R4D Education

Global Education

Education is playing an increasingly important role as economies and societies become more knowledge-based. R4D Education’s initiatives concentrate largely on levers for change in areas with high potential for impact: innovations,evaluation and learning, out-of-school children, skills for employability, financing, and early childhood. Our education portfolio complements our work in health and governance, and cross-cutting themes include the relationships among education, nutrition and health, and supporting civil society organizations in their work to increase public sector accountability.

Featured Global Education Resources

This Results for Development publication, developed in partnership with Educate A Child, addresses the socio-political, health and economic costs of out of school children (OOSC) in Colombia.

In 2014-2015, Results for Development Institute (R4D) conducted a scoping study on the potential for output-based aid (OBA) in education for the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA).

Global Education Resources

This is an update of a 2013 publication from Results for Development (R4D) that focuses on the costs of not providing universal primary education—to individuals and to nations. Like the original version of this paper, it was developed by and is published jointly with Educate A Child.

In this literature review commissioned by UNESCO, Results for Development (R4D) authors Michelle Neuman and Kimberly Josephson synthesize what is currently known and identify knowledge gaps about pre-primary teachers and the settings in which they work in developing countries.

R4D has identified leading organizations, associations, and individuals in the early childhood development space and provided CIFF analysis and recommendations in support of their goals. 

CIFF contracted Results for Development Institute (R4D) to develop a global ECD advocacy strategy to help the Foundation achieve measurable impact in the field and inform what a global coalition around early learning and early childhood development might look like.

In an effort to better understand some of the opportunities in and constraints to providing financial services for education, particularly in relation to providers that supplement or complement public education, Educate A Child commissioned a study to explore access to financial services by both the users and the providers of education.

Co-published by UNESCO Bangkok and the Results for Development Institute (R4D), this reportlooks at the benefits of primary education and estimates the economic cost associated with large populations of OOSC in seven Southeast Asian countries – Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam.

With a view towards the post-2015 agenda, this piece published in the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s biannual journal - Early Childhood Matters - takes stock of the current accessibility of pre-primary education, the main forms of delivery, and the key challenges.

This study by a team of authors including R4D’s Nicholas Burnett evaluates the costs and benefits of education from a health perspective. The report which was released under the backdrop of the Oslo Summit on Education for Development in July 2015 is very relevant in light of ongoing discussions around the Sustainable Development Goals and post-2015 development agenda, which emphasize the need for a stronger focus on the broader determinants of health. The report was commissioned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), and prepared by SEEK Development.

R4D’s technical study commissioned by the Malala Fund - a non-profit organization focused on empowering girls through secondary education -  builds on the analysis by the Education for All Global Monitoring Report (GMR) to shed further light on the cost of providing fee-free access to both upper and lower secondary school by 2030.

In a collection of articles that cover a broad range of media outlets, Vinod Thomas, Gina Lagomarsino, Andrew Steer and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, discuss central issues at the heart of economic growth.

In an effort to more deeply understand the nuts and bolts of the citizen- led assessment model and to evaluate its ability to measure learning, disseminate findings widely, and stimulate awareness and action, Results for Development Institute (R4D), supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, evaluated four citizen-led assessments between May 2013 and November 2014: Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) in India, Beekunko in Mali, Jàngandoo in Senegal, and Uwezo in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

After casting a wide net to identify innovative skills development programs targeting youth in Asia and Africa, R4D uncovered a rich universe of models for skilling youth, including multi-stakeholder partnerships, innovative financing mechanisms, innovative uses of ICT for teaching and learning, and programs emphasizing the skills needed in the 21st century. Drawing from these models, R4D has studied six promising initiatives in depth in the second phase of the Innovative Secondary Education for Skills Enhancement (ISESE) project. The case studies put forward valuable lessons for designing skills development programs for youth and expanding the reach of such programs.

If properly harnessed, the non-state education sector has the potential to improve access to quality education services for the poor. Significant gaps remain among governments and donors in developing and capitalizing on promising non-state models. This journal article published in PROPARCO magazine discusses the need for creative new financing mechanisms to help seed robust, potentially scalable models that enhance the quality and affordability of education and ultimately benefit the poor.

Following the release of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015 (GMR), a launch was held for the the latest issue of the journal International Development Policy (DevPol) entitled ‘Education, Learning, Training. Critical Issues for Development’. At the event, select authors including R4D’s Nicholas Burnett, discussed key challenges for education in a global world. His full presentation can be downloaded at the link below.

R4D’s upcoming book, Bridging the Skills Gap: Innovations in Africa and Asia, will probe deep into five key themes relevant to the skills discussion and vital to close the skills gap. The five core chapters of the book will cover the following topics: inclusive skills development, technical skills, systemic curricular change, pedagogy reform, and soft skills.  Recent research and debate in each of these themes will be explored with the support of case studies to illustrate successes, challenges, and lessons using real world examples. 

In the 2013 UNA-UK publication, Nicholas Burnett, Shubha Jayaram and Milan Thomas explore the skills and competencies needed to support dynamic, prosperous labour markets.

Co-authored by R4D Managing Director Nicholas Burnett, a new paper looks at the implications for UNESCO of the proposed post-2015 education goals. UNESCO has been tasked with spear-heading the global education agenda – as  part of the post-2015 development debate.

R4D and UNESCO published a report aiming to serve as a rapid reference for policymakers in the Asia-Pacific region who wish to familiarize themselves on non-traditional financing approaches. It compiles successful cases drawn from various sectors that not only break new ground but offer feasible fiscal solutions to better support educational interventions for out-of-school children. 

According to a joint UN report, adolescents are twice as likely to be out of school as primary school-age children, The report titled "Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children" highlights key trends and data related to out-of-school children and includes a chapter on financing needs for out-of-school children authored by R4D's Milan Thomas and Nicholas Burnett."

R4D Managing Director, Nicholas Burnett discusses international education policies, issues, and challenges in the book titled Education, Learning, Training: Critical Issues for Development. Read more...

This article, available at Springer.com, reports on a Results for Development Institute (R4D) study that explored whether secondary education systems are adequately preparing young people for the workplace, and identified innovative models for delivering relevant skills at the secondary level. It found that employers are looking for three key types of skills: cognitive, non-cognitive, and technical.

R4D Managing Director Nicholas Burnett was the keynote speaker at the Quality Learning Foundation's first ever national conference in Thailand on May 7, 2014. Burnett's presentation focuses on innovative financing and spending with the goal of reducing the number of out of school children and to improve the quality of existing schooling.

Drawing on recent evidence, a literature review and interviews with experts, the "Buying Down Loans for Education" Report provides as background the necessary contextual information of the basic education needs of low- and middle-income countries; trends and prospects in aid and concessional finance for basic education; and the basic mechanics of buy-downs.

The core of the Innovative Secondary Education for Skills Enhancement (ISESE) project, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, was a series of 12 background studies, now publically available. Produced in partnership with regional partners, these explore a range of issues related to skills, education, and economic development in 12 focus countries across Africa and Asia. 

This paper explores strategies to support youth employability and the school-to-work transition. Brief examples are also used to illustrate how programmes in different regions are working to tackle these issues.

In April 2013, Results for Development Institute (R4D) reviewed the benefits of primary education and estimated the economic cost associated with large populations of out-of-school children in a background study for Educate A Child’s (EAC) High Level Strategic Meeting to Accelerate Efforts to Reach Out-of-School Children (Burnett, Guison-Dowdy and Thomas 2013). This report is an extension of that study. It updates economic cost estimates to reflect the latest data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), further develops the estimation methodology, and expands the estimation exercise to a set of 20 low- and middle-income countries.

In April 2013, Results for Development Institute (R4D) reviewed the benefits of primary education and estimated the economic cost associated with large populations of out-of-school children in a background study for Educate A Child’s (EAC) High Level Strategic Meeting to Accelerate Efforts to Reach Out-of-School Children (Burnett, Guison-Dowdy and Thomas 2013). This report is an extension of that study. It updates economic cost estimates to reflect the latest data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), further develops the estimation methodology, and expands the estimation exercise to a set of 20 low- and middle-income countries.

Why has the take-up of Early Childhood programs been so slow?  R4D Managing Director Nicholas Burnett suggests several reasons, especially that the discussion has been too confined to the early childhood community.

To underscore the importance of reducing the global number of out-of-school children, this paper, commissioned by Educate A Child, summarizes research on the multi-faceted benefits of primary education and estimates the economic costs of large out-of-school child populations.

With support from the Bernard Van Leer Foundation, R4D has developed a prospectus for an Early Learning Challenge to catalyze new investment in early learning programs in pilot countries Kenya and Tanzania.

The six Education for All (EFA) goals and the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), two of which concern education, all expire in 2015. Though there are still three years to go, we now know that they will not be met on time without redoubled efforts, despite unprecedented progress in terms of primary school enrolments and completion and in terms of gender parity, the two issues that are in both sets of goals.

R4D has released a report on training models for employment in the digital economy, prepared with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. With the total size of the digital economy estimated to be about $20.4 trillion in 2013 according to the International Data Corporation, the report examines skill needs for employability. 

Significant headway towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA) goals has been made since their inception in 2000. However, progress has been uneven across sectors and regions, and serious questions have arisen.

The Innovative Secondary Education for Skills Enhancement (ISESE) project was commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation to the Results for Development Institute (R4D) to identify the skills required for work in the 21st century economies of Africa and Africa.

These twelve background papers were produced as part of Phase I of the Innovative Secondary Education for Skills Enhancement project, in which R4D worked with regional partners in Africa and Asia to identify the skills students in developing countries need.

In this R4D working paper entitled, "Education Resource Mobilization and Use in Developing Countries: Scope for Efficiency Gains through more Strategic Use of Education Aid," R4D expert Birger Fredriksen discusses options for enhancing the allocative efficiency of education aid by using it more strategically to increase its impact on national and global education outcomes.

This report is the result of a collective work carried out by the Writing Committee commissioned
by the Task Force on Innovative Financing for Education created by the Leading Group on
Innovative Financing for Development in March 2010.

In this paper, R4D Managing Director Nicholas Burnett and Oxford University Visiting Research Fellow Desmond Bermingham draw upon their extensive knowledge of education and on R4D’s work on innovative finance in other areas to examine how innovative financing can be applied to mobilize funds for education.

This article was written for the International Working Group on Education and discusses the importance of innovative financing for education, particularly in low-income countries.

This article by Managing Director Nicholas Burnett appears in the March 2010 Issue of Global magazine. It discusses the impact of the global economic crisis on achieving inclusive education and addresses areas of opportunity to ensure the realization of "Education for All."