Dubai Cares has participated in the World Education Forum 2015, hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, which took place in Incheon, South Korea, from May 19th-22nd. The organisation also took part in a panel discussion entitled, "Using Evidence in Policy Making and Practice". The discussion tackled the need for a strong evidence-base in education outcomes, what programmes work best to change those outcomes, and the systems in place to widely implement those programmes.
The forum, attended by South Korean President, Park Geun-hye, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, and presented a unique platform for global leaders in education, ministers, policy-makers, representatives of UN Agencies, international NGOs, civil society and foundations, teachers, experts and the private sector to take stock of achievements and shortfalls in the implementation of the Education For All, EFA, goals and education-related Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, and to agree on a joint position for the education goal and targets in the post-2015 development agenda, which will be adopted by UN Member States at the UN High-Level Summit in September, 2015.
During his participation in a panel discussion alongside Ministers of Education, chief executives from international NGOs and senior representatives from the World Bank, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, said, "In light of scarce resources, we all want to know which solutions and approaches give us the biggest education gains. We need to systematically and thoroughly test different solutions to help us choose between many seemingly good ideas. The more we learn through rigorous testing and evaluation, the closer we get to understand the key elements for success."
Dubai Cares actively supports initiatives that promote evidence-based programming. For instance, the UAE-based organisation is part of The Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education, PSIPSE, which aims to identify and accelerate innovation in secondary education, contribute to policy-based reforms, and capture and disseminate learnings to key stakeholders.
Dubai Cares is also part of the Building Evidence in Education, BE2, network, which engages bilateral and multilateral organisations committed to increasing the quality of education research, promoting the use of evidence in education programming and strengthening donor research collaboration.
"Until recently, we had limited knowledge about what works and what doesn't work in the fight against poverty, specifically in the sphere of education and learning. We must continue funding evidence-generating efforts in developing countries as there is immense value in learning from the outcomes of our work. Evaluation and research allow us to learn why a certain approach works while others do not, and which elements should be mended or abandoned. More evidence will not only help us utilise funds better, but will also enable us to mobilise more resources to achieve a greater impact," Al Gurg concluded.
Dubai Cares has strategically supported interventions that have proven to work, which provide important lessons on priority actions and enabling success factors. Examples include: Read India, a Dubai Cares programme, in partnership with Pratham, which has shown that reading camps can effectively boost reading levels in marginalised areas, and that many innovative solutions can be found by thinking ‘outside the classroom'.
Another example is Literacy Boost, a Dubai Cares programme in partnership with Save the Children, consisting of a number of methodologies aimed at enhancing reading skills in early grades through in-classroom and home-based interventions. It focuses on the core skills that research shows are central to learning to read. School-based deworming is a third example, in which Dubai Cares partnered with The END Fund and Thrive Networks to implement.
In the last decade, school-based deworming has been one of the great success stories of evidence-based decision-making in developing countries.
Several research studies have demonstrated that deworming has immense long lasting gains at very low costs. Dubai Cares currently supports several deworming interventions in partnership with several organisations and governments.