Cambridge Announces New Partnership to Provide Expertise on Education Reform

Today, Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press announced the launch of the Cambridge Partnership for Education, a new unit that will draw on the collective knowledge and global network of the University of Cambridge to support governments, schools, teachers and learners in creating quality public education systems.

“Education underpins our economies and societies,” said Jane Mann, Managing Director, Cambridge Partnership for Education. “It’s the single most effective solution for many of the problems we face including poverty, health, climate change and conflict. As the global pandemic intensifies these challenges, revitalising education systems will fuel individual, national and international recovery. Our new team is uniquely placed to achieve that mission with partners around the world.”

As the recent Cambridge report “What have we learned about the COVID-19 impact on education so far?”[1] showed, education systems in all countries were ill-equipped to adapt to a global pandemic, and existing inequalities in public education systems were exposed and increased. This year saw schools closed in over 190 countries, affecting over 1.5 billion learners[2]. 24 million children may never return to the classroom.[3]

Countries now need to evaluate whether the solutions put in place during the lockdown have had an impact, assessing what’s worked and what hasn’t, in order to start planning more effectively for medium and longer-term solutions.

The pandemic has also caused economic downturns around the world, widening existing inequalities. Half of the global workforce is at risk, leaving many without the skills they will need to return to new jobs.[4] Countries will need to invest in education and skills to rebuild their economies at a time when government spending will be under intense pressure.

The new and expanded offer from the Cambridge Partnership for Education will help governments and non-governmental organisations reimagine and rebuild education systems, from research and planning to implementation and impact evaluation. The Cambridge team brings decades of trusted experience working on education from every angle – curriculum, assessment, learning materials and teacher training – to help our partners reach their goals, speed up progress and achieve value for money.

“For the first time, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Assessment and our University will combine the full depth and breadth of our education expertise to partner with governments and non-governmental organisations.” said Peter Phillips, Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press. “The creation of an integrated team and one single point of contact to access all of our capabilities and services meets our partners’ needs and means together we can improve education systems more effectively.”

Although the disruption caused by COVID has brought challenges in education into sharp focus in many areas, Cambridge was already supporting governments to develop their education systems well before the pandemic hit. The move towards competency-based education, new forms of assessment, digital literacy and initiatives to tackle the shortage of trained teachers, among other developments, have seen Cambridge partner with ministries around the world, reaching over 20 million learners worldwide in 2019 alone. The individual teams who will form the new unit have developed strong reputations for delivering excellence for clients across a variety of issues and local contexts. Recent achievements include an in-depth analysis of the national curriculum of Ethiopia, supporting improvements in English teaching with the Malaysia Ministry of Education, supporting the goal of a bilingual population in Panama, and pioneering a new Learning Passport with Microsoft and UNICEF which harnesses the latest technological capabilities to support education for displaced children.

The Partnership will draw on the knowledge and expertise of more than 6,000 employees in 50 offices worldwide, from Cambridge to New Delhi, from Oman to Kenya.

“This is a challenging time for the world and a vital moment for education,” said Saul Nassé, Chief Executive of Cambridge Assessment. “We could not have predicted the stress education systems, governments and people around the globe would face in 2020. Our new unit brings together our collective strength and expertise in education at a moment when we can make a significant contribution to the world’s learning recovery.”