The World Bank’s New Learning Poverty Measure is Welcome, But as a Means, Not an End

On Thursday the World Bank launched its new Learning Poverty measure, to serve as a rallying cry for improved learning. It is intended to be the learning equivalent of the $1/day poverty line, measuring the percent of children below a low learning threshold—those who cannot read a simple passage by age 10.

Developing Country Education Systems That Learn

Change is hard. It is hard for individuals. It is extra hard for organizations. Change is especially hard for organizations when they have been successful. Organizations often develop strategies, norms, and practices that are tailored to produce success in a particular activity or context. When those strategies are successful, organizations have an especially difficult time to create and manage change that is not simply “more of the same, better.”

This is true even of large, successful, well-managed private sector organizations facing (organizational) life or death consequences.

There’s Less to “More” (Access) Than Meets the Eye

One wonderful thing about technology is that sometimes it connects you with people who have already done most of the work for you.  If one wants to know how children in different countries progress through school, and what that implies about the prospects for reaching targets of universal secondary schooling through a “more access” strategy, most of the hard work is already done.  Deon Filmer at the World Bank, who headed the recent