Children and Youth Education
Of the world’s 650 million school-aged children, 120 million will not reach fourth grade, and an additional 130 million will fail to learn basic skills like literacy and numeracy. High dropout and repetition rates, in combination with others obstacles—such as poverty, conflict, gender inequality, language, and disability—compound this problem. Improving educational opportunities for all children and youth, particularly the most vulnerable and excluded, is essential to the growth of human potential worldwide. World Learning works across a range of countries and contexts. Our success in basic education stems from three main approaches: first, a focus on experiential learning that results in long-lasting change; second, an emphasis on locally identified activities that make education more accessible and relevant; and third, a sensitivity to the particular educational needs of vulnerable children and youth, including refugees, child laborers, those with HIV/AIDS, orphans, and those excluded by gender, disability, or ethnicity.
Education System Strengthening
From helping government ministries improve management practices, to assisting NGOs to more effectively advocate for policy change, to working with communities and families to support vulnerable children, to training teachers to apply innovative techniques in their classrooms, the World Learning approach to capacity building is comprehensive, systemic, and highly adaptive. We use an innovative approach to improve performance management that includes: systematically researching current capacity, collaboratively setting performance goals and objectives with key stakeholders, identifying organizational shortcomings at the three levels of performance (institutional, systems, and individual), identifying environmental, cultural, and other challenges, implementing systemic, strategic, and measurable capacity strengthening solutions including technical assistance, training, resource enrichment, and more.
Teacher Professional Development
Our customized teacher education programs are designed to provide teachers with valuable resources to advance their careers and improve students’ performance. Our approach places a premium on experiential learning and hands-on teaching. Low participant-to-trainer ratios in our courses ensure a supportive learning environment and individualized attention from licensed trainers. Through experiential learning, teachers develop the attitude, knowledge, and skills to make meaningful, effective changes to their work. In Burundi, World Learning worked with Burundian English language teachers and administrators, along with public service organizations, NGOs, CSOs, and government ministries to strengthen English Language Learning and Teaching capacity by assessing the English language needs of government employees and training teacher participants on topic areas, such as lesson planning, teaching interactive lessons, and developing ideas for how to help support other teachers in order to meet the government’s needs. In Lebanon, we also working closely with education leaders and teachers to integrate Psycho-social Care and Support techniques into daily teaching practice to improve student learning but also to ensure that teachers, schools, and host communities are able to proactively care for children impacted by war, displacement, and the continued stress of living as a refugee or displaced person. Early findings reveal that teachers report a decrease in disruptive classroom behavior and an increase in social cohesion and trust. Students report feeling safer in school with greater feelings of trust.
School Community Partnerships
World Learning believes in the power of authentic and mutually supportive school-community partnerships to foster quality learning for all students – including students that are traditionally excluded from schools such as girls, children with disabilities, orphaned or vulnerable children due to HIV/AIDS, ethnic and religious minorities, or child laborers. Most importantly, World Learning has a proven track record of fostering the sustainability of programs by ensuring government commitment and endorsement of community engagement approaches and by mobilizing implementing resource generating activities with school-community groups. In Ethiopia, World Learning pioneered the formation of Girls Education Advisory Committees at schools as a strategy for improving girls’ enrollment and academic achievement and today GEACs have been formally instated by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education and can be found in schools across the country. In addition, through the SCOPSO program, 400 schools raised approximately $500,000 over a four year period through revenue generated by school-managed microenterprises, community fundraising campaigns, and by engaging local governments to donate land or building space for initiatives that benefitted students. World Learning’s community cost share model incorporates a skills development process which ensures that school-community groups have the expertise to establish school bank accounts; manage funds responsibly and transparently; identify market-driven, feasible business opportunities; and advocate for municipal governments to contribute land or materials to be used for school initiatives.
Early Grade Reading
World Learning’s capacity in reading is showcased by contributions that significantly improved reading outcomes in countries. Through the use of the various approaches - including Balanced Literacy Approach - World Learning has successfully demonstrated its strength in developing a dynamic response to children’s literacy challenges. Balanced literacy is a framework for reading instruction. It involves teaching by reading to students, having students read independently, and reading with students. In Lebanon, World Learning implements the USAID-funded Quality Instruction towards Access and Basic Education Improvement (QITABI) project. This national project aims to improve reading outcomes for 19,200 public primary school students from grades 1-4 and expand equitable access for 15,000 vulnerable out of school children and youth in Lebanon. World Learning works closely with Arabic language experts, curriculum developers and relevant government counterparts to develop assessment instruments—student questionnaire, teacher survey, and classroom observation and ensures 9,600 parents and guardians receive coaching in the implementation of structured activities to support children’s mastery of early grade reading. In Pakistan, World Learning is a consortium member of the Pakistan Reading Project implemented in partnership with a consortium of international and local partners led by the International Rescue Committee aims to improve the reading skills of 1.3 million children in grades 1 and 2 across Pakistan. This overall goal is supported by the mutually-reinforcing components of teacher continuous professional development, systems and policy reform, and the engagement of communities to re-establish a culture of reading in the country. World Learning leads the implementation in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK), where we have already made significant strides toward achieving the program’s ambitious targets.
World Learning believes in the power of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics education to transform student learning and the way education systems are imagined. World Learning works with teachers, education officials, and partner organizations to design innovative and integrated STE(AM) education programs that enhance student learning outcomes while also paving the way for youth, teachers, and private sector leaders to envision new ways of thinking, new ways of doing, and new ways of collaborating. In Egypt, World Learning leads the Egypt STEM Schools Project in collaboration with USAID and partner organizations. The project works in cooperation with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to strengthen its capacity at the systems and policy levels to sustain and replicate STEM model schools throughout Egypt and upgrade science and mathematics curriculum standards, student assessments, and teacher preparation for mainstream schools. Through the co-creation process students, teachers, and education managers have been instrumental in creating a truly Egyptian model of STEM public education. In Algiera, World Learning works in partnership with the US Embassy in Algiers, The Boeing Company, DOW Chemical, and Anadarko Petroleum to support the Algiers STE(A)M Resource and Training Center. The Algiers STEAM Center is an industry-led initiative to strengthen the innovation, critical thinking and communication skills of the Algerian workforce via direct training of youth, targeted training of teachers, and community education forums and events. Through the Center, students work on real-world problems in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community and the global world of work. World Learning also leads innovative People-to-People Exchange programs to support leaders from around the world to learn about the potential of STE(A) Education and how to apply principles in their own communities and schools.