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

April 04, 2014Kristen Grauer

This Week at CEI

We would like to thank all of the innovators, educators, and grantees who made last week's PSIPSE East Africa Regional Convening in Narobi such a success! The event was coordinated by CEI team members Jordan Worthington and Tara Hill in conjunction with our regional partners at the Center for Social Sector, Education, and Policy Analysis (CSSEPA). Over 150 key stakeholders in the secondary education space were in attendance, participating in a series of networking events that facilitated peer-to-peer information sharing across key topic areas. More information on CEI's work with the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) is available here

Fellow CEI team member Shaheen Madraswala and I attended an event at the Brookings Institution on early childhood development in the West Bank and Gaza. Speakers Sulieman Mleahat of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) and Safaa El-Kogali of the World Bank gave powerful testimonies regarding their work in the MENA region. If you are interested in education provision in fragile areas, check out last week's blog post entitled "5 Programs Bettering Opportunities for Students in Conflict-Affected States." 


Upcoming Events



  • 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.
  • April 14 | OpenIDEO Women's Safety Challenge | OpenIDEO calls for innovative solutions that answer the following question: How might we make low-income urban areas safer and more empowering for women and girls? 
  • April 17 | 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.
  • 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 13 | Read Alliance Early Grade Reading Innovation Challenge - Read Alliance calls for proposals in the field of early grade education. It seeks to discover, develop, and scale early grade reading innovations in order to improve the reading skills of at least five million Indian primary school students.
  • 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 | 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.
  • 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

Study shows that Morocco's bilingual education system limits students' attainment of higher education - One of the greatest challenges facing the national government is high illiteracy, especially among women in rural areas of the country. While reforms have been made over the last decade to improve attitudes and policies towards girls' education, these changes also sought to "Arabize" primary and secondary education by switching the language of instruction from French to Fus-ha - a shift that was not replicated at the university level. A new report shows that this linguistic divide favors students from middle and upper socioeconomic levels who have the opportunity to learn foreign languages at an early age, while students from lower socioeconomic levels struggle with the abrupt transition. The greater implications of this system reveal that this approach may limit the ability of economically disadvantaged students to attain socioeconomic mobility.

The growing teacher shortage in MENA threatens the region's educational gains - While teacher shortages are a global problem, the issue is particularly relevant in the Arab world where the school-age population is expected to reach 9.5 million in the near future. A recent study by Deloitte suggests that if this gap is to be overcome, 75,000 new teachers will have to be hired in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone. The most successful education systems in the world have developed key strategies to attract the best candidates to become educators and to train them not only at the beginning of their careers, but throughout their entirety. The UAE Ministry of Education has implemented a number of professional development programs to encourage these kind of processes - including a School Leadership Program developed by Pearson; however, more work needs to be done to transform society's attitude towards the teaching profession. 

A breakthrough initiative in Lebanon is getting Syrian refugee children back in school - Three years ago, Syria was well on its way to achieving universal primary education. Today, approximately 3 million Syrian children have been displaced and their access to schooling completely disrupted. The pilot project in Lebanon, designed by Kevin Watkins of the United Kingdom Overseas Development Institute in conjunction with UNICEF and the UNHCR, seeks to establish children's right to education irrespective of national borders. Through an agreement with the Lebanese government, the initiative will put 1,500 of Lebanon's schools on a double-shift system enabling 435,000 refugee children to get back in school within a matter of weeks.

Teacher strikes in Argentina delay the start of the academic year - Due to recent inflation, teachers unions in Argentina demanded pay raises of approximately 35% for all members. While many of the nation's provinces reached agreements with unions to increase wages by up to 30%, classroom across several other have been empty for over a week due to teacher absenteeism. In Buenos Aires, teachers rejected a government proposal for a 30.9% salary increase because they were not given the opporuntity to negotiate. The Argentine government is aprehension to engage in such talks due to the fear that agreeing to such demands will set a dangerous precedence for the future. Meanwhile, almost 4 million students across the country remain out of school. 


Point of Departure

A new publication from UNESCO entitled "Learning to Live Together: A Realistic Dream for Education" highlights the significant role that education plays in peace-building. Learning to Live Together (LTLT) is one of the four pillars of learning identified in a report by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century in 1996. This report provides the framework for UNESCO's publication which emphasizes two LTLT processes: the discovery of others and the experience of shared purposes. This framework encourages classrooms and national governments to develop curricula promoting concepts such as empathy, cultural sensitivity, media and information literacy, and teamwork. Many countries have already integrated these values into their education strategies, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. 

WEIGH IN - What role do you believe the LTLT framework should have in global education policy? 

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