The People’s Action for Learning Network (PAL Network) upends the usual mechanisms for learning assessments: bringing together nine countries, it assesses basic reading and numeracy competencies of all children, in their homes, through annual citizen-led assessments.
Somewhere in a village in Nigeria, a young girl is sitting in school today, just like she does every day, packed onto a crowded wooden bench in a faded school uniform.
At the Hewlett Foundation, every program officer is limited to one eight-year term. Mine ends this week. As I reflect on my time here, I think about those moments of doubt when I wondered if I was doing meaningful work.
I used to debate with my former Gates Foundation colleague Manami about the importance of #blacklivesmatter. Essentially, I took the Hilary Clinton stance: without specific policy proposals, it wouldn’t lead to real change.
As people around here headed out the door for a week of vacation filled with family, friends, and yes, Christmas presents, I asked a few of my colleagues in the Global Development and Population Program what gifts they’d already gotten this year from our grantees.
I was born January 1, 1961 to a working class family in a small town in the U.S. Midwest—a New Year’s baby. My parents weren’t concerned about whether I would finish high school, let alone the risk that I would graduate unable to read or do math well enough to participate fully in society. But UNESCO’s 2015 EFA Global Monitoring Report tells a different story for many children and their parents, even today.
In June, we shared findings from an evaluation of citizen-led assessments we commissioned from Results for Development. Since the report’s publication, which showed how engaging citizens in large scale, household-based assessments of children’s learning can help focus education debates on learning, a number of colleagues have shared their own perspectives on the evaluation
While Kenya and Nairobi were at a standstill preparing for the US President Barack Obama’s Airforce I to land on July 24 for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, in another beautiful scenic setting, a global network on learning was born! The network will help hold countries accountable for ensuring their children are not just in school, but also learning. Committed to transparently conducting citizen-led household based assessments on learning, the network will increasingly enable communities to hold their leaders to account; it will support the call for lifelong learning for all – central to the new SDG on education.
In January, I was honored to be present as the Pratham family celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). I learned that ASER means impact in Hindi. Having followed its progress closely over the years, I can only confirm that ASER is fulfilling the vision and promise of its name.