“Without learning, education will fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all.“
World Development Report 2018 calls for greater measurement, action on evidence
WASHINGTON, September 26, 2017 – Millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life. Warning of ‘a learning crisis’ in global education, a new Bank report said schooling without learning was not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.
The World Development Report 2018: ‘Learning to Realize Education’s Promise’ argues that without learning, education will fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all. Even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math. This learning crisis is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them. Young students who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills.
“This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,”World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “When delivered well, education promises young people employment, better earnings, good health, and a life without poverty. For communities, education spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion. But these benefits depend on learning, and schooling without learning is a wasted opportunity. More than that, it’s a great injustice: the children whom societies fail the most are the ones who are most in need of a good education to succeed in life.”
The report recommends concrete policy steps to help developing countries resolve this dire learning crisis in the areas of stronger learning assessments, using evidence of what works and what doesn’t to guide education decision-making; and mobilizing a strong social movement to push for education changes that champion ‘learning for all.’
According to the report, when third grade students in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda were asked recently to read a sentence such as “The name of the dog is Puppy” in English or Kiswahili, three-quarters did not understand what it said. In rural India, nearly three-quarters of students in grade 3 could not solve a two-digit subtraction such as “46 – 17”—and by grade 5, half still could not do so. Although the skills of Brazilian 15-year-olds have improved, at their current rate of improvement they will not reach the rich-country average score in math for 75 years. In reading, it will take 263 years.
These statistics do not account for 260 million children who, for reasons of conflict, discrimination, disability, and other obstacles, are not enrolled in primary or secondary school.
While not all developing countries suffer from such extreme learning gaps, many fall far short of levels they aspire to. Leading international assessments on literacy and numeracy show that the average student in poor countries performs worse than 95 percent of the students in high-income countries—meaning such a student would be singled out for remedial attention in a class in those countries. Many high-performing students in middle-income countries—young men and women who achieve in the top quarter of their groups—would rank in the bottom quarter in a wealthier country.
The report, written by a team directed by World Bank Lead Economists, Deon Filmer and Halsey Rogers, identifies what drives these learning shortfalls—not only the ways in which teaching and learning breaks down in too many schools, but also the deeper political forces that cause these problems to persist.
Source: Phillip Hay, Patricia da Camara, Huma Imtiaz (2018). World Bank warns of ‘learning crisis’ in global education. World Bank. Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/09/26/world-bank-warns-of-learning-crisis-in-global-education [Retrieved on 19 May 2018].
GENERAL TALKING POINTS OF INTEREST (For now):
- To not assume that if there is education, there will be learning.
- Learning is not the same as teaching. Learning happens when the learner makes the action of learning the primary responsibility of the learner, just as teaching is the primary responsibility of the teacher.
- You can have teaching and no learning as the article above here illustrates. We need to accept that is possible.
- Yet one could have learning in the absence of teaching.
- Learning takes the student much farther along, with less resources, than any amount of teaching can do for the the learner. School and principals and student grades improve at the rate the learner seeks out learning. Infrastructure is not the primary driver of learning. Curiosity and the willingness to learn is.
- In the world of learning, we stop using the word ‘student’ and switches its reference to ‘the learner’.
- The student goes much farther in their journey of learning when they have piqued their curiosity about what they are learning. That is an almost mesmerized attention to learning. They are learning because they want to rather than they have to.
- All children have this innate capacity to be curious. Often it goes unnoticed by the parent as it typically happens in their absence and not in their presence or is picked up when the child does something ‘wrong’. And so as adults, most of us miss seeing it as it happens. We have all gone through it ourselves but we abandoned the notion of what it is, when we got what we had wanted as a result of that process or were punished for exercising it.
- What is the true nature of a child’s mind that piques their interest and become mesmerized (be they clean (or unclean) interests) to want to learn? Totto-Chan is a book written in modern times set within the context of World War II in Japan, that explores classic ideals such as curiosity, innocence, shyness, inquisitiveness, confusion, happiness and sorrow that represent some of these traits (all of which are emotional, and less mental, spiritual and physical) in nature) that promotes the mind of the child to want to learn.
- A learner then soon discovers that being on the journey of discovering and learning is far more exciting to be on than arriving at their destination (having learned and scored grades). The learner then can’t wait to get on to the next big journey and it did not matter to him whether his scored grades or he did not. That is not relevant to the learner.
- Once a learner discovers the joys of learning for its own sake (as opposed to ‘not wanting to fail’ or not making the grades for advancing to the next stage), the systems begins to realize it is becoming difficult for it to keep up with the pace at which learning is happening for the learner. The learner will keep exceeding the expectations that the teachers have set for them. The learner reaches his grades only by as far as he or she is willing to learn. Anyone else who believes that the effort to improve grades lies elsewhere, or with the teacher, is sorely mistaken and does so at the expense of incurring huge costs to the state (as highlighted by the article above here).
- Now, the question is: Where would a child imbibe the values of learning? Or, where could the child lose such values? What would allow or encourage the mind of the child to become mesmerized by learning? True childhood means the curiosity that piques a child’s interest for learning. Would that be at the school or be at the home?
REQUIRED RESEARCH ANALYSIS
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