Education Sector

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Education Sector

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The World Bank first began lending for education projects in fiscal year 1963. In October of 1963, a memorandum from the President on Proposed Bank/IDA Policies in the Field of Education was issued in which the basic policy on education projects was set forth. Initially, the objectives were to promote educational planning, build infrastructure, and attract additional capital investment from other donor agencies.

Functional responsibility for education-related activities was first articulated in the organizational structure of the World Bank after the January 18, 1965, creation of the Projects Department (PRJ). The Projects Department, which had roots in the Technical Operations Department (September 1952 to 18 January 1965) and in the Economic Department (19 April 1948 to September 1952), was responsible for: the identification, appraisal and supervision of projects; policy formulation and research; and advice in support of the operational activities of the area departments. The Projects Department initially had five subordinate divisions: Agriculture Division (PRJAG); Public Utilities Division (PRJPU); Industry Division (PRJIN); Transportation Division (PRJTP); and Education Division (PRJED).

On November 1, 1968, the Projects Department was terminated and the subordinate divisions were upgraded to the department level. The Education Department (EDP) was one of the newly created departments along with the Departments of Agriculture (AGP), Transportation (TRP), and Public Utilities (PBP). Duncan S. Ballantinewas the Department's first director and served until 1977. Initially, EDP had two divisions: Education Division 1 (EDP1) and Education Division 2 (EDP2). In 1970, Education Division 3 (EDP3) was created.

From 1968 until a Bank-wide reorganization in 1972, the individual Projects Departments reported to the Director of Projects (DRP), and were the primary Bank units responsible for the appraisal, negotiations, and supervision of operational project work in their respective sectors. The Departments were specifically responsible for:

  • providing advice, conducting research, and monitoring developments in sector issues;

  • carrying out sector studies with the objective of identifying projects and determining priorities within sectors;

  • preparing policy papers outlining the basic principles and approaches of the Bank relating to project and sector work;

  • preparing guidelines and standards;

  • appraising proposed projects and supervising projects in execution;

  • assisting in the identification and preparation of projects;

  • providing operational support in the negotiation and administration of loans and credits; and

  • cooperating with other international agencies on programs of common interest.

In 1971, the Bank issued the first formal statement on the priority for education lending in an Education Sector Working Paper. This was updated in 1974 with the 1974 Sector Working Paper. The latter emphasized the urgency of improving access of the rural and urban poor to education, making curricula relevant to rural needs, and promoting functional adult literacy.

The Bank's massive reorganization in October 1972 attempted to more effectively fuse country knowledge with sector skills. Sectors with a sufficient number of experts and an established lending program, such as the Education Department, were largely decentralized. While maintaining a centralized core staff of Department advisors, the majority of Department staff were dispersed to regional project departments in newly established Regional Vice Presidencies.The remaining centralized staff made up the sector operating departments and performed advisory services for the Regions. They were responsible for improving and maintaining the quality of Bank lending and related operations through: formulating policies, methodology and guidelines; providing operational support and advice; and managing related programs of recruitment assistance, staff development and education.

The Education Department, as well as other sector operating departments, reported to the newlycreated Vice President, Central Projects (CPSVP). The Vice President, Central Projects, replaced the previous Director, Projects (DRP), and reported to the Senior Vice President, Operations (SVPOP).

On July 1, 1977, the Department was assigned a new acronym (EDC) and a Training Unit (EDCTR) was established. On July 1, 1983, three other units were created: Education Research Program (EDCRS); Education Operational Policy Program (EDCOP); and Education Project Related Training Program (EDCPT).

In 1980, the 1980 Education Sector Policy Paper was released. It emphasized primary education as the foundation of educational development and called for: improved access of girls and rural children to basic education; a limitation of additional investments in secondary and higher education; enhanced instructional quality by providing cost-effective school inputs and teacher training; improving internal efficiency; mobilizing community resources and the mass media; and building local institutions.

In July 1984, EDC wasrenamed the Education and Training Department (EDT). In February 1985, the subordinate units of EDT were given the status of divisions. This resulted in: Research Division (EDTRS); Education Policy Division (EDTEP); and Project Related Training Division (EDTPT). EDTPT was subsequently terminated on July 1, 1986, and EDTEP received a new acronym (EDTPD) on July 30, 1986.

On July 1, 1987, a Bank-wide reorganization resulted in the termination of almost all organizational units. The Vice Presidency, Sector Policy and Research (PRE), was established in May 1987, and reported to the Senior Vice President, Policy, Planning and Research (PPR). The PRE shed all responsibility for managing operational activities and focused completely on operational support, the formulation of Bank-wide sector policies, and overseeing the ex-post evaluation of Bank-wide sector work and lending. The PRE changed its acronym to PRS on January 1, 1990.

At the time of its creation, the PRE had five departments reporting to it including the new Population and Human Resources Department (PHR). This Department integrated the functions of EDT and the Population, Health and Nutrition Department (PHN); it also assumed responsibility for activities related to 'strengthening the role of women in development.' The Department had four divisions: Education and Employment Division (PHREE); Population, Health and Nutrition Division (PHRHN); Women in Development (PHRWD); and Welfare and Human Resources Division (PHRWH). On July 1, 1992, a Population Policy and Advisory Service Group (PPAS) was established in the Front Office of the Department to increase attention to population work. The PHR was responsible for:

  • formulating policies and strategies for human resource development and women in development, and developing new initiatives and Bank products;

  • conducting supporting research, including the improvement of research capabilities in developing countries, and management of external research funded through the Research Support Budget;

  • improving methodology and identifying best practices;

  • performing ex-post evaluation of the Bank's human resources sector work;

  • providing operational support;

  • liaising with non-Bank organizations and professionals in the field;

  • developing household data on living standards; and

  • assisting in the recruitment and training of staff.

In 1991, the priority areas of education sector lending were:

  • improving the effectiveness and efficiency of primary education;

  • increasing the access of women and girls to education;

  • strengthening science and technology education;

  • improving the efficiency and flexibility of training systems;

  • strengthening the contributions of higher education and sciences and technology institutions to development; and

  • continuing support for project-related training and the development of sectoral training capacity.

On December 1, 1991, President Lewis Preston's first reorganization abolished all Senior Vice-Presidencies. The new Sector and Operations Policy Vice Presidency (OSP) was created and adopted functions previously supervised by Senior Vice Presidents, including the PHR. On January 1, 1993, as part of a larger initiative to align the Bank's organization with the priority areas of its poverty reduction effort, the Sector and Operations Policy Vice Presidency was terminated. It was replaced by three new thematic vice presidencies: Human Resources Development and Operations Policy (HRO), Finance and Private Sector Development (FPD), and Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD).

During the 1993 reorganization, the PHR was terminated and its functions were split between a new Education and Social Policy Department (ESP) and a Population, Health and Nutrition Department (PHN). Both of these departments were placed in the HRO vice presidency along with an Operations Policy Department (OPR). The OPR absorbed the functions of: the former Central Operations Department (COD); the International Economic Relations Division (OPRIE); and the UN Office in New York (OPRNY) transferred from the External Relations Department (EXT).

On July 1, 1995, HRO became Human Capital Development and Operations Policy (HCO). At this time ESP was terminated; the education functions were moved into the new Human Development Department (HDD) which consisted of education as well as the previous Population, Health and Nutrition functions of PHN. The Social Policy function of ESP was moved into the new Poverty and Social Policy Department (PSP).

In 1997, the thematic Vice Presidencies were reorganized to strike a better balance between country focus and sectoral excellence. To facilitate sharing of expertise and knowledge, the Bank established networks that linked Bank-wide communities of staff working in the same field across organizational boundaries and with external partners. The networks formed a virtual overlay on the existing Bank organization, and were intended to link staff working in the same sectors throughout the Bank, whether the staff was located in the Regions, in the Central Vice-Presidencies' Sector Departments, or other Vice-Presidencies.

Each of the three thematic Central Vice-Presidencies was transformed into the central units, or anchors, of each network and consisted of the existing sector departments. On a Bank-wide basis, sector specialists were grouped into regional sector units or into central sector departments that worked with country departments in a matrix relationship. Staff from the central sector departments could become part of the Regional operational teams when their sectoral expertise was required.

The work programs of Network staff focused on the following items.

  • Global knowledge - putting the best development knowledge in the hands of Bank task teams; ensuring that the knowledge base was accessible to external clients; and contributing to the growth of the knowledge base.

  • Enhanced skills - developing and providing content to training courses; establishing professional and technical standards for professional development.

  • Shared strategies - assisting regional and central units to develop a common sector agenda, and ensuring that skills are effectively deployed across the entire network. Network leadership assumed responsibility for global programs, sector strategy development and evaluation, strategic partnerships, and learning and dissemination.

  • Best teams and best practices - improving the Bank's flexibility and mobility by building stronger task teams and delivering higher quality products.

  • Institutional initiatives - providing substantial support for new Bank-wide initiatives, such as Social Development, Rural Development, Financial Sector, Anti-corruption, Human Resources, and Knowledge Partnerships.

The result of the 1997 restructuring was four networks: the Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network (ESSD); the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network (FPD); the Human Development Network (HDN); and the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (PRM).

As part of this reorganization, the HDD was broken into three teams and placed in HDN. The teams included: Education Team (HDNED); Health, Nutrition, and Population Team (HDNHE); and the Social Protection Team (HDNSP). In 2003 an HIV/AIDS Global Program Team (HDNGA) was created and added to the HDN.


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