
  • Online assessments

c. Digital skills, competencies and literacies

  • Digital literacy for teachers, students and school leaders
  • Pedagogical use of technology by teachers

d. Policies and institutions to support and enable the use of EdTech

  • EdTech policy
  • Institutional capacity

Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF) – EdTech window

This fund will support formative and iterative impact evaluations of EdTech projects around the world in specific areas to inform policymakers and investors of both impact and value for money of interventions.

For more information about the SIEF visit the following link:

EdTech Hub

The World Bank together with DFID and the Gates Foundation is supporting an EdTech Hub to generate global evidence and research on effective use of EdTech in developing countries. This research will create a global multidisciplinary research hub, which brings together technological, educational and research perspectives across sectors. This will embed better impact evaluation into current programs whilst developing, adapting and evaluating new and promising small- scale innovations that can be taken to scale.

For more information about the SIEF visit the following link: