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

March 21, 2014Shaheen Madraswala

This Week at CEI

The Education team at R4D attended the Comparative International Education Society (CIES) conference held in Toronto last week. CEI team member Tara Hill presented her findings on education innovations pulled together from the CEI database. The CEI database now features nearly 400 exciting education innovations!

The Nonprofit Technology Network held a webinar last week widely attended by technology and communication professionals from all over the US, including CEI team members Wambui Munge and Brittany Coppola. One of the recurring themes was the increasiningly prominent role of technology in non-profits’ communication and monitoring strategies. In case you weren’t able to attend the sessions or live stream them, you can access the archived footage here.

The Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) is holding its second regional convening in East Africa next week. Education team members, Jordan Worthington and Tara Hill are coordinating the event during which innovators from the region will share their latest work in the field of secondary education.  Follow @CEInnovations for the latest updates!

Lastly, if you are interested in learning more about the status of education in India, take a look at the India Education Reports, written by CEI's regional partner Catalyst Management Services (CMS). The reports which were recently added to our Research and Evidence Library, contain a comprehensive overview of India’s progress towards achieving universal primary education and underscore the need to focus on improving the quality of education at both the primary and the secondary level.



  • March 24-26 | PSIPSE East Africa Regional Convening - The learning partners for PSIPSE, Results for Development (R4D), and the Center for Social Sector, Education, and Policy Analysis (CSSEPA) will be holding a regional convening for PSIPSE-supported projects in East Africa, donors, and other stakeholders. The 2 and 1/2 day convening will be held in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • March 26 | Lean for Social Good Summit - Join an incredible group of nonprofit leaders, social entrepreneurs, Lean Startup experts, philanthropists, funders, and innovators for the inaugural Lean for Social Good Summit in Washington D.C. Hosted by Lean Impact.
  • March 30 | Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation - This seven-week course introduces the concepts of human-centered design and how to use the design process to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change. 
  • March 31 | The 2014 WISE Prize - The Wise Prize recognizes individuals or teams of up to six for outstanding contributions to education. Winners will be announced this November at the 2014 Summit in Doha, Qatar. Make a nomination today!
  • March 31 | The Library of Congress Literacy Awards - This awards program honors organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States or abroad. Deadline for nominations is March 31st.
  • March 31 | NORRAG News 50 - NORRAG calls for contributions to its April edition of NORRAG News on "The Global Politics of Teaching and Learning: The Real Story of Educational Cultures and Contexts." Submissions due by March 31st.
  • April 9-11 | Sankalp Unconvention Summit 2014 - Sankalp Forum’s annual summit was the first platform for social enterprises in India, and rapidly became the world’s largest. Register now for the exciting event to be held this spring in Mumbai.
  • April 10 | Countdown to 2015 Summit: Campaigning for Results and Accountability in Education - A World at School, in collaboration with civil society organizations and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, will host a summit focusing on the development of solutions to the global education crisis. Register today!
  • April 10 | Enabling Writers - All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development is now accepting nominations for its $100,000 prize competition which incentivizes the development of software that helps writers draft texts to improve reading skills of children in developing countries.
  • April 14 | Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) Development Competition - The U.S. Department of Education calls for education innovators within the States to submit applications for its 2014 Development Grant.
  • May 6 | The Tech Awards - Nominate an individual or organization for outstanding technology solutions in one of five categories: Environment, Education, Young Innovator* (under the age of 27) Health, or Economic Development.
  • May 26 | ISIF Asia Awards - Nominations for the 2014 ISIF Asia Awards are now being accepted! Nominate an ICT project that is improving social and economic development in the Asia/Pacific region.
  • July 18 | Round 2 Grant Competition - All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development calls for innovative technology-based solutions in three focus areas: Mother Tongue Instruction and Reading Materials, Family and Community Engagement, and Children with Disabilities.
  • August 31 | Varkey GEMS Foundation Global Teacher Prize - Applications for world’s first one million dollar teacher prize are now open. Nominate an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.
  • Open Ended | Early Childhood Intervention Survey - The International Society on Early Intervention (ISEI) invites you to participate in a brief survey about the status of early childhood intervention in your country. The questionnaire should take only 20 minutes.
  • Open Ended | Atlas Corps Fellowship - This 12-18 month professional fellowship is offered three times a year for nonprofit leaders from around the world. Develop leadership skills from the Atlas Corps Nonprofit Management Series in either the U.S. or Latin America.


Education News

The Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai wrapped up on Monday - The 3 day event brought together over 850 world leaders and education experts who generated a number of innovative ideas for improving the quality of global education. One of the key takeaways from the meeting was that it is in the interest of the private sector to invest in education, because it would provide them with a more skilled labor force. As such, the private sector was challenged to increase corporations' annual contribution towards education to 20% with an ultimate goal to raise $1 billion by March of 2015. In addition, a group of philanthropic organizations, including Dubai Cares and GEMS Education, have pledged to train 250,000 teachers from around the world over the course of ten years in an effort to increase the standard of classroom teaching.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova also highlighted the need for the global community to increase its efforts towards supporting girls' education. She noted that in 2011, 31 million girls were out of school, over half of which may never enroll.

New evidence reveals that two-fifths of all students deprived of education worldwide are disabled - Representatives from the Global Campaign for Education visited Uganda recently to gain insights into this global trend of marginalized students. They found that most Ugandan children with disabilities do not attend primary school and of those who do, the majority are unable to complete all seven years because schools lack inclusive infrastructure. Of those who do complete primary school, 90% will not continue their education. Sightsavers, a Ugandan charity focused on visual impairment, is working with the government to develop a special education policy that will address the lack of equipment and teacher training available to schools to better support students with disabilities. At the policy level, the program seeks to increase enrollment of blind and low-vision children by 25% by 2016. In addition, Sightsavers seeks to reverse stigmas and prejudices associated with disabled children in Uganda and across the globe.

Swine flu outbreak in Egypt forces interim government to delay the start of the academic year - Originally, students across the country were supposed to return to classrooms on February 22nd; this date has since been moved to March 8th due to an outbreak which has killed 63 and infected at least 539 people. This is the second time that the start of the term has been delayed due to health risks. The threat was exacerbated by security concerns on Wednesday, when supporters of the ousted Mohamed Morsi resumed protests in the nation's capital. 


Point of Departure

The United Nations has declared March 20th as the International Day of Happiness! On this occasion, an article posted on Buzzfeed uses data from the OECD’s triennial international survey, PISA, to compare average test scores with an index for happiness based on the percentage of students who agreed or disagreed with the statement, “I feel happy at school.” Students in China, Vietnam and Singapore among others are reportedly happy and well performing while students in Indonesia and Peru are happy but do not perform as well in school. On the other hand, students in Korea perform well in school but are reportedly unhappy and, unfortunately, students in Qatar, Argentina and Cyprus, among others, are neither happy nor well performing. Do check out the CEI database to find out how innovative education programs are seeking to redress these issues in these specific countries.

A closer look at the cases of Indonesia and Korea for instance raises the question- how can education systems around the world improve both learning outcomes as well as overall happiness? Moreover, are happiness and high performance mutually exclusive or can we build systems that strike a healthy balance between wellbeing and learning? 

WEIGH IN - In your opinion, is happiness an important indicator for the overall quality of education? If yes do you think there is perhaps a better way of measuring level of happiness in schools?


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