FCDO and World Bank report: Cost-effective ways to improve global learning

FCDO and World Bank report: Cost-effective ways to improve global learning

28th October 2020

New research reveals best investments to tackle learning crisis in vulnerable countries

  • The UK, the World Bank and partners launch a report authored by leading global education experts that identifies cost-effective ways to improve global learning
  • Nine out of ten children in low income countries cannot read a story by age 10 and the coronavirus pandemic has compounded this global learning crisis as schools have been forced to close.
  • The report follows the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings that warned of the huge setbacks that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on education progress without concerted, sustained action, and ahead of a major global education summit – co-hosted by the UK next year – that will raise funds to get children into school.
Cost Effective Approaches to Improve Global Learning What Does Recent Evidence Tell Us Are Smart Buys for Improving Learning in Low and Middle Income Countries sets out the best investments to improve the quality and take-up of education in developing countries, and those which do not necessarily represent good value for money. It comes as the world faces a learning crisis, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing more than 1.6 billion children out of their classrooms at the peak of school closures.

The report follows a Ministerial meeting at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, where experts warned of the huge setback that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on education progress without concerted, sustained action.


  • Launched in July 2020, the Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel is an independent, cross-disciplinary body composed of leading education experts, including:
    • Professor Abhijit Banerjee – Co-Chair of the Evidence Panel, Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics, MIT
    • Sylvia Schmelkes – Co-Chair of the Evidence Panel, Provost of Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City
    • Professor Kwame Akyeampong – Professor of International Education and Development, The Open University
    • Professor Tahir Andrabi – Dean, LUMS School of Education, and Professor of Economics, Pomona College
    • Dr Rukmini Banerji – CEO, Pratham Education Foundation
    • Professor Susan Dynarski – Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics, University of Michigan (Joining Harvard in 2021)
    • Rachel Glennerster – Chief Economist, Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO)
    • Emeritus Professor Sally Grantham-McGregor OBE – Emeritus Professor of Child Health and Nutrition, UCL GOS Institute of Global Health
    • Professor Karthik Muralidharan – Professor of Economics, University of California San Diego
    • Dr. Ben Piper – Senior Director, Africa Education, RTI International
    • Jaime Saavedra – Global Director, Education, The World Bank
    • Professor Hirokazu Yoshikawa – Professor of Globalization and Education, NYU Steinhardt
  • The Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel has a mandate to provide succinct, useable and policy-focused recommendations to support policymakers’ decision-making on education investments. It is convened jointly by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the World Bank and is hosted by Building Evidence in Education Global Group (BE2).
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