SUMMA Launches in Chile

The first education research and innovation laboratory in Latin America and the Caribbean

The launch was held at the National Library of Santiago and was attended by prominent national and international experts, including Sir Kevan Collins, Director of the Education Endowment Foundation; Bridget Crumpton, Senior Advisor of Education Commission; Valentina Quiroga, Undersecretary of Education of Chile, and former Education Ministers, Harald Beyer and José Pablo Arellano.

Summa is the first education research and innovation laboratory in Latin America and the Caribbean, whose objective is to promote the generation, systematization and use of evidence on the effectiveness of various programs and interventions in schools, equity and inclusion of education systems in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“There is evidence of what works, but how that evidence comes in and is used by decision makers and policy makers, especially at the school level, is the big Summa’s challenge”, said Bridget Crumpton, Senior Counsel for The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.

“Invest more and better”

“Although as a region we have made a great effort to catch up on investment in education as a percentage of GDP, we are still very far from the more advanced countries, when we compare spending on absolute education per student (PPP dollars per student at year). Here lies an important part of why we are worse”, said Javier Gonzalez.

On the other hand, he emphasized that “greater spending without better effectiveness and innovation of high impact of it, does not solve the problem. The key is the effectiveness of the interventions driven, depending on the real impact they have on the quality, equity and inclusion of education”.

Sir Kevan Collins, executive director of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), stresses that “evidence in education is critical to decision making, so we must generate new evidence and link it to that already generated in all countries and, the difficult that we have is to transfer that evidence to the behavior and actions of teachers”.

To illustrate the above, the expert spoke about the positive impact that is generated in the students, when the teachers give them feedback. According to the evidence collected by the EEF is a high impact and low cost. “We know the key thing is for teachers to deliver feedback to their students. That is part of a global learning, since the experience of educating children is similar everywhere”, said Collins.

For its part, SUMMA is developing various tools that will generate, systematize and provide robust global and regional evidence, which will contribute to decision making in education. One of them is the Platform for Effective Educational Practices, on line toolkit that synthesizes global and Latin American high quality evidence and academic research on school-level education interventions. This platform is meant as a relevant support for policy-makers, teachers, head masters, NGOs, and the education community as a whole. Its main aim is to improve decision making in order to foster education quality and equality.

Another is the Map of Educational Innovations, which aims to disseminate successful experiences in the field. The idea is that any school or ministry of education, know and can access programs that are useful and effective to address common challenges.

Finally, SUMMA has embarked on a regional study that will provide cost estimates for fair and quality education in the region. It is not intended to analyze the current expenditure, but to turn the question and answer: What kind of education requires Latin America and the Caribbean in the XXI century? and based on that, determine What is the real cost of providing a Quality and equitable education.

“From the expenditure gaps that the study throws, we will have a serious and transparent discussion with the ministries, authorities, academics and school communities in the different countries of the Latin American region, in order to define policy alternatives and move towards certain Consensuses, that allow us to continue progressing”, concludes Javier González.

It is worth noting that the Ministries of Education of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay have all joined the Inter-American Development Bank and Fundación Chile alliance.