RISE Welcomes UK Minister to Annual Conference
Experts in the fields of economics, education, and policy gathered from 21-22 June for research presentations and lively debate at the RISE Annual Conference 2018 at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. Nearly 200 delegates gathered in Oxford over the course of two days to discuss education systems research and the “learning crisis.”
Among the highlights of the conference was a speech given by the Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister of State at the Department for International Development (DFID), Harriett Baldwin, who reaffirmed the UK government’s continued support of Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) and the programme’s efforts to tackle the learning crisis. DFID, along with the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, provides funding for the RISE Programme.
Reflecting on a recent trip to Sierra Leone, Minister Baldwin spoke of the children she met, and in particular, the girls whose lives would be improved if they had access to quality education. The Minister stressed the importance of girls’ education and that of the most marginalised children, including those with disabilities. She congratulated the RISE research teams in Ethiopia and Pakistan for their focus on these groups.
The importance of education research and the RISE Programme was highlighted by the Minister who explained the need to understand what works – and what doesn’t – in order to dramatically improve learning outcomes. In a further confirmation of the increasing influence of the RISE Programme, Minister Baldwin also noted the impact on policy that is already taking place, for example in India where the Mindspark programme (a technology-aided learning software) is being extended following the success of the pilot in Delhi and the ongoing study in Rajasthan conducted by the RISE India team, in coordination and cooperation with Education Initiatives and the Government of Rajasthan.
The Minister challenged RISE researchers (as well as others in the room) to ensure that their research continues to support the most marginalised and that the findings and recommendations reach the decision makers with the power to implement systems reform.