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

October 18, 2013Kimberly Josephson
The United Nations Association of the UK (UNA-UK) recently published "Global Development Goals: Leaving No One Behind" which takes a critical look into achieving MDGs by 2015. The report features R4D's Nick Burnett, Shubha Jayaram, and Milan Thomas on what the MDGs left out: "An emphasis on skills and competencies" (page 80).


This Week at CEI

In case you missed it... Modupe Adefeso-Olateju, director of The Education Partnership (TEP) Centre, a CEI partner in Nigeria, investigates the real difference in student achievement between private and public schools in Nigeria. Read her blog post: “Are private schools really better than state schools?”

Xuejiao Cheng's interview with the director of the Rural Education Action Program (REAP) looks at five key changes that could lead to a "Chinese Education Reimagined." 

Spotlight on... Two CEI-profiled programs collaborated to evaluate the effectiveness of a reading intervention in Ghana. A new report yields promising results for a Worldreader program, with help from the innovative Tangerine tool. Children show greater fluency in both their mother tongue and the English language. Read more

Remember that the News & Views is now biweekly! We will now disseminate your weekly CEI updates, opportunities, and education news every other Friday. Stay tuned for the next edition on Friday, November 1. 


  • October 25: The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) will hold its 58th annual conference “Revisioning Education for All” in Toronto in March 2014. CIES is accepting proposals for workshops, individual papers, individual and group posters, and group panel sessions. Final deadline is 25 October.
  • October 28: The Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) is accepting Expressions of Interest through October 28 for innovative solutions that improve the delivery of humanitarian aid. Grants range from £75,000 to £150,000.
  • October 29-31: Apply to attend the 2013 WISE Summit in Doha, Qatar. A range of topics in education innovation will be addressed, including literacy and numeracy, MOOCs, and ICT learning.
  • November 30: Submit an application for D-Prize, a $20,000 award for social entrepreneurs with a plan to distribute solutions to fight poverty. Challenge areas include girls’ education, global health, energy, education, and governance.
  • January 16, 2014 - The Grand Challenges Canada Saving Brains initiative will provide seed funding and transition-to-scale funding for innovative interventions that nurture and protect early brain development in low- and middle-income countries. Proposals are due in January.


Education News

Global Corruption Report targets education - This year the theme of Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report is education, a sector it cites as “particularly prone to corruption” due to the vast amount of funds that get funneled from federal to local levels through complex, administrative networks. Unsurprisingly, the effects of corruption are disproportionately felt by poor and disadvantaged populations. The report includes a number of country-specific examples, such as: “ghost schools” in Pakistan, the misappropriation of funds and teacher absenteeism in Kenya, fake diplomas in Niger, enrollment bribes in Vietnam, nepotism in Nepal, tutoring as a substitute for effective teaching, and sexual exploitation. Among a number of recommendations to national systems and the international community, Transparency International stresses the need for education itself to be seen as a weapon against corruption.

Jordan’s schools sacrifice quality to admit Syrian children - Echoing the situation in Lebanon, Syrian refugees living in Jordan - now more than 500,000 registered -prove to be a strain on the education system, according to a NY Times article last week. Despite the government’s reluctance to do so, many public schools are now beginning to implement two daily shifts to accommodate the growing student population. Frustrated students waiting to attend school have even expressed a desire to return to Syria, where Save the Children estimates more than one in five schools have closed or been destroyed. A number of Jordanian children have also transferred out of private schools and into public schools due to financial constraints, adding to the burden on the education system. In addition to an enormous strain placed on teachers, it is doubtful that school infrastructure and facilities can sustain this additional weight. Check out this recent UNICEF report about education, security, and health challenges for Syrian children in Jordan.

New study shows China values its teachers more than 20 other countries - The Varkey GEMS Foundation recently published a study examining public perceptions of the teaching profession, comprising a mix of 21 developing and developed countries, including the UK, China, Brazil, the US, Turkey, Egypt, and Finland. The study also developed a Teacher Status Index to express the perceived respect that students have for their teachers and how their status compares with that of other professions. These results were then compared with the average salary and student learning outcomes as indicated by PISA country scores. Interestingly, no significant correlation could be found with either. China ranked the highest in teacher respect and status, enjoying the equivalent social status with that of doctors; Brazil and Israel ranked the lowest. According to a BBC article, “the public status of teaching will influence standards of education.”


Point of Departure

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize did not ultimately go to Malala Yousafzai, the world’s newest champion for girls’ education and a favorite to win. The global response to this decision has been a mixture of disappointment and relief. Many of Malala’s fans see this as a loss for the education movement, while others feared her winning could cause even more tension and volatility in Pakistan, especially for those living in Swat Valley. The Taliban have recently restated deadly threats against Malala. 

For some, it’s okay that she didn’t win because her nomination was sufficient enough; Malala still has an entire future to keep working for a girl’s right to education.

WEIGH IN: What’s next for Malala and the girls’ education movement?

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