The Puggle: September 2016 Edition

Welcome to the September installment of The Puggle, in which we share updates on emerging issues and new findings related to girls’ education from this month. It turns out September was a busy month for education. Not only did many children head back to school, but education researchers and advocates also launched three seminal reports on the status of their schooling.

The first was the Global Education Monitoring Report, which takes stock of how well countries are doing against the education targets set forth in the Sustainable Development Goals. It makes the case that achieving the education goals will be critical in order to make progress against other goals like lifting people out of poverty, improving health outcomes, engendering greater gender equality, and promoting more sustainable energy use.

Data from the Global Education Monitoring Report by UNESCO. Click on image to see source.

Data from the Global Education Monitoring Report by UNESCO. Click on image to see source.

The Gender Review, a compendium to the report, takes a deeper look at gender parity against the education goals. It “largely focuses on the challenges facing girls and women...But it also understands that gender disadvantage can be experienced by boys and men, and that gender equality involves males, relationships and power.” Girls are more disadvantaged in lower income countries and communities, whereas boys tend to be disadvantaged in countries with high overall enrollments in secondary school.

The second report came from the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, which called on world leaders during the UN General Assembly to harness more resources for education and to use those resources more effectively in order to create The Learning Generation. In essence, the Commission concluded that education is in crisis. More children are in school than ever before, but they are not learning the skills that they need to improve their lives. This, in turn, cripples economic growth, increases the risk of violent conflict, and may erode the faith parents and communities have placed in sending their children to school. The Commissioners are optimistic we can do better...if we choose to do so.

The final report came out of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, which spent over a year scouring nearly 240 studies to compile a systematic review on “The impact of education programmes on learning and school participation in low- and middle-income countries.” Their findings—illustrated in the diagram below—suggest that “programs typically improve learning or participation, but not both.” This helpful map of the evidence enables a deeper dive on evidence related to particular interventions and outcomes and will soon include a gender lens as well.

Overview of results across the 3ie systematic review. Image from 3ie: click to see source.

Overview of results across the 3ie systematic review. Image from 3ie: click to see source.

We'll be back next month with a new edition of the Puggle. In the meantime, the Brookings Institution has opened a call for the Echidna Global Scholars program. Encourage applicants to apply before the end of October!