THE PUGGLE
SHARING WITH OTHERS TO MAKE
FASTER PROGRESS FOR ALL
Out in the bush, you’ll have to go into the pouch of a mama echidna to pet her baby puggle. Our Puggle is easier to find, showing up every month to share what we’re learning about emerging issues in girls’ education. Other posts provide our analysis of recent research and events and feature stories from our grantees. Explore more below, including a link to our resource library.

The Puggle: January 2019 edition

Dana Schmidt | February 11, 2019

A recent article in the Economist argues that Thanks to education, global fertility could fall faster than expected. The authors of this paper find that fertility rates in Africa stalled in their decline because of disruptions in education for girls. Now that education for girls has picked up, we should expect to see fertility rates decline. But will this hold true even with the current poor quality of education? In a previous Puggle we shared three studies from Malawi which suggest the answer might be “no.” The Population Council has a systematic review coming soon that will shed more light on this question.

Here, in three recent charts, are reasons to be cautious about current levels of education quality:

The first chart comes from the 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Declines in the Index’s average education score indicate that education outcomes are worsening for over half of Africa’s youth, even as the youth population grows (perhaps because of it).

The second chart comes from the Cambridge REAL Center’s recent report on 12 Years of Quality Education for All Girls. In most Commonwealth countries the number of years of learning girls acquire is but a fraction of the number of years they spend in school.

The third chart comes from Young Lives’ summative report on Delivering on every child’s right to basic skills. It shows that especially in Ethiopia and India a worrying number of children have not learned much by age 8 and the story doesn’t change by age 12.

Is there any reason to hope these charts might look different in the future? We think so.

The last chart and accompanying Young Lives research shows that low learning profiles are not inevitable. In the case of Vietnam, very few children start and end with poor learning outcomes. There, the government has set an expectation that every child will acquires basic skills regardless of family circumstances and devised an equitable financing system to ensure this happens.

The World Bank has launched an open source classroom observation tool to make it easier to track one of the most critical elements for improving learning: teaching practices. “Teach” covers many things you would expect, like how much time teachers spend teaching and students spend on task, and some things that are less common but equally important, like the quality of teaching practices that help develop students’ socioemotional and cognitive skills. We were pleased to see that the tool also looks at whether the teacher exhibits gender bias and challenges gender stereotypes in the classroom.

The REAL Center report (featured in chart #2 above) emphasizes prioritizing early education to “influence girls’ retention and learning in the long term.” We think the report is right to point out that there has been limited focus on girls’ early education.

The report could have taken this point even farther in showing how early education can bestow benefits for caretakers which in turn amplify impact for young children. One of the hypotheses for the life-changing positive effects of Head Start in the U.S. is that it increases “household income by alleviating some of the burden of child care.” The other is that it imparts a host of intangible skills like emotional stability and problem-solving that persist across a lifetime. Universal public services designed with gender in mind can chip away at inequality: free public childcare in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil “increased low-income mothers’ employment rates by 27%.”

For other interesting reads from January, don’t miss The Ghost Statistic That Haunts Women’s Empowerment, the impacts of Gendered Language, and, for social and emotional learning enthusiasts, A Nation at Hope.

  • Recent posts

    • JANUARY

      Ed quality in 3 charts, a new teacher observation tool,

    • JANUARY

      In 2019, our team will spend considerable time and effort

    • DECEMBER

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    Load Older Posts

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    • NOVEMBER

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    • OCTOBER

      Obama's Global Girls Alliance, The Human Campital Index, and India's

    • SEPTEMBER

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    • AUGUST

      Before we get to our usual Puggle updates, we have

    • JULY

      We’re at the peak of vacation season in the Northern

    • JUNE

      The G7 summit in Canada in early June catalyzed a $3

    • MAY

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    • APRIL

      April marked the first full month of a new season

    • MARCH

      In this update from March, we celebrate the march of progress

    • FEBRUARY

      This month brought encouraging news on aid to education.

    • JANUARY

      This month, champions spoke up for girls: Oprah made a rousing

    • DECEMBER

      This month we are keeping it short and sweet. In

    • NOVEMBER

      This month we are excited to share a piece we published

    • JANUARY

      The latest World Development Report focuses exclusively on education for the first

    • OCTOBER

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    • SEPTEMBER

      This month the World Bank released the World Development Report (WDR). For

    • AUGUST

      August offered plenty of great material, including a collection of essays from

    • JULY

      There is a notion that things slow down during the

    • JUNE

    • MAY

      In May, the Center For Universal Education (CUE) and the

    • APRIL

      In April, the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings served

    • MARCH

      March 8th marked International Women’s Day. This month we were

    • FEBRUARY

      Even if every single girl completed at least 6 grades

    • JANUARY

      News in January seemed to be dominated by the new

    • JANUARY

      In 2016, the Echidna Giving team reviewed literature related to

    • DECEMBER

      Welcome to the end-of-year installment of The Puggle. In this

    • NOVEMBER

      In September, the Echidna Giving team joined the masses of

    • OCTOBER

      In case you missed it, on October 11 the world celebrated

    • SEPTEMBER

      It turns out September was a busy month for

    • AUGUST

      This August we couldn’t help but be inspired by the Olympics!

    • JULY

      Echidna Giving is delighted to launch our blog, a space

  • The Puggle: January 2019 edition

    Dana Schmidt | February 11, 2019

    A recent article in the Economist argues that Thanks to education, global fertility could fall faster than expected. The authors of this paper find that fertility rates in Africa stalled in their decline because of disruptions in education for girls. Now that education for girls has picked up, we should expect to see fertility rates decline. But will this hold true even with the current poor quality of education? In a previous Puggle we shared three studies from Malawi which suggest the answer might be “no.” The Population Council has a systematic review coming soon that will shed more light on this question.

    Here, in three recent charts, are reasons to be cautious about current levels of education quality:

    The first chart comes from the 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Declines in the Index’s average education score indicate that education outcomes are worsening for over half of Africa’s youth, even as the youth population grows (perhaps because of it).

    The second chart comes from the Cambridge REAL Center’s recent report on 12 Years of Quality Education for All Girls. In most Commonwealth countries the number of years of learning girls acquire is but a fraction of the number of years they spend in school.

    The third chart comes from Young Lives’ summative report on Delivering on every child’s right to basic skills. It shows that especially in Ethiopia and India a worrying number of children have not learned much by age 8 and the story doesn’t change by age 12.

    Is there any reason to hope these charts might look different in the future? We think so.

    The last chart and accompanying Young Lives research shows that low learning profiles are not inevitable. In the case of Vietnam, very few children start and end with poor learning outcomes. There, the government has set an expectation that every child will acquires basic skills regardless of family circumstances and devised an equitable financing system to ensure this happens.

    The World Bank has launched an open source classroom observation tool to make it easier to track one of the most critical elements for improving learning: teaching practices. “Teach” covers many things you would expect, like how much time teachers spend teaching and students spend on task, and some things that are less common but equally important, like the quality of teaching practices that help develop students’ socioemotional and cognitive skills. We were pleased to see that the tool also looks at whether the teacher exhibits gender bias and challenges gender stereotypes in the classroom.

    The REAL Center report (featured in chart #2 above) emphasizes prioritizing early education to “influence girls’ retention and learning in the long term.” We think the report is right to point out that there has been limited focus on girls’ early education.

    The report could have taken this point even farther in showing how early education can bestow benefits for caretakers which in turn amplify impact for young children. One of the hypotheses for the life-changing positive effects of Head Start in the U.S. is that it increases “household income by alleviating some of the burden of child care.” The other is that it imparts a host of intangible skills like emotional stability and problem-solving that persist across a lifetime. Universal public services designed with gender in mind can chip away at inequality: free public childcare in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil “increased low-income mothers’ employment rates by 27%.”

    For other interesting reads from January, don’t miss The Ghost Statistic That Haunts Women’s Empowerment, the impacts of Gendered Language, and, for social and emotional learning enthusiasts, A Nation at Hope.

  • Recent posts

    • JANUARY

      Ed quality in 3 charts, a new teacher observation tool,

    • JANUARY

      In 2019, our team will spend considerable time and effort

    • DECEMBER

      2018 Is A (W)rap

    Load Older Posts

    Older posts

    • NOVEMBER

      What's social and emotional learning got to do with it?

    • OCTOBER

      Obama's Global Girls Alliance, The Human Campital Index, and India's

    • SEPTEMBER

      Three themes on girls' education from UNGA

    • AUGUST

      Before we get to our usual Puggle updates, we have

    • JULY

      We’re at the peak of vacation season in the Northern

    • JUNE

      The G7 summit in Canada in early June catalyzed a $3

    • MAY

      This month we’re diving deep on a topic related to

    • APRIL

      April marked the first full month of a new season

    • MARCH

      In this update from March, we celebrate the march of progress

    • FEBRUARY

      This month brought encouraging news on aid to education.

    • JANUARY

      This month, champions spoke up for girls: Oprah made a rousing

    • DECEMBER

      This month we are keeping it short and sweet. In

    • NOVEMBER

      This month we are excited to share a piece we published

    • JANUARY

      The latest World Development Report focuses exclusively on education for the first

    • OCTOBER

      Echidna Giving team highlights emerging issues and findings related to

    • SEPTEMBER

      This month the World Bank released the World Development Report (WDR). For

    • AUGUST

      August offered plenty of great material, including a collection of essays from

    • JULY

      There is a notion that things slow down during the

    • JUNE

    • MAY

      In May, the Center For Universal Education (CUE) and the

    • APRIL

      In April, the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings served

    • MARCH

      March 8th marked International Women’s Day. This month we were

    • FEBRUARY

      Even if every single girl completed at least 6 grades

    • JANUARY

      News in January seemed to be dominated by the new

    • JANUARY

      In 2016, the Echidna Giving team reviewed literature related to

    • DECEMBER

      Welcome to the end-of-year installment of The Puggle. In this

    • NOVEMBER

      In September, the Echidna Giving team joined the masses of

    • OCTOBER

      In case you missed it, on October 11 the world celebrated

    • SEPTEMBER

      It turns out September was a busy month for

    • AUGUST

      This August we couldn’t help but be inspired by the Olympics!

    • JULY

      Echidna Giving is delighted to launch our blog, a space

  • We believe in exchanging ideas and sharing knowledge. Here’s some of what we’ve been reading to inform our thinking on girls’ education. Feel free to suggest additional resources for us to read and feature!