EI responds to World Bank's framing of World Development Report on Education

published 28 April 2017 updated 10 May 2017

Based on our first-hand knowledge of education systems, policy and practice, Education International along with member organisations in regional consultations around the world have responded to the most recent concept paper from the World Bank on its World Development Report (WDR), "Realizing the Promise of Education for Development", due out later this year.

“While we share the World Bank’s stated concern about improving learning, our concerns are much broader,” stated Education International General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “Decades of prescriptive, test-based reform and the ensuing fatigue experienced by educators across the world demonstrate that the simple use of and reliance upon summative assessments does not equal quality.”

The WDR is an annual report published since 1978.  Each year it provides an in-depth analysis on a particular aspect of development. The report is influential in shaping the World Bank’s policy recommendation and equally advises governments, particularly finance ministers in the Global South and North.  After 40 years of publication, this year’s World Development Report (WDR) will focus on education.The World Bank is a central actor in shaping education policy agendas as it the largest provider of external funding to the sector.

Read EI’s full response here

Invest in trained, qualified, motivated and well-supported teachers and education support personnel

While the concept paper claims that this report will be about “getting education right”, decades of education reform efforts funded by the World Bank have undermined the attractiveness of a career in education. In fact, by imposing structural adjustment policies leading to salary caps on teachers and reduced investment in the public sector, the World Bank has largely contributed to the learning crisis. Investing in the education workforce requires addressing the structural factors impacting directly on the work of teachers, such as large class sizes, lack of training and professional development as well as low and irregularly paid salaries.

Ensure social dialogue and the consultation of relevant education stakeholders for meaningful education reform

As correctly stated in the concept paper, it is important to “effectively guide reform.” This can only be achieved through effective policy dialogue with teachers and their unions.   Education Unions are equipped with valuable insights into the reality on the ground and  can play an important role in ensuring best use of resources and developing meaningful education policy.The World Bank is well advised to make better use of the expertise of education unions and civil society during the drafting process of this report. It will certainly make for more relevant recommendations and advice.

For more on the World Bank’s Policy on teachers, read the EI study The World Bank’s Doublespeak on Teachers: An analysis of ten years of lending and advice