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Penn Graduate School of Education

research and innovation for a more literate world

Learning at the Bottom of the Pyramid 2

Learning at the Bottom of the Pyramid (LBOP2): Applying Research to Policy and Practice brought together research, policy, and practice experts from across the globe, including representatives from universities, think tanks, NGOs and governments, and intergovernmental agencies. The discussions focused on original papers, covering a variety of LBOP2 themes, concepts, and country practices.

Organized by UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and the University of Pennsylvania, the working conference was held virtually in four global webinars from November 30 – December 8, 2020.

Key Approach

The LBOP2 working conference aimed to explore and document the tensions in understanding and improving learning among marginalized populations in low-income countries. Serious debates continue around science, measurement, and policy related to these learning needs, particularly in light of such global shifts as urbanization, migration and demography. The rationale presented in the first volume, Learning at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Science, Measurement and Policy in Low-Income Countries, still stands: there is a critical need to focus on learning among the poor and marginalized in order to adequately address social and economic inequalities in the future.

Thematic Areas Addressed

Discussions during the LBOP2 conference centered on the following thematic areas:

  • Diversity and Equity in Education
  • How Migration Affects Learning Outcomes
  • Teaching at the Bottom of the Pyramid
  • Improving the Impact of Educational Technologies on Learning within Low-Income Contexts
  • Metrics for Reducing Inequality in Education
  • Measuring Relative Learning Exclusion
  • Financing Education at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Country Case Studies Presented

Researchers and practitioners from the following countries presented case studies exploring the opportunities, issues and primary barriers to learning faced by those at the Bottom of the Pyramid in their respective countries:

  • Code d’Ivoire
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Mexico

Conference Chairs, Committees, and Invited Speakers


The LBOP2 conference was co-organized by UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and the University of Pennsylvania. This material has been partly funded by UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies. It received additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global EdTechHub, the Jacobs Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania, Penn’s International Literacy Institute, Penn’s UNESCO Chair, and Penn’s Perry World House.

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