Pearson welcomes World Bank’s $5 billion education pledge

Pearson welcomes World Bank’s $5 billion education pledge

Separate commitments from Pearson and World Bank focus on promoting evidenced-based learning and the uptake of basic skills.

Pearson, the world’s largest learning company, has welcomed the World Bank’s renewed commitment to improving basic education in some of the world’s poorest countries.

On the eve of the World Education Forum in South Korea, the President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim announced the Bank would be doubling its funding for results-based education to US$5 billion over the next five years.

The additional funds will be allocated towards evidence-based solutions that improve both the quality and equity of education, ensuring young people have access to education that will provide them with the basic skills needed to break the poverty cycle.

Pearson has also recently announced plans to invest in ventures that provide education to low income learners in emerging markets through the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund. The Fund, launched in 2012, has just pledged an additional $50 million towards new projects, using market-based returns as a condition of continued investment. The Fund also provides good governance and operational support to education entrepreneurs in developing economies.

Karim Daoud, Managing Director of Pearson in the Middle East, has pointed to the importance of investing in education as a means of breaking the poverty cycle and raising national standards of living.

“A quality education has a powerful impact on individuals and the communities in which they live, and the ripples of this impact drive real change at a national level. For all educated children, employment rates and living standards are higher; for educated girls, motherhood occurs later, the birth rate is lower and the survival rate for mother and child is higher. As a result, the better a country’s level of education, the lower its rates of poverty, maternal and infant mortality and the higher its rates of workforce productivity and economic growth.”

Mr Daoud also stressed the need to ensure investments in education are measurably improving educational outcomes, a goal of particular pertinence here in the Middle East.

“There is no doubt that getting children throughout the region into school is an important step. Too many children around the world do not even have the chance to enter a classroom. However, it also essential that we ensure that children are actually learning once in school”.

A 2014 report from the Brookings Institution showed that of those children enrolled in school in the Middle East, half are not receiving a good-quality education. The report, based on 13 Arab countries with available data, stated that 56 percent of primary students and 48 percent of secondary students are not meeting basic learning levels, with this crisis affecting boys more than girls.

Mr Daoud says:

“We have the opportunity to redress these issues – to ensure that all children not only attend school, but that they stay in school and complete a quality formal education. Initiatives like that of Pearson and the World Bank will make a tangible improvement to this situation across the globe, with greater access to and quality of education raising living standards for individuals and driving developing economies forward”.

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