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BRIEF December 10, 2020

World Bank launches contest to identify tech-based solutions to support teachers


Scalable approaches to in-service teacher professional development are needed for countries to eliminate learning poverty and achieve inclusive and equitable quality education for all.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 53 percent of children in low- and -middle-income countries were unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10. The COVID-19 pandemic is amplifying the global learning crisis and has disrupted learning for more than a billion students globally. It’s estimated that the extended periods of school closures could increase the learning poverty rate to 63 percent, leading to significant negative effects on learning and human capital development.

Governments have tried to ameliorate the effects of the crisis by employing remote learning solutions. However, as governments implement these plans, teachers shoulder the burden of delivering a high-quality education, despite not having the preparation or support to do so effectively.

While teachers are the single most important school-based determinant for student achievement, if they are not able to effectively teach, students will not learn. In a new COVID-19 reality, where traditional teacher professional development programs are not available to teachers, coupled with the constantly changing classroom environments that require teachers to adopt new skills and knowledge, technology could facilitate access to more relevant, frequent, and at scale approaches to teacher professional development. Such programs focus on teachers’ competency to utilize tech-based approaches to teaching and professional development support on content knowledge, behavioral and pedagogical skills.

Tech-based solutions are especially relevant given the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and in contexts where mobility is affected by fragility, conflict, and/or violence (FCV). Many of the new high and low-tech resources include the potential of offering solutions “at scale” (e.g. national or regional) with the potential to benefit and engage a large number of teachers, either remotely or face-to-face.

The World Bank Group and HundrED are teaming up, with financing from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), to launch the Teachers for a Changing World: Transforming Teacher Professional Development Spotlight which aims to seek scalable and impactful solutions that intersect the use of technology and education for enhanced teacher professional development.

The Spotlight will accept applications for 100 days starting December 10, 2020. Selections will be announced and promoted in 2021. The selected innovators will have their work and impact featured in videos and a report, distributed globally; be highlighted on the World Bank Education website and shared with their global network; be invited to join the HundrED community including globally recognized innovators in education and get connected with education changemakers in over 100 countries; be promoted directly to education leaders, policymakers, and global multilateral organizations via the Spotlight report and in online events. The project contributes to the World Bank Group’s goal of eliminating Learning Poverty and HundrED’s mission of helping every child to flourish in life.

Learn more about the Spotlight and submit your innovation at: