Below are some commonly asked questions about CEI.

  • What is CEI’s mission?

    CEI promotes programs, policies, and practices that increase access to quality, affordable, and equitable education for the world’s poor. Our vision is for education systems around the world to capitalize on innovation so as to increase access to quality education and improve learning outcomes, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.

    We aim to identify promising education innovations, analyze what makes these innovations work, and connect innovators to the wider innovation ecosystem of funders, researchers, and policymakers. We want to ultimately aid in the improvement, replication, and scale of innovations that work.

  • What is CEI’s approach?

    The Center for Education Innovations (CEI) aims to identify, analyze, and connect innovative education programs in developing countries. We pursue this goal using two mutually-reinforcing mechanisms: a public website at www.EducationInnovations.org and a network of partners that drive offline in-country activities.

    • IDENTIFY CEI provides comprehensive, up-to-date, and searchable information about hundreds of innovative programs in its Programs Database.
    • ANALYZE CEI not only compiles existing evidence in its Research & Evidence Library, but uses the Programs Database as a starting point to learn what works and why.
    • CONNECT CEI connects people implementing, funding, regulating, and studying innovative programs to translate good practices and enable improvement, replication, and scale-up.


  • How did CEI come about?

    CEI was launched in 2012 with funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

    It builds upon the example of the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI), a sibling Results for Development initiative that fosters programs, policies and practices that make quality health care delivered by private organizations affordable and accessible to the world’s poor.

  • What does CEI mean by “innovation”?

    At CEI, we realize that effective education systems are complex. They include not only DELIVERY, but POLICIES and FINANCING MECHANISMS that foster equity and quality, as well as SUPPORT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES for schools, teachers, and students. When a program for the poor addresses any one of these system components using approaches that are new—or combines approaches in a new way—we consider it innovative. Remember that innovation is relative: what is commonplace in one community may not be in another; an application of an existing approach in a new place or sector is innovative.

  • Will CEI continue to grow?

    Yes, CEI is a constantly evolving initiative that will grow both in scale and regional scope. The database of education innovations continues to grow each month as more innovative programs are added.


  • How do I suggest a program, funder, or piece of Research & Evidence for the CEI website?

    CEI is continuously looking to grow its database and pipeline of education programs, funders, and Research & Evidence globally. In addition to the programs profiled on the CEI platform, CEI also has a pipeline of programs that have already been identified and are in line to be profiled. We encourage CEI users to suggest innovative programs for our pipeline, funders interested in non-state education, or resources that would be good additions to the Research & Evidence Library. Please use the contact us link to do so!

  • How does CEI define education levels?

    CEI uses the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to sort content in the Programs Database and Research & Evidence Library. A summary of the ISCED levels is provided here:

    • Early childhood education (ISCED 0)
    • Early childhood (0-2 years, ISCED 01)
    • Pre-primary (3 years to start of primary, ISCED 02)
    • Primary (ISCED 1)
    • Lower secondary (ISCED 2)
    • Upper secondary (ISCED 3)
    • Post-secondary non-tertiary (ISCED 4)
    • Short-cycle tertiary (ISCED 5)
    • Bachelor or equivalent (ISCED 6)
    • Master or equivalent (ISCED 7)*
    • Doctoral or equivalent (ISCED 8)*

    *CEI combines ISCED levels 7 and 8 (Master and Doctoral) when sorting content.

  • How does CEI collect data?

    CEI collects information through a multi-pronged approach, using both primary and secondary sources. Our team conducts background research on programs using information that is publicly available, through program websites, reports, articles etc. CEI’s value-add, however, is that every program profiled on the CEI website has also been phone interviewed by a CEI team member in order to collect more in-depth information regarding their model, interests, future plans, and challenges. Phone interviews are also a chance to build relationships with each program to better enable CEI to facilitate linkages between stakeholders.

    CEI has developed an extensive and rigorous program profile data collection template, which our team uses to collect qualitative and quantitative information along the following categories that are reflected in the program profiles:

    • Program approach
    • Target beneficiaries
    • Scale
    • Monitoring & evaluation
    • Financing
  • How does CEI document the effectiveness of the programs it profiles?

    CEI has developed a systematized template through which to collect information on programs, including program’s results, metrics, and monitoring and evaluation strategies. However, as this information is not required to be provided by all programs, and because the data featured on program profiles is self-reported by programs themselves, CEI cannot definitively endorse the effectiveness of programs featured on the platform.  CEI seeks to collect as much evidence and data about programs as possible, and is interested in not only programs’ monitoring and evaluation data itself, but also in their monitoring plans and strategies, as well as what metrics programs use to measure their success and how they collect and use these to drive operations.

  • How does it benefit an innovative education program to be profiled on CEI?

    Gain visibility: share information and resources about a program with…

    • Funders
    • Other implementers
    • Researchers and evaluators
    • Policymakers
    • In addition to having a profile on the CEI website, programs will be highlighted in newsletters, the homepage, and social media and CEI analytical produces (e.g., Annual report, briefs, etc.)

    Increase access to information about other programs and organizations

    Learn about funding opportunities by exploring the CEI funders’ platform

    Contact other implementers and exchange resources and best practices in:

    • The program’s country/region
    • The program’s topic area

    Participate in convenings: participate in online and offline CEI-related convenings, discussion forums, and workshops around specific topic areas and/or geographic areas.

    Promote your participation with CEI using our 'Profiled on CEI Badge': You can add this badge to your website's About Page, email signatures, newsletters and more!

  • What if I see incorrect information (or want to make a change to a profile)?

    To amend or update a profile, please contact us.

  • Can I contact program(s) profiled on the CEI database?

    We encourage you to interact and connect with other innovators, which is why we provide each program’s contact details at the bottom of their profile.

  • How does CEI categorize the programs it profiles?

    CEI sorts profiled programs into five categories depending on their approach. Developed with input from experts in implementation and research, we believe this is an inclusive framework that captures the universe of non-state education innovations.

    • Delivery

      Direct provision of education or training to students

    • Financing

      Mechanisms that finance students, schools, teachers, or systems

    • Policy & Analysis

      Improving the policy environment and building the education evidence base

    • School Support

      Services or products enabling schools to increase efficiency and effectiveness

    • Student Support

      Services or products increasing access to quality learning experiences


    Some programs conduct activities that fall into more than one of the above categories. In that case, they are tagged with additional categories in the "Additional Approach" field. Each program is also tagged using one or many of the sub-categories below.


    • Delivery

      • Franchise of schools/centers
      • Chain of schools/centers
      • Network of schools/centers
      • Mobile schools/centers
      • Online school/center
      • Stand-alone school/center
    • Financing

      • Vouchers and conditional cash transfers
      • Scholarships and financial aid
      • Student/household loans
      • Contracting
      • School loans
      • Pay-for-performance
      • Cross-subsidization
    • Policy & Analysis

      • Regulations and laws
      • Evaluating or improving academic standards
      • Linking research and evidence with policy or implementation
      • Policy frameworks for financing mechanisms
      • Advocacy
    • School Support

      • Parental or community engagement for school accountability
      • Teacher training
      • School leader training
      • School operations or management
      • Teacher evaluation
      • Standardized teaching materials
      • Untraditional schedules
      • Infrastructure and equipment
      • Student assessment and progress
    • Student Support

      • Parental or community engagement in support of students
      • Tutoring
      • Mentorship/internship/job placement
      • Extra-curricular activities
      • Transitional support (from out of school to in school or between school levels)
      • Learning materials for students
      • Community resources
      • Increasing or sustaining enrollment


  • What types of programs are not within the scope of CEI?

    Programs and policies that have the potential to improve the way education systems operate for the poor. They may be implemented by NGOs, private non-profit and for-profit entities, and programs run by or in partnership with governments. However, the following programs are out of CEI’s scope:

    • CEI is not an incubator for new programs – it focuses on programs that are already established and operational. As such, innovations that are still in their business plan/idea phase are out of scope
    • Programs predominately utilized by the wealthy (e.g. high-cost private schools)
    • Small, individual (formal or informal sector) providers
    • Health education programs



Who we work with: