Who are the GEM Report Fellows?

gem report fellowshipThe GEM Report Fellowship, supported by OSF, and launched in 2019, aims to strengthen the evidence base on education, particularly in emerging economies, build research capacity in education, and reinforce the links between research, policy, and practice in education. There were four Fellows in the first year of the programme, and four more have just been appointed for the second round. This blog tells you about their areas of research.

The first round of fellows were Madhuri Agarwal from India, Gabriel Badescu from Romania, Enrique Valencia-Lopez from Mexico and Donny Baum from the USA. The first three worked on studies to inform the 2020 GEM Report on inclusion due for launch on June 23. Danny worked on a study relevant to the 2021 GEM Report on non-state provision. More information on their particular areas of research are below.

  1. Maduri Agarwal’s proposal, entitled “Retain, promote or support – How to reduce inequality in educational opportunity: evidence from India”, looks at the impact of retention and what its impact is on keeping weak students from progressing through school. It looked at factors at the individual and household level, as well as the influence of tuition in affecting the probability of repeating grades, and at the link between completing early grades and subsequently completing eight years of elementary education.
  2. Gabriel Badescu focused on “Fostering inclusive education by enhancing cooperative skills”. He looked at whether inequalities in socioeconomic status influence cooperation as an educational outcome and identified policies that could improve collaborative skills and alleviate the negative effects of inequality.
  3. Enrique Valencia-Lopez looked at “Improving and Aligning Measurement of Ethnicity in International Surveys. He analysed the limitations and advantages of current surveys to measure ethnicity, particularly indigenous identity, in Latin America.
  4. Donny Baum looked at “Non-State Actors in Early Childhood Education: Implications for Education Equity and Quality” (paper available soon). This study will inform the 2021 GEM Report on non-state provision of education. Recognizing the magnitude of private participation in early childhood education in regions such as South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, his research proposes to offer one of the first broad looks at the scope of the issue across low- and middle-income countries.

For the 2020 Fellowship, four new candidates have just been appointed. The work of three will feed into the 2021 GEM Report on non-state provision of education: Elizabeth Buckner from Canada/USA, Alice Dias Lopes from Brazil/Scotland and Wei Zhang from China. The fourth fellow, Nicolas Buchbinder from Argentina, will work on research related to the 2022 GEM Report on technology. More in detail is below:

  1. Elizabeth Buckner will focus on equitable access to quality tertiary education, including university, exploring whether the growth of private higher education could exacerbate inequalities in access. It will merge data on enrollments in private higher education worldwide with WIDE data on inequalities in access to higher education.
  2. Alice Dias Lopes will look at trends affecting higher education inequalities in Latin America, focusing on Brazil, Chile and Colombia. Using nationally representative household survey data linked to the WIDE database, the analysis will help examine changes in the effect of students’ gender, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic background on the probability of having a higher education degree before and after the expansion policies.
  3. Wei Zhang will explore new and existing data on shadow education drawing on her experience in Cambodia, China, Denmark, India, Japan and Myanmar, the literature, and additional informants for broader analysis of patterns across the globe. She will examine regulations for the practice by different categories of providers. The analysis will explore recent developments in various settings, ranging from East Asia – with the longest history of the practice – to the Nordic countries – with the shortest history – as well as policies that have unintentionally legitimized tutoring.
  4. Nicolas Buchbinder’s research will feed into the 2022 GEM Report on technology. He will undertake research on the availability and effectiveness of ICT in schools in Latin America, using data from PISA 2000-2018. The project proposes to answer questions on the increase of ICT devices and internet available for student use at school, on the gaps between home and computer uses, on socioeconomic inequalities in the access to ICT, on the uses of educational software, among others.

The calibre of these proposals confirms the ambition of the GEM Report Fellowships to attract exceptional individuals who have quantitative research skills, demonstrate a potential for transformational impact in their domain, and share a commitment to provide more people with better educational opportunities. We are extremely grateful to the Open Society Foundations for their support towards the GEM Report Fellowship and are excited to hear what our next round of Fellows discover in their work. The next round of calls for Fellowship applicants will open in the fall of 2020, with more information available here.



  1. That is very important report that all of educational foundations around world need it, but it must give a relastic sense to what will change in the SDG4 due to the effects of COVID-19 and what must be done by the educational foundations to be ready to such emergency issues in the future

Leave a Reply