Center for Education Innovations: This Week's News and Views

December 11, 2015Duncan McCullough

This Week at CEI

As world leaders meet in Paris to discuss global action on climate change, Senior Education Advisor for the UK Department for International Development in India Colin Bangay explores the connection between education and global warming.  Bangay, who is also a member of CEI’s Advisory Council, examines how education initiatives can spur the technological innovation and behavioral change that will be crucial to stemming global warming.

The body of evidence supporting the benefits of early childhood development interventions continues to grow. Concurrently, new education technologies are permeating classrooms around the world, creating important opportunities to improve learning that did not exist even a few years ago. This past week, Shreya Shah took to CEI’s blog to highlight five programs that are combining these two important developments in international education.

In a recent guest-post, Mike Dawson, CEO of Ustad Mobile, and Lauryn Oates, leader of the Darakht-e Danesh Online Library for Educators in Afghanistan, examine the case that openly licensed learning materials may need to become a much more common aspect of global education development. Especially in challenging contexts like Afghanistan, the lack of quality learning materials is proving to be a significant constraint to providing students with the lessons they need and deserve. “Openness” Mike and Lauryn write, “is essential to facilitate direct access to those who actually need the resources.”

Events and Opportunities

Corruption in Fragile States: The Development Challenge
Dec. 14th, World Bank Group HQ – Washington DC
The World Bank hosts a panel this coming Monday to explore conceptual & operational issues in addressing corruption in fragile, conflict and violence affected environments. The panel will focus on the nexus between fragility, security & corruption, as well as identify the fundamental challenges around corruption & development in these contexts. Click here to attend (RSVP required).

Varkey Foundation Challenge Fund Call
Jan. 3rd, Application Deadline
Our friends at the Varkey Foundation are seeking to support a number of early-stage initiatives in their endeavours with up to $50,000 to build the capacity of teachers and to strengthen the status of the teaching profession. Applications are welcomed from all countries, although lead applicants must be registered as charitable, not-for-profit entities. The foundation is looking for relatively small and innovative propositions that, if successful, have the potential to achieve significant impact. Projects may already receive funding from other sources – using the Varkey Foundation grant to match or supplement existing funding is encouraged.

The Monsanto Fund, International Grants to Improve Farming Communities
Jan. 1st through Feb. 28, Application Window
The Monsanto Fund will soon accept grant proposals for programs outside the United States from projects working to provide basic education support designed to improve education in farming communities around the world, including supporting schools, libraries, science centers, farmer training programs and academic programs that enrich or supplement existing school programs. For a list of eligible countries, click here.

Call for Proposals for Africa Centers of Excellence
Open Call
World Bank Group (WBG) and Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) are jointly launching a Call for Proposals for Africa Centers of Excellence. The key regional development priorities identified for this Project are in four cluster areas: (i) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); (ii) Agriculture; (iii) Health; and (iv) Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and Quality of Education, and Applied Statistics. (ACEs) for Eastern and Southern Africa. For a list of supporting countries, as well as additional information on how to submit, click here.

Udemy Social Innovation Grants
Open Call
Udemy, an online learning marketplace that is greatly expanding its international presence, is providing two small grants of $2,500 each month for non-profits and NGOs focused on social change that want to teach online and scale their impact. Click here to download a grant application.

In the News

The refugee crisis in Europe: Bridging the education gap for Syrians in Turkey

On Brookings’ Education + Development blog, Xanthe Ackerman looks at the education refugee crisis, specifically in Turkey where almost 2 million have fled to the country from Syria. Turkey is providing 200,000 children with education, mostly in temporary centers, but much more needs to be done to prevent the potential of a lost generation. Ackerman outlines some of the new initiatives being developed to meet this immense challenge, and calls for a more robust global response.

Belief-based Social Innovation: Gender-Lens’ Next Frontier

At the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Emily Nielsen Jones and Musimbi Kanyoro examine what they view as a new stage of the gender-lens movement in promoting social change. The two authors believe that the gender lens movement, which can generally be understood as an effort to amplify impact by including considerations of gender into an intervention strategy, is moving beyond simple efforts to provide redress or mitigation to past gender discrimination. Instead, now the gender-lens movement is increasingly focused on funding “culturally led efforts to re-examine and transform underlying beliefs that systematically disempower females in the first place.” This new stage presents a number of opportunities as well as potential challenges, which Nielsen Jones and Kanyoro explore in depth in this fascinating article.

How Legos Might Turn Your Kid Into A Math Lover

Taylor Pittman from the The Huffington Post profiles a teacher that is using Legos, the building block toy, as a learning tool to help teach her students math. The seemingly endless combination of Lego bricks lend themselves nicely to math lessons in fractions, square numbers, multiplication and more. The response from her students has so far been very positive, and the article contains examples of the lessons these in which these little bricks are playing a massive role.



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