Center for Education Innovations: Year in Review

December 17, 2015Donika Dimovska

2015 has been a year of important milestones at the Center for Education Innovations (CEI). Our Program Database, a searchable online collection of detailed profiles for innovative education programs across the globe, has grown to include nearly 700 projects in 60 countries. Over 10,000 individuals, from almost every country, are using our website every month. We’ve produced accessible content highlighting the promising approaches of the organizations we profile, and we’ve formed partnerships with global leaders in education to help innovators around the world scale up their impact.

CEI’s value comes largely from our audience and user-base of practitioners, funders, policymakers, and education advocates. We have exciting plans to continue serving our committed network in the coming year, but it is also important to take this opportunity to reflect on all of the exciting work we have done this year together

A growing global network of collaborators

Recognizing the value and impact of strategic partnerships, CEI initiated several exciting collaborations this year with funders to identify, improve, and grow promising models:eLearning Sudan

CEI partnered with UNICEF on a strategy to systematically select promising innovative education models ripe for support. After receiving over 160 nominations sourced from the CEI database of programs and UNICEF country offices, CEI and UNICEF named 5 finalists and 10 runners-up.  The finalists received funding from UNICEF and monitoring, evaluation, and communications support from CEI.  Over a one-year period, innovators are testing and scaling their models while collecting evidence on effectiveness. CEI is documenting this process with the aim of answering the following question: What lessons can be learned about how education innovations can best prepare for scale up and adaptation?  Case studies for each of the five innovations will be developed and shared with innovators, government actors, and funders. 

With support from the Hewlett Foundation, CEI also led the development of a digital platform where members of the education community can find actionable tools and knowledge to support implementation and awareness of evidence-based strategies for improving learning in early education and primary school lessons. Our work so far has focused on ensuring that the platform addresses the needs of practitioners by drawing on evaluations funded through the Hewlett Foundation’s Quality Education in Developing Countries Initiative, systematic reviews of early learning interventions and direct input from practitioners in the field. Now, we are preparing the final touches for an early 2016 dissemination campaign that will provide opportunities for education practitioners to engage with the resources online and offline.

CEI also solidified its relationship with various education influencers. For example:

A thriving database continues to expand

With every new organization profiled, our Program Database increases its value as a comprehensive, up-to-date, and searchable resource furthering knowledge about projects expanding access to quality education. In May 2015, we augmented the Database by launching CEI Plus - an initiative that aims to increase the level of available information about promising education innovations by allowing programs to share results and evidence through easy-to-use reporting tools. Over 200 programs have since updated or submitted new data and evidence, and we hope this number will continue to grow. 

Sharing insights from a sizable database

The amount of data contained in nearly 700 program profile pages, even searchable, can be quite daunting. To make sure this comprehensive collection is as easy to use as possible, CEI added Topic Portals to our website this year. These Topic Portals condense the rich insights of our database into accessible highlights of widely seen characteristics, emerging models, data visualizations, and curated news sources.

We invite you to browse our Database at a Glance briefs which provide useful syntheses of national and global innovation trends in some of the most pertinent issues in global education; including

Early Childhood Development

Education Technology

Fragile and Conflict-affected States

Girls’ Education

Public-Private Partnerships

Low Cost Private Schools

Skills for Work

Country briefs for India, Kenya, and South Africa were also compiled from our network of profiles.

A modern refresh for the CEI website

This year, the CEI website underwent several important redesigns aimed at improving the user-experience for our online community. A new tiled display on our Homepage, for example, allows visitors to understand and access CEI’s signature products more quickly and intuitively. We’ve streamlined our About Page, expanded our Initiatives Page, and modernized our look; all in an effort to respond to the needs of our users, and function as a practical resource for education advocates seeking to better understand the global innovation landscape.

Moving Forward

We are proud of the contributions that CEI has made to the global education and innovation communities – and we are excited about what lies ahead.

In the pipeline, we have the release of a new knowledge product that will share lessons from our work scaling up innovations with UNICEF and the launch of two platforms - an evidence-based early grade learning toolkit and a digital Early Childhood Development knowledge hub.

Make sure you stay up to date on these developments by subscribing to our newsletter. Happy holidays - and we hope you will continue to engage with us as we strengthen our existing partnerships, and seek new collaborations in the coming year.


Donika Dimovska

Senior Program Director, CEI
On behalf of the global CEI network

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Photo Credit: UN Photo/ Marco Dormino

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