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

June 27, 2014Kristen Grauer

This Week at CEI

On Thursday, June 26th, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) hosted its Replenishment Pledging Conference in Brussels, where a record US$28.5 billion in additional funding was secured for millions of children throughout the developing world. R4D Managing Director, Nicholas Burnett, attended the event, exchanging knowledge and experiences with 800 other education experts and delegates in the field.

This week on the CEI blog, we featured the work of our local partners at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Leigh Hunt followed-up a previous post on Social Impact Bonds with a new piece on the role of SIBs in the early childhood education and development sector. Molly Blank shared success stories of schools across the country to demonstrate how far South African education has come since 1994. Our partners also reflected on the nation's progress to date and lessons learned in a post on the South Africa Basic Education Conference held in late March. 
[This week's image is courtesy of GPE]

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Education News

Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and UBS Optimus Foundation Launch the First Development Impact Bond in Education - In order to improve the quality of girls' education and promote greater investment for social outcomes, CIFF and UBS have joined forces to create the first Development Impact Bond (DIB) in education. They have provided US$238K to finance an NGO operating in government schools in Rajasthan, India, Educate Girls, and will only receive a return if pre-agreed outcomes regarding enrollment, retention, and learning outcomes are achieved. Phyllis Costanza, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation, explains "This Development Impact Bond marks a turning point in the way social investment opportunities will be conceived in the future... This model strives to become a financially attractive way for investors to improve the lives of children facing adversity." Learn more about Development Impact Bonds, Social Impact Bonds, and other pay-for-performance financing innovations on the Standford Social Innovation Review (SSIR).

Double Shift School Days Threaten the Quality of Primary Education in Brazil - While Brazil has made significant progres over the years - boasting a one-third increase in household incomes, a highly educated upper class, and some of the best public schools in Latin America - the quality of its primary schools remains lower than that of low-income countries such as Madagascar and Haiti. Because teachers often serve more than one school, most students attend class for only four hours a day and are forced to repeat grades rather than recieve additional support when they fall behind. In general, teacher training does not meet international standards. In order to meet the demands of its rapidly growing economy, the nation must do more to create a culture of learning and improve the quality of education for teachers and students alike.

Point of Departure

Thursday, June 19th marked the culmination of the Goldman Sachs and Harvard University Global Education Conference which brought together a unique mix of corporations, investors, academics, program implementers, and policymakers working in the field of educational technology. In an interview with Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs Global TMT Investment Bank Co-Chairman George Lee reflected on the conference and discussed the opportunity for technology to disrupt the global education space in a major way.

In addition to its potential to increase the quality of education delivery and learning outcomes, Lee emphasized the growing amount of venture dollars being invested by companies such as Goldman Sachs into promising tech-based initiatives. When asked if an education technology company could ever become as big as Google or Facebook, Lee asserted that major companies themselves are likely to become increasingly interested in this area which could have a huge impact on global education in the near future. Giving special praise to Massive Open Online Courses, Lee stated that MOOCs are not just disruptors of education but expanders given their expansive reach across geographies, academic levels, and age ranges.

Lee said he has "Never been more excited about the prospect for technology companies to bring change and create value in our society" and neither are we, given the vast number of innovations in our Programs Database that are already impacting classrooms across the globe through technology.

WEIGH IN - What potential do you believe that technology has to transform the global education space?

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