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  • This blog is written by specialists from the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank. Its objective is to provide arguments and ideas that will spark debate about how to transform education in Latin America and the Caribbean. This blog is a call to action for the reader. An idea, a project, or a question can make a difference.

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    Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son las del autor y no necesariamente reflejan las opiniones del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, sus directivas, la Asamblea de Gobernadores o sus países miembros.

    The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

    Archive for February, 2014

    The Big Surprise: Vietnam

    By - 26 Feb 2014

    VietnamPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

    Vietnam’s impressive results in the 2012 Program for International Student Assesment (PISA) became a big surprise following their publication last December. Vietnam ranked 17 among the 61 participating countries and its Mathematics score was 511, which is higher than the 494 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries average.

    This is particularly relevant because Vietnam is one of worst-off countries, socioeconomically speaking, not to say the worst of all participants, but in PISA 2012, it achieved fairly good results. What is Vietnam’s secret?

    Read more…

    Saved by the bell

    By - 21 Feb 2014

    Saved by Bell

    When I was in school I could not wait for the 3 pm bell to ring, indicating the day was done.  For me, a 6 hour day was more than enough!  Thus, it does not surprise me that a proposal currently being discussed in England to extend the school day to 9 or 10 hours and reducing vacation time from 13 to 7 weeks is generating lots of controversy.  The potential possible benefits cited are numerous, from improved learning to greater female labor force participation and reduced crime.   Proponents of the measure argue that it will give kids the equivalent of an extra seven years of compulsory education, an impressive figure indeed. Those against the measure emphasize that children need breaks to learn, teachers already work long hours and more hours in the classroom don’t necessary translate into more learning. But has the idea of extended schooling only been revolving around Europe or in the US?

    Read more…

    And you, do you want your children to be teachers?

    By - 14 Feb 2014


    Suppose you have a son (or nephew, godson, or young friend) who is a professional and tomorrow he is offered a job with the promise to “earn between 30% and 70% less than other professionals of the same age and with the same years of education.” He is also told that “three out of six available job positions in this field do not have telephones and, on top of that, two of them have no access to a decent bathroom.” Would you recommend that he takes the job? Well, today more than three million people work under these conditions in Latin America: the elementary and secondary school teachers.

    Read more…

    Let’s score in Brazil and in PISA!

    By - 6 Feb 2014


    On June 15th, 2014, Ecuador will participate in the World Cup for the third time in the country’s history, measuring itself against the best soccer teams on the planet. One year later, Ecuador will measure, for the first time, the knowledge and skills of its 15 year olds in reading, math, and science through the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). How are these two events related?

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    “Radical new teaching method” may not be that new: have we had the answer all along?

    By - 4 Feb 2014

    Abacus Girl

    A prominent American technology magazine recently made a bold declaration splashed across its glossy covers in newsstands nationwide.  They had discovered the “next Steve Jobs,” a prodigy with the potential to revolutionize how we live our lives by thinking creatively, differently about the world.  Where do you think this wunderkind was discovered?  Who do you picture when you read this headline?

    Read more…