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Facing Forward: Schooling for Learning in Africa

Friday, April 19, 2019 - 11:30am to 1:20pm
Spring 2019
LC Conference Room

Findings and insights from “Facing Forward: Schooling for Learning in Africa” by Sajitha Bashir, Marlaine Lockheed, Elizabeth Ninan and Jee-Peng Tan (World Bank 2018)

SPEAKERS Sajitha Bashir, Manager for the East Africa region in the World Bank’s Education Global Practice

Marlaine Lockheed, Visiting Lecturer at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and former Manager for the Middle East region in the World Bank’s Education Sector (SIDEC ’72)


Across Africa, some 50 million children are out of school. For those in school, most are not learning the basic skills needed to thrive in the future. The new World Bank book, 'Facing Forward, Schooling for Learning in Africa', shows that the continent faces a "severe learning crisis" that jeopardizes economic growth and the well-being of its citizens. This book lays out a range of policy and implementation actions that are needed for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to improve learning while expanding access and completion of basic education for all.

The authors conduct extensive new analyses of multiple datasets from the region, integrating findings about children's learning, access to school and progress through basic education. Separate chapters review the learning crisis, teacher policies, budgeting and institutional capacity. Join our ICE/IEPA Brown Bag Lunch Series and meet the authors to discuss policy recommendations included in this publication.


Sajitha Bashir is manager for the East Africa region in the World Bank’s Education Global Practice, where she oversees a large portfolio of education projects and analytical work in 20 countries. She has more than 25 years of experience leading policy dialogue, projects, and research in education and other social sectors from her work for the Bank in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America; in India’s national and state governments; and in various donor agencies. She catalyzed the creation in 2013 of the Partnership for Skills in Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (PASET), which is mobilizing African governments, new development partners, and the private sector to strengthen skills development, higher education, and research. She has published widely in education and related fields. Before joining the World Bank, she was chief consultant for research and evaluation with the government of India’s national primary education program. She holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Marlaine E. Lockheed is a visiting lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy at Princeton University and has four decades of experience advising governments, donor agencies, and private organizations on reforms for education quality, gender equity, and school effectiveness. At the World Bank for 19 years, she held various research and senior management positions, including responsibilities for education policy and lending for the 14 countries of the Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region. She has also served as vice president of the American Educational Research Association; on the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council’s Board on International and Comparative Studies in Education; as associate editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis; and on the boards of numerous other professional associations and scientific journals. She is author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and of several books, including Improving Primary Education in Developing Countries; Effective Schools in Developing Countries; and Exclusion, Gender and Education: Case Studies from the Developing World. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Reed College and a doctorate from Stanford University.

Elizabeth Ninan (Dulvy) is a senior education specialist in the World Bank’s Education Global Practice and has 20 years of experience working on issues related to human development in several countries, particularly in Africa. She has led World Bank projects, studies, and policy dialogues in basic education, secondary education, and skills development in India, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Uganda. Before joining the World Bank, she was codirector of the Joint Economics AIDS and Poverty Programme in South Africa, which sought to build the capacity of historically disadvantaged individuals and higher education institutions to deliver high-quality research for policy makers in health and social development. She holds a master’s degree in development planning from Wits University in Johannesburg and dual master’s degrees in public policy and quantitative methods from Columbia University.

Jee-Peng Tan is a consultant to the World Bank’s Educational Global Practice, following her retirement from some three decades in senior positions at the Bank, including as education adviser, working with colleagues and counterparts in government and international organizations on human capital challenges in emerging economies. She led the Policy and Sector Analysis Support Team in the Africa Region’s Human Development Department, whose work includes debt relief for education and health under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and implementation of the then-nascent Education for All Fast Track Initiative. She managed the production of analytical products, among them regional flagship reports and education country status reports, to shape policy dialogue and lending operations. She facilitated high-level exchange among African policy makers and their counterparts in China, India, Singapore, and Vietnam. She is an author of some 60 published works, including books, among them Workforce Development in Emerging Economies and Tools for Education Policy Analysis. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a doctorate from Princeton University.