Scalable approaches to in-service teacher professional development are needed for countries to eliminate learning poverty and achieve inclusive and equitable quality education for all – the World Bank launches a contest to identify tech-based solutions to support teachers.
As of October 2019, 53 percent of children in low- and -middle-income countries were unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10. The COVID-19 pandemic is amplifying the global learning crisis and has disrupted learning for more than a billion students globally. It’s estimated that the extended periods of school closures could increase the learning poverty rate to 63 percent, leading to significant negative effects on learning and human capital development. Governments have tried to ameliorate the effects of the crisis by employing remote learning solutions. However, as governments implement these plans, teachers shoulder the burden of delivering a high-quality education, despite not having the preparation or support to do so effectively.
Teachers are the single most important school-based determinant for student achievement, if they are not able to effectively teach, students will not learn. In the new COVID-19 reality where traditional teacher professional development programs are not available to teachers coupled with the constantly changing classrooms that require teachers to adopt new skills and knowledge, technology can facilitate access to more frequent and at-scale approaches to teacher professional development. This is especially relevant given the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and in contexts where mobility is affected by fragility, conflict, and/or violence (FCV). Many of the new platforms, software, and low-tech resources include the potential of offering solutions “at scale” (e.g. national or regional) with the potential to benefit and engage a large number of teachers, either remotely or face-to-face. In addition to the limited access to infrastructure to facilitate remote instruction, there are shortages of effective training and professional development programs to prepare teachers on how to use technologies, much less on how to effectively instruct with them. Moreover, there is huge variability in the amount of training and support teachers are given, which varies considerably between countries and at a district level. Countries will have to ensure their teachers continuously develop the competencies needed to adapt to changing contexts.
The World Bank is well-positioned to explore the intersection of technology and education for enhanced teacher professional development. The World Bank is uniquely positioned to work closely with governments as they navigate school re-openings and manage continuity of education. This access and trust from governments create an opportunity to explore new pathways for innovating in the field of teacher professional development through technology. The World Bank can leverage its experience of developing and applying Teach and Coach, and its timely research on the effective and appropriate use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education systems -- "EdTech" to explore innovative approaches to enhance access to quality teacher professional development at scale.
The World Bank Group and HundrED are teaming up, with financing from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), to launch the Teachers for a Changing World: Transforming Teacher Professional Development Spotlight which aims to seek scalable and impactful solutions that intersect the use of technology and education for enhanced teacher professional development.
The Spotlight will accept applications for 100 days starting December 10, 2020. Selections will be announced and promoted in August 2021. The selected innovators will have their work and impact featured in videos and a report, distributed globally; be highlighted on the World Bank Education website and shared with their global network; be invited to join the HundrED community including globally recognized innovators in education and get connected with education changemakers in over 100 countries; be promoted directly to education leaders, policymakers, and global multilateral organizations via the Spotlight report and in online events. The project contributes to the World Bank Group’s goal of eliminating Learning Poverty and HundrED’s mission of helping every child to flourish in life.
Learn more about the Spotlight and submit your innovation at: https://hundred.org/en/collections/teachers-for-a-changing-world