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Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel

The new Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel (GEEAP), co-hosted by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development OfficeUNICEF, USAID, and the World Bank fills a need in the education sector. Advisory panels are common in the health field, for example. Because this new international panel consists of leading researchers and practitioners who have contributed to and applied the burgeoning evidence base in education, its recommendations will both have a sound evidentiary basis and be credible to the intended audience.  This Panel is thus well positioned to influence policymaking in the way that other bodies do.

Panelists have been selected for their expertise in generating and using good evidence in education. The panel’s size is set at between 10 and 15 members, large enough to allow a wealth of diverse experiences but small enough for vigorous discussion.  Membership is drawn from among economists, educationalists, psychologists, and policymakers.  The panelists already participate in many other networks and panels, including domestic advisory panels and topic-based panels.  The GEEAP aims to knit together that expertise into a global group that can provide guidance on education broadly for low- and middle-income countries.    

A full list of panel members can be found further below.

The Panel is releasing its first recommendations on the Smart Buys in education for low- and middle-income countries.

To inform countries’ decisions about where to allocate their budget and reform efforts, the report groups education programmes into the following tiers of cost-effectiveness:

  • “Great buys”— these interventions are highly cost-effective and are supported by a strong body of evidence.
  • “Good buys” — where there is good evidence that these interventions are cost-effective.
  • “Promising but limited evidence”—for these approaches, there are some rigorous studies that show high levels of effectiveness, but evidence on cost-effectiveness or examples of implementation at scale are lacking.
  • “Effective but Relatively Expensive” – interventions with good evidence that they are effective, but they are a relatively expensive way to deliver learning outcomes. They might be appropriate for school systems with larger budgets or to achieve non-education objectives.
  • “Bad buys”—cases where strong, repeated evidence shows that these programmes have not worked in the past in many situations or are not cost-effective.

The Panel’s previous report on Prioritizing Learning During COVID-19 focused on the most effective interventions to keep children learning during and post-pandemic

Its first report on Smart Buys in education for low- and middle-income countries was published in 2020.

Panel Members


Professor Kwame Akyeampong

  • Professor of International Education and Development, The Open University 
  • Expert in education systems in Africa, including on political economy of reform, teacher training and complementary basic education.

Professor Tahir Andrabi

  • Inaugural Dean, LUMS School of Education, and Professor of Economics, Pomona College
  • Researcher on education and advisor to Government in Pakistan. Co-founder of the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP).

Professor Abhijit Banerjee

  • Professor of Economics, MIT
  • Nobel prize-winning economist celebrated for experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. 
Rukmini Banerji

Dr. Rukmini Banerji

  • CEO, Pratham Education Foundation 
  • Award winner of the Yidan Prize for Educational Development Innovator in new pedagogical approaches and assessment, leader of large movement to transform education in India and beyond.

Professor Susan Dynarski

  • Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Researcher at the forefront of understanding and reducing inequalities in education, including for college access, financial aid design, labour market outcomes, and high school reforms.

Rachel Glennerster

  • Associate Professor, Division of the Social Sciences and the College, University of Chicago; former Chief Economist at FCDO
  • Expert on assessing cost-effectiveness of alternative interventions to reduce poverty, including in education. Researcher and policy advisor.

Emeritus Professor Sally Grantham-McGregor

  • Emeritus Professor of Child Health and Nutrition, UCL GOS Institute of Global Health
  • Pioneer in the rigorous study of Early Childhood Development in developing countries with a focus on parental engagement. Recently made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Professor Karthik Muralidharan

  • Professor of Economics, University of California San Diego
  • Global co-chair of education at JPAL. Lead Principal Investigator in India for Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) program.
Benjamin Piper

Dr. Benjamin Piper

  • Benjamin Piper Director, Global Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Education expert who supports grantees that work to improve foundational literacy and numeracy outcomes in low-income countries
  • Previously supported largescale education programs across SubSaharan Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Dr. Sara Ruto

  • Former Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Education, Kenya
  • Experienced researcher; served as director/CEO of the PAL Network since its inception in 2015; former Regional Manager of Uwezo East Africa using evidence to draw public attention to children’s learning.
Jaime Saavedra

Jaime Saavedra

  • Former Minister of Education of Peru, currently head of the Education global practice at the World Bank 
  • Researcher and policymaker with extensive expertise on education, inequality and poverty reduction.

Sylvia Schmelkes

  • Professor and Researcher, Research Institute for the Development of Education, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City
  • Sociologist and education researcher who headed Mexico’s National Institute for the Evaluation of Education; has expertise in intercultural bilingual education, values, and adult learning.

Professor Hirokazu Yoshikawa

  • Professor of Globalization and Education, NYU Steinhardt
  • Community and developmental psychologist; has done extensive research across the U.S., LICs and MICs, with a particular focus on early childhood and inequality.