The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a four-year, $68 million initiative aimed at providing education systems with better information, evidence, tools, and approaches to improve teaching and learning.
Through its Global Education Learning Strategy, the foundation will work with partners at the global and country levels in India and sub-Saharan Africa to develop new education tools and approaches, with an emphasis on foundational learning such as reading and mathematics in primary grades. At the global level, the foundation will support efforts to make data about learning outcomes comparable so that progress can be tracked over time. And at the country level it will work with partners to better diagnose the root causes of poor performance and help develop approaches that are best suited to address their specific circumstances. The foundation also will work with partners to identify and apply evidence-based strategies and tools that support quality teaching and student learning.
Over the past fifteen years, the number of children and adolescents out of school has been cut almost in half; today 90 percent of primary-age students are in school, girls are attending school in growing numbers, and the gender parity index has improved. In low- and lower-middle-income countries, however, fewer than one in three pupils in late primary school achieves minimum proficiency in reading, and fewer than two in five achieve it in mathematics. Studies demonstrate that students who cannot read by the time they enter third grade often have little or no opportunity to catch up.
"The global movement to ensure more children are in school has been remarkable and unprecedented," Gates director of global education learning strategy Girindre Beeharry wrote in a post on Medium. "The new challenge is to make sure all children — no matter where they live — have access to a quality education. We are grateful for the guidance and commitment of those who have been working on these challenges for decades, and we are eager to be part of that community working to find solutions so that all children can succeed."