News & Views: This Week at CEI

April 24, 2015Duncan McCullough

This week at CEI

Yesterday, Results for Development (R4D) announced an exciting new collaboration with WISE within the framework of the CEI and the Wise.ed.hub platforms.  The collaboration will increase opportunities for expert discussion and feature innovative projects in education around the world. 

CEI’s blog this week also featured our newest entry in the Innovator Interview series.  Kate Radford, Innovations Program Manager at War Child Holland, spoke with us about eLearning Sudan’s cutting –edge work in Sudan.  The project improves vital skills for out-of-school children by providing solar powered tablets and creative learning strategies. 

Check out Gabriel Sanchez Zinny’s recent post about assessment strategies for education systems in Latin America.  As economies in the region continue to develop, Zinny discusses how crucial modernizing Latin America’s education will be for current and future economic competitiveness.

Where in the world is Nicholas Burnett?  Last week, R4D’s intrepid Managing Director met with a variety of practitioners and stakeholders to discuss promoting play based early learning strategies for education at the 2015 Lego Idea Conference in Denmark.  He was joined there by fellow CEI staffers Kavita Hatipoglu and Michelle Neuman (pictured above).  We’ll be sharing a detailed recap of the conference (and plenty more photos) on the blog next week, so check back here for an update.

Later in the week, Burnett presented at The Graduate Institute of Geneva event, “Education and Development: Challenges and Perspectives.”  There he spoke about the key challenges for education development following the release of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015 and International Development Policy’s latest issue, “Education, Learning, Training: Critical Issues for Development.” Click here to download his presentation and here to read his contribution to International Development Policy.


  • 23 April: The Amplify Challenge began accepting ideas through the OpenIDEO platform on the question of how to support teachers in refugee contexts that pose unique challenges to learning outcomes.  Selected ideas will receive funding and/or design support from Amplify.
  • 24 April: Today is the last day for Early Registration (Full Registration lasts until June 15) to the 67th OMEP World Assembly and Conference.  The event will explore Early Childhood Pathways to Sustainability, and will take place in Washington DC from July 27 – August 1, 2015.
  • 30 April: Nomination deadline for the ALAS-IDB Awards.  The Childhood Development Awards will recognize organizations and individuals working to improve the lives and education of children in Latin America or the Caribbean.
  • 30 April: The International Higher Education Support Program (HESP) of the Open Society Foundations closes its window to accept project proposals to its Advancing Human Rights through Higher Education Grant for organizations. The Foundations’ deadline for Education Activist Networking Group Grant for individuals is also April 30.
  • 4 May:  Standard registration ends for the 2nd International Conference on Education, Social Sciences and Humanities, organized by the OCERINT, will convene academics, independent scholars, and researchers to discuss issues of international education and a variety of other Social Sciences.  Late Registration will remain available after this date.
  • 12 May: Comic Relief’s Cycle 4 for Implementing and Adapting grants window ends.  Comic Relief has stated their particular interest in proposals for projects that improve access to education and community building initiatives in Ebola-affected countries in West Africa.
  • 18 May:  Deadline to register to attend the Cambridge Conference: “Policy Making in the Big Data Era.”  The event takes place June 15 – June 17, 2015, and will explore the implications of new technologies and large-scale data collection for policy making.

Education News From Around the World

Report cards for Education for All: 2000-2015 - The Education for All Global Monitoring Report published 7 “Report Cards” for each Education for All goal analyzed in their report, released April 9th.  The report cards are a visually creative representation of the report’s findings.  Goals like “Gender parity and equality”, and “Early childhood care and education” are evaluated based on past successes, persistent challenges, and other metrics.  It’s a clever way for the report to continue the conversation about which Education for All goals require new approaches, and which deserve a redoubling of efforts.  Take a look for yourself, here.

Despite living in a ‘man’s world,’ the surf girls of Bangladesh are on the rise - Since the beginning of 2014, the Cox’s Bazar Lifesaving and Surfing Club has provided girls in Bangladesh with surfing and English lessons.  In a country where approximately 4.9 million girls aged 5-15 participate in child labor, the Surfing Club has had to overcome resistance from parents that want their girls on the job and not in school or the water.  Despite this, the club continues to engage and educate girls.  The lessons are helping the girls “become more confident…They feel respected for the first time” one of the Club’s founders explains.  Creative engagement and education strategies are an important approach for educating girls around the world, so here’s hoping the Cox’s Bazar Lifesaving and Surfing Club keeps hanging ten for many waves to come.  To see some remarkable pictures of the girls, click here.

Measuring Instruction in Higher Ed - Recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation’s education blog, Impatient Optimists, featured a new report entitled, Measuring Instruction in Higher Ed.  The report was authored through collaboration by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  It examines different instruction approaches from multiple levels and considers how to apply these strategies in systems of higher education.  Just as Gabriel Zinny noted last week in CEI’s blog, the report finds that while technologies and economic realities continue to rapidly develop, the importance of higher education rises right along with them.  While assessing college-level education can be especially challenging, the report will hopefully be successful in kick-starting a conversation about the importance of more effective instruction at this higher level, and start us on the path to finding promising new strategies.

Shoe that grows will help 300 million barefoot children around the world - Kenton Lee, an inventor and former Peace Corps volunteer has invented a shoe that grows along with a child’s feet.  The inventor and his organization, The Shoe That Grows, hopes to help reach some of the over 300 million children around the world that do not have shoes.  Adequate footwear is an often overlooked but significant challenge to children’s education, and CEI will be following this innovative new product with great interest as we continue our work with programs championing Inclusive Education and targeting Out-of-School Children.

Point of Departure

After the release of the 2015 Education for All GMR Report, the failure to achieve universal primary education has refocused attention on this vital goal.  Two news stories from the Daily Independent in Lagos and The Guardian in London illustrate the variety of challenges for primary level education in Sub-Saharan Africa.  On one hand, Nigeria recently announced an investment of $8.5 million from Japan that will construct 30 new primary school blocks in the country.  For a country that has struggled with providing primary school access to its population, this has been welcome news.  In Uganda however, a country that has demonstrated great success at providing primary school access now appears to be struggling with rising drop-out rates for its children.  The Guardian reports on UNESCO’s estimate that 68% of Ugandan children are likely to leave school before completion.

The Brookings Education + Development Blog has weighed in as well.  Their newest post highlights efforts to increase practical and entrepreneurial skills in secondary education in Uganda.  And here at CEI, we feature 43 programs working on a variety of fronts to improve learning outcomes in the country.

Weigh In:

  • What should be the primary focus in efforts to improve primary school attendance and completion rates in developing economies?  Should marketable skills be prioritized?  Or is greater investment in modern infrastructure the key?  What role do teacher assessments and qualifications play?  Perhaps a more comprehensive approach is needed, but in contexts with limited resources available, how realistic of an option is that likely to be?


Images courtesy of Kavita Hatipoglu and LINK School Performance Review Program

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