300+ programs profiled on CEI: A glimpse into the universe of education innovations

December 06, 2013Tara Hill
Tara Hill is a Program Associate at R4D, working on the Center for Education Innovations and other projects in the Global Education portfolio. This article also appeared in the December edition of CEI Connections. 
With the end of 2013 now in sight, we pause to reflect on the growth of CEI to date. Launched in June with the goal of identifying, analyzing, and connecting non-state education innovations serving the poor globally, the CEI platform went live with over 100 innovative programs in our Programs Database. December marks an important milestone for CEI: this month our database grew to include more than 300 innovative programs that are actively providing solutions to some of the toughest challenges in education at the global, regional, and local levels.
As the size of the CEI database continues to grow, so too does its geographic reach. Our database now includes 170 programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, over 100 in South Asia, 35 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 33 in East Asia and the Pacific, and 7 in the Middle East and North Africa. While the database heavily features innovations from countries in which CEI collaborates with country partners (South Africa, India, Kenya, Pakistan, and Nigeria), it also captures innovations from countries such as Timor Leste, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and South Sudan.
Individually interviewed by a member of CEI’s global staff, each program profiled on the CEI database is in some way filling much-needed gaps in ensuring quality and access to education. 
Nearly 100 CEI programs tackle teacher quality through providing teacher training and evaluation. 70 programs are bridging the gap between youth and employment opportunities through providing skills for work. 65 programs target out-of-school children. The database includes over 60 innovations in education technology, more than 40 in girls’ education, and 35 in early childhood education and development.
This growth in geographic and topic coverage enables us to begin identifying commonalities and themes across programs. For example, we have found that skills training programs often incorporate soft-skills training, mentorship, or post-training job-placement. Many early childhood education and development programs include an advocacy component and often provide holistic support in the form of training to mothers and caregivers in issues such as health and nutrition. These examples only scratch the surface of the lessons we hope to draw out and share as we look forward to 2014.
As we celebrate this important milestone for CEI, we look ahead to the next. The growth of our database lays the foundation for CEI’s core mission, and we are continuously identifying innovative programs we hope will become a part of the CEI community. This effort can only be strengthened with your help. If you are interested in referring a program to CEI, drop us a line (thill@r4d.org).
With each program added to the database, we can increase the body of knowledge around lessons, challenges, and successes experienced by our community of program implementers.

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