World Bank warns of ‘learning crisis’ in global education

World Bank warns of ‘learning crisis’ in global education

WASHINGTON, September 26, 2017 – Millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life. Warning of ‘a learning crisis’ in global education, a new Bank report said schooling without learning was not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.

The World Development Report 2018: ‘Learning to Realize Education’s Promise’ argues that without learning, education will fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all. Even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math. This learning crisis is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them. Young students who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills.

“This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “When delivered well, education promises young people employment, better earnings, good health, and a life without poverty. For communities, education spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion. But these benefits depend on learning, and schooling without learning is a wasted opportunity. More than that, it’s a great injustice: the children whom societies fail the most are the ones who are most in need of a good education to succeed in life.

Schooling is not the same as learning
In Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, when grade 3 students were asked to read a simple sentence like “The name of the dog is Puppy,” three-quarters did not understand what it said. In rural India, nearly three-quarters of students in grade 3 could not solve a two-digit subtraction such as 46 – 17, and by grade 5 half could still not do it. Although the skills of Brazilian 15-year-olds have improved, if they continue to improve at their current rate they will not reach the rich-country average score in math for 75 years. In reading, it will take more than
260 years. All of these countries have measured learning and made the results public; in too many other countries learning deficits remain hidden.
Schooling without learning is not just a wasted opportunity, but also a great injustice. The children whom society is failing the most are the ones in
greatest need of a good education to succeed in life. Without learning, education fails to deliver fully on its promise as a driver of poverty elimination and shared prosperity. Within countries, learning outcomes are almost always much worse for the disadvantaged. In Uruguay, poor children in grade 6 are assessed as “not competent” in math at five times the rate of wealthy children. See full   report_English
Moreover, these results are for children and youth lucky enough to be in school. Many aren’t even enrolled in primary or secondary school, with members of disadvantaged groups—poor children, girls, children with disabilities, ethnic minorities—most likely to be out of school. Together, these severe short -falls constitute a learning crisis.
The report recommends concrete policy steps to help developing countries resolve this dire learning crisis in the areas of stronger learning assessments, using evidence of what works and what doesn’t to guide education decision-making; and mobilizing a strong social movement to push for education changes that champion ‘learning for all.’
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