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Computers and textbooks will not solve growing global education crisis alone, major report finds

Expert analysis of global education research suggests resources are being poorly spent on materials rather than teacher training in many lower-income countries. Simply spending money on computers and materials will not solve a growing global education crisis, experts have warned.

A major new report reviewing the impact of education programmes in lower and middle-income countries has revealed that computer-assisted learning, widely regarded as one of the most effective and forward-thinking classroom tools, does not improve learning outcomes in all contexts.

In some cases, such programmes even had a negative effect on learning, leading to concerns that education funding was being wasted in areas where resources were especially limited.

The study follows concerns that improvements in children’s school enrolment rates have slowed down considerably over the past decade.

More than a quarter of a billion school-age children are not currently in any formal education, according to Unesco figures, a much higher figure than previously estimated.

Birte Snilstveit, a Senior Evaluation Specialist for the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) who co-authored the report, said: “We find that just providing free computers and textbooks does not always improve learning outcomes.

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