Local April 3, 2018 | 6:11 pm

World Bank: Dominican Republic well positioned to face challenge of global learning crisis

Photo World Bank

Santo Domingo.- The World Bank’s Senior Director for Education, Jaime Saavedra, considered today that the Dominican Republic is facing a great opportunity to improve the education system and tackle the challenge of the global learning crisis. Saavedra referred to the 4% of GDP that the country has allocated since 2013 to education and mentioned how in the Dominican Republic the entire society has been committed to an Education Pact and the execution of a profound plan of reforms, including modernization of the Ministry of Education and the Extended Day program, as well as efforts to improve teacher training.

Saavedra, who visited the Caribbean country this week, spoke while heading together with the Dominican Minister of Education, Andrés Navarro, the presentation ceremony in Santo Domingo of the World Development Report 2018 “Learning to Realize Education’s Promise.”

The report warns that there is a “learning crisis” in education worldwide. Specifically, it indicates that millions of young students from low and middle-income countries could lose opportunities and receive lower salaries in the future because primary and secondary schools do not provide them with the necessary tools to thrive, also limiting the prospects for economic growth long term. According to the report, even after attending school for several years, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math.

“Schooling without learning will impact the long-term growth possibilities of the economy, but the Dominican Republic has the opportunity to make learning the central objective of reforms in the education system,” said Saavedra.

“Improving the quality of education is a fundamental condition for expanding opportunities for all and requires the perseverance and political alignment of the Government, the media, employers, teachers, parents and students. All of them must be aware that investment in people, and particularly improvements in learning are vital for growth, competitiveness, and improvement of well-being.

The societies that internalize it and take it seriously are the winning societies.”

Improving the quality of instruction in the classroom is still pending in this and other countries in the region. In the Dominican Republic, the “learning crisis” is reflected in the low results obtained in national and international diagnostic tests.

Although it obtained the last place, the country made the decision to compare itself with more developed countries by participating in the 2015 PISA Test, making these results its baseline for the great transformations that are already underway.

The management capacity for learning and support for teaching remain the challenges in the region. Systems that do not improve their management, do not focus on the learning of children, and those where the teacher is not seen as the great catalyst for student learning, will be difficult to accompany children in the development of cognitive and non-cognitive skills.

To help developing countries solve the serious learning crisis, the report includes concrete policy measures such as: conducting more effective assessments of the situation, including diagnostic appraisals of learning; use evidence about what works and what does not work to guide decision-making regarding education; and mobilize the different sectors of society to promote educational changes that promote learning for all.

An inclusive education system fosters employment, increases income, improves health and reduces poverty.

The presentation of the report in the Dominican capital was given by Dr. Alexandria Valerio, leading specialist of Education of the World Bank and was attended by Alessandro Legrottaglie, Representative of the World Bank in the country, Mery Kasse, Director of the International Cooperation Office and Julio Sánchez, Rector of the Higher Institute of Teacher Training Salomé Ureña. Also present were deputy ministers, officials of the Dominican Ministry of education, academics, donors and representatives of the private sector.

The World Bank currently supports the education sector in the Dominican Republic with a total investment of US$53 million in support of improvement in teacher training, student assessment, implementation of the new curriculum, use of time in the extended day and monitoring systems of quality of early childhood programs, statistical systems, the use of information for decision making and educational management at various levels.

In addition, the World Bank is providing technical assistance and advice on how to make technology impact learning, as well as on strengthening risk management processes in schools through the Safe Schools program of the World Bank.

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