Millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face lost opportunities because their schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life, according to a new report from the World Bank. The report warns of a “learning crisis” in global education, saying that “schooling without learning” is a wasted development opportunity and a great injustice to the young people affected.
The World Development Report 2018: LEARNING to Realize Education’s Promise notes that, even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read or write simple sentences or do basic math. This learning crisis widens social gaps for children who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability.
“This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim in a press release about the report. “When delivered well, education promises young people employment, better earnings, good health and a life without poverty.” Schooling without learning wastes that opportunity.
The report cites examples from countries where students cannot read simple sentences or do simple subtraction even after several years of study. It also cites success stories, such as South Korea and Vietnam. These countries have dramatically lifted student performance over time, with Vietnam’s progress coming despite limited resources.
The report offers three policy recommendations:
1. Assess learning, so it can become a measurable goal.
2. Make school work for all children.
3. Mobilize everyone who has a stake in learning.
To learn more, read this news release from the World Bank, which also includes a link to download a full copy of the World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education’s Promise.