Development Assistance for Education

Steve Anzalone (Ed.D. 1981) returned to CIE for a Tuesday Dialogue on Development Assistance for Education: Trends and Inertia. Steve is currently vice-president of the International Development Division of the Education Development Center (EDC) in Washington DC. He shared his more than 30 years of experience in the field of education development and spoke candidly about the world of donor-assisted interventions to education in developing countries.  Steve presented his perspective on current trends in the field of international education development singling out three for discussion.

First, he emphasized the ongoing focus on basic education because the Congressional earmark is still very much in effect. However, the concept of basic education has been broadened from primary school to include junior and even senior secondary level. Focus has shifted to include basic education in crisis and conflict settings with particular attention to youth who have a few years of primary education but no work readiness skills. Literacy and activities to promote civic engagement will also be important in basic education.


Second, he argued that the private sector would be increasingly important as NGOs and business seek more of a role in development education.  The private sector can contribute to sustainability and cost sharing as well as some aspects of management efficiency. Involving local businesses and NGOs also matches some of the goals of the USAID Forward initiative to involve local organizations in the development process.


Third, Steve discussed the greatly increased attention being paid to accountability and enforcement of regulations for federal funding. This is good news for those with skills in Monitoring and Evaluation because of the substantially increased employment opportunities. The down side is the shift in balance away from focusing on effective ways to achieve technical goals and toward compliance with pre-designed models and specifications. With this goes a strong emphasis on quantitative measures and the associated analytic techniques – areas for current students to think about.


Lastly, Steve’s advice to students was to do what your heart is telling you then make your head modify your decisions because once you enter the field of international development,  opportunities will be there. Current graduate students should be aware that moving up from entry-level positions in large development organizations is becoming harder as job qualifications are being enforced more strictly. In other words, requirements mentioned in the job description are exactly and precisely what will be demanded by the hiring organization/institution. He suggested that working in smaller NGOs with flexible structures and a more social interpersonal environment will definitely be an advantage as a young professional. 


The session concluded with a lunch with lots of informal conversations about careers and job opportunities in the field of development education.


 with reporting by Hafez Abuadwan