Molly Jamieson Eberhardt
Director of Engagement, EdTech Hub
If you have spent time working in the education sector, you’ll know that even marginal gains are worthy of celebration. Those of us involved in launching the EdTech Hub know this well — from our experience as teachers, researchers, advisers, programme implementers, and civil servants. Nevertheless, we have the ambition to help accelerate progress toward quality education at an unprecedented rate.
We of course know that sustainable change often takes time, and we respect hard-earned marginal gains. But what we’re really after is improvement in education outcomes at a pace that matches the urgency of the problem — think millions of children receiving quality education within a decade, not in decades.
To be clear, we’re not seeking a silver bullet, and we have no intention of pursuing this goal alone. We realise it is only through a diverse, global, collective effort that this can be achieved.
That’s where our focus on engagement comes in.
You’ll have read my co-directors’ recent blogs introducing the Hub and our focus on research and innovation. The third focus of the Hub is engagement, which I lead with my colleagues at Results for Development. I’d like to give you a sneak peek at what we have planned.
There are two main components of our engagement work, both focused on creating mutually-beneficial partnerships with a focus on evidence:
1. Global engagement: Partnering with implementers, researchers, innovators, and funders
The EdTech Hub is initially planned as an eight-year, £20 million initiative. We envision that it will be fueled by additional funding and actually last far beyond eight years. But no single initiative can address the learning crisis at the scale and in the diverse range of contexts in which it persists.
Our global engagement work is about building partnerships with organisations who share our vision for — and are already working towards — a world where technology is appropriately and effectively used to improve education quality, especially for the most marginalised. We seek partners who are eager to achieve mutual amplification of impact by bringing an evidence-driven approach to one or more of our focus areas: synthesising and conducting research, supporting innovation, and engaging with governments. We are eager to:
- exchange knowledge and experience
- co-develop tools and resources
- share research tools, methods, and findings
- jointly implement activities
- test out new approaches together
- expand the range and diversity of contexts in which we are collectively able to deliver new approaches, conduct research, and share our learning
- deliver beyond the capacity of any one organisation
In addition to these focused partnerships, the EdTech Hub will also engage with the broader global community by producing and sharing global public goods — resources that are free to distribute and adapt. This is part of our commitment to transparency, inclusion, and equity.
2. Country engagement: Partnering with governments
We are especially focused on building partnerships with government actors. Governments are responsible for the majority of teachers who in turn serve the majority of children; if technology is used effectively and appropriately, the potential for impact is massive.
There are two primary ways in which the Hub will support government officials.
First, we will partner with three national ministries of education to co-design a portfolio of planning, implementation, and research activities. Our goal is to work beside ministries through sustained co-working, co-creation, and coaching — to learn from their experience and expertise and together grapple with tough EdTech challenges. We will also offer our partners embedded capacity through the opportunity to host a post-graduate economist as an EdTech Fellow for two years to support the ministry’s EdTech priorities. The Hub plans to facilitate peer learning between partner ministries, as well.
Second, we will run a Helpdesk service through which country-based World Bank staff, DFID education advisers, and eventually, government officials, can request discrete, short-term research and advisory support to answer questions they are facing in their decision-making.
Stay tuned for more details on our engagement plans at @GlobalEdTechHub. Hopefully, something you’ve read here has sparked an idea of how collaboration with the Hub can amplify the impact of your work.