People’s Action for Learning Network (PAL Network): from assessment to action

The People’s Action for Learning Network (PAL Network) upends the usual mechanisms for learning assessments: bringing together nine countries[1], it assesses basic reading and numeracy competencies of all children, in their homes, through annual citizen-led assessments.

The Case for Global Standardized Testing

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.

Confessions of a program officer

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.

Does #blacklivesmatter matter? Does citizen monitoring make change?

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.

The Gifts We Received in 2015

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.

Early Assessment of Learning is Critical to Achieving Quality Education Goal

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.

Continuing the Conversation about ‘The Role of Citizen-led Assessments in Shifting the Education Agenda’

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

A People’s Global Network on Learning is Born

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.

Involving Citizens in the Provision of Good Quality 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.

Photo Essay: Eight Years of Quality Education in Developing Countries