World Bank Group Launches World Development Report on Education in Nigeria
The World Bank Group, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Education in synergy have co-launched the World Development Report (WDR) 2018: ‘Learning to Realize Education’s Promise’ at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja Nigeria.
The report calls for greater measurement, action on evidence, and coordination of all education actors.
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, the 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. 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.
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 could not provide the name of the dog. Other evidence shows that in Nigeria, when fourth grade students were asked to complete a simple two-digit subtraction problem, more than three-quarters could not solve it. 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 over 260 years. Among young adults in Nigeria, only about 20 percent of those who complete primary education can read. 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.
“The diagnosis in this World Development Report may make for disheartening reading, but it should not be interpreted as saying that all is lost—only that too many young people are not getting the education they need,” said Deon Filmer and Halsey Rogers, World Bank Lead Economists, who co-directed the report team. “Learning shortfalls eventually show up as weak skills in the workforce, making it less likely that young people will find good-paying, satisfying jobs. But change is possible, if systems commit to learning, drawing on examples of families, educators, communities, and systems that have made real progress.”
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.’
The report notes that when countries and their leaders make “learning for all” a national priority, education standards can improve dramatically. For example, between 2009 and 2015, Peru achieved some of the fastest growth in overall learning outcomes—due to concerted policy action. In several countries such as Liberia and Kenya, early grade reading improved substantially within a very short time, due to focused efforts based on evidence.
“Education remains critical to global development and human welfare in every society, and especially for Africa and indeed for Nigeria, given the state of our development. Several strategies targeted at the education sector are currently being undertaken by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. This includes the N-Power programme, the home-grown School Feeding Programme, aimed at reducing the number of out of school children and also the World Bank sponsored Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) Programme designed to bring out-of-school-children into the classroom,” said Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Honorable Minister of Finance, Nigeria.
“We must stop just spending on education; we must begin to start looking at our spending as an investment in education.” said Mallam Adamu Adamu, Honorable Minister of Education, Nigeria. “The Federal Ministry of Education after several consultations with stakeholders in the education sector including the World Bank, developed a road map for the education sector captioned ‘Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan.’ The plan is built on ten pillars which address the well-known areas of education”
Relying on evidence gathered around the world, the report offers three policy recommendations:
Only half of all developing countries have metrics to measure learning at the end of primary and lower secondary school. Well-designed student assessments can help teachers guide students, improve system management, and focus society’s attention on learning. These measures can inform national policy choices, track progress, and shine a spotlight on children who are being left behind.
Level the playing field by reducing stunting and promoting brain development through early nutrition and stimulation so children start school ready to learn. Attract highly capable people into teaching and keep them motivated by tailoring teacher training that is reinforced by mentors. Deploy technologies that help teachers teach to the level of the student, and strengthen school management, including principals.
Use information and metrics to mobilize citizens, increase accountability, and create political will for education reform. Involve stakeholders, including the business community, in all stages of education reform, from design to implementation.
“The World Bank Group continues its support to the Nigerian Government in its education sector reforms to increase access and improve quality and learning outcomes. The Government of Nigeria has identified a crisis in education. We hope the evidence presented in the WDR report will contribute positively to the Government’s response in transforming its education system. Every Nigerian child deserves to achieve her/his full potential and quality education is key to unlocking this,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director, Nigeria.