Philanthropy Spotlight: February 2018

Hello everyone,

Please allow me to introduce the Philanthropy Spotlight for February, 2018. The Spotlight will come out at the end of each month, and will contain the news, reports, and stories we felt were the most important with respect to our work. We very much hope you enjoy reading the stories we have curated for you in this, our first edition Spotlight, and are looking forward to keeping up to date on all things philanthropy, charity and aid in Southeast Asia in the future.

This edition features heavily topics on education and learning, as well as important commentaries on the changing nature of development needs in Thailand.


Towards data-driven education systems: Insights into using information to measure results and manage change

Brookings Institution & AidData, 20 February 2018

Link to the report

Learning gaps are increasing while gaps in “access to education” are decreasing. Our awareness of this phenomena has been informed greatly by our use and access to good data on development activities. Now that we have these tools and this knowledge, we can no longer ignore the gaps in learning despite the progress made in global educational access.

Today, 650 million children around the globe are at risk of being left behind as they fail to learn basic skills. Inequitable access to education is part of the problem, but even when children are in school, they may not be learning.


Hundreds of millions of children in school but not learning

By Kate Hodal, The Guardian, 2 February 2018

Link to the article

The relationship between education and development, health, income, and quality of life is clear. However, while the focus of many, especially PCF, is on education, it is essential to remember that education is not just building a school or providing books – but instilling the tools, skills, and long-term energy behind educational attainment and outcomes. Unfortunately, the effort to provide increased access to education (globally) has led to a significant decline in the purpose of education – learning.

The global push to ensure free primary and secondary education by 2030 has helped fuel a “trade-off of quality for quantity”, whereby children are spending several years in school yet remain unable to read, write or do basic sums, according to Jaime Saavedra, who leads the global education practice at the bank. “This is a learning crisis, and we call it a crisis because we need to recognise the magnitude of the problem…


What role is there for development actors in Thailand?

By Kelli Rogers, DevEx, 5 February 2018

Link to the article

As nations move from lower-income to middle-income, development challenges remain, yet they are different and often less obvious. These changes require a reexamination from development actors to adapt as well, and to look to improve upon the progress that has been made. This report from DevEx examines this phenomena and offers some timely advice for development actors in Thailand at this stage.

The country’s ministry of education made impressive progress in access to education in the 60s and 70s, and was “way ahead of the pack in ASEAN in terms of getting education to every village,” Parks said. “The problem is the system was built for access, not for quality.” Now, the country is faced with the challenge of hundreds of small schools providing poor education, and “a system that was built for a different time…”