Katharina Cavano l Palladium - Aug 31 2023
Palladium Partners with the University of Oxford on What Works Hub for Global Education

“There is a global learning crisis right now and there are millions of children out of school,” says Priyanka Devani, Palladium Education Portfolio Lead. “There’s a lot of evidence being generated around what helps children learn, but more needs to be done to support policy makers to implement this evidence – sustainably, and at scale.”

The What Works Hub for Global Education (WWHGE) will play a major role in building understanding of how to scale effective practices and translating that evidence into practice across low and middle income countries by working directly with ministries of education and local governments. Announced in July, the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government will be leading the £30m hub, an initiative supported by the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), World Bank, UNICEF, USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the British Council.

To deliver on the program’s ambitious goals, the WWHGE team has formed a unique consortium of governments and partners, including Palladium, to work across 12 countries. The most intensive efforts will be focused in India, Pakistan, Rwanda and Tanzania, with additional projects in Bangladesh, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and South Africa.

“Palladium has been working for more than 50 years transforming education systems in a variety of challenging contexts and we’re committed to partnering with the University of Oxford to tackle the global learning crisis for the most marginalised children,” explains Palladium’s Luca Marchina, Operations Director for the program. “We will be supporting the quick and effective setup of this complex, multi-country, and multi-partner program so that the team can start delivering results as soon as possible.”

He adds that the team will establish the operational infrastructure and monitoring and evaluation framework for the WWHGE. This includes establishing systems for financial forecasting, procurement, and resourcing; assessing delivery against milestones; managing risk, and compliance; and setting up measuring and evaluation strategies, tools, and deliverables such as the theory of change and the log frame.

The hub will bring together academics, NGOs, and government partners to directly enable learning for three million children in low- and middle-income countries, and influence outcomes for up to 17 million more, with a particular focus on helping girls.

“We’ll be creating new evidence and bringing it directly to decision-makers in clear, usable formats, and providing technical assistance in the use of evidence to the government teams that design education policies, strategies, and intervention programs,” Devani explains. “There is now world-class evidence on what works to improve learning outcomes, like the quality of education or targeting teaching instruction by learning level rather than grade, but too little evidence on how to implement what works with governments sustainably and at scale.”

While there has been enormous progress in getting more children into school around the world, the learning crisis persists, exacerbated by COVID-19 and worse for the most marginalised students. “Across 51 low and middle-income countries, only half of young women who have completed six years of school can read a simple sentence,” says Alicia Herbert, FCDO’s Gender Envoy and Director, Education, Gender and Equality. “There is now world-class evidence on how to change this and move from being in school to learning in school. But to change children’s lives, this evidence must be implemented.”

The program is the next phase of the wider FCDO £55m WWHGE business case and builds on the pilot phase, which was managed by the Education Development Trust. “Getting all children and youth in education and learning requires co-ordination at all levels – across families, communities, educators, and policy makers,” adds Devani.

“It requires shared goals, and national policies that put learning for the most marginalised at the centre. It also requires data collection and regular monitoring to help policymakers identify what’s working, who’s benefiting, and who’s being left behind, all of which is core to the WWHGE program.”

Learn about the What Works Hub for Global Education or contact info@thepalladiumgroup.com for more.