Enrollment rates in many countries are now close to 100%, but learning levels are still very low. A solution that has been proven to work involves identifying and focusing instruction on actual learning levels.
Source: Innovations for Poverty Action
Charities run a large variety of education programs in the developing world.
Many programs in this area focus on raising school attendance, through scholarships, school building, etc. However, there are major concerns about school quality in the developing world. Teachers may be overworked, frequently absent, or abusive, and schools may be geared towards elite students.
Relatively little is known about how to improve school quality. Donors should ask organizations how they are measuring their progress and learning about what does and doesn't work.
Donors should also ask for context on the lives and opportunities of students—i.e., what they can do with the skills they learn in school. Some people may be much better than others to benefit from an education.
It is essential to focus instruction at the level of the child. This can be done by splitting the class by achievement levels, for some of the class time or the entire class duration. It is possible to teach students the basic skills in a relatively short time, using a simple methodology and low-cost materials. In fact, low qualified individuals (such as secondary school graduates or less) can be trained to do so. Empowering local school committees to hire community teachers and monitor their performance can maximize the benefits for children.
*GiveWell has not yet identified a developing-world education charity that it can confidently recommend. The strongest candidate GiveWell has seen is Pratham, a large, India-based organization that runs a wide variety of programs aiming to improve education for children in India.
Find out how you can suggest a nonprofit to the expertsSee nonprofits in the GuideStar database working on this cause
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