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Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Call for Research Proposals on Building Resilient Education Systems in Asia and the Pacific: Lessons from Past Disruptions

Asian Development Bank Institute, Asian Development Bank

Prolonged education disruptions due to disasters, violent conflicts, and health crises can lead to permanent learning losses and increased student dropout rates that significantly undermine affected people’s lifetime earning capacity and broader economic development. As education disruptions are likely to become more frequent and severe due to factors such as climate change and pandemic threats, effective strategies for building resilient education systems are urgently needed to ensure that learning can continue in the face of shocks, students and educators receive adequate mental health and social services, and post-disruption planning is in place to facilitate rapid learning loss recovery.

The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) are seeking research proposals on policies and practices for building resilient education systems in Asia and the Pacific, with a focus on mitigating the impacts of disasters, violent conflicts, health crises, or other covariate shocks that can disrupt schooling in a country or a specific area of a country. Selected proposals will be considered for publication in a special issue of the academic journal Economics of Education Review. Research proposals should focus on one of the following topics:

  • Policies or practices to help maintain learning continuity for all children amid a disruption
  • Ways to promote learning continuity and recovery among children of different vulnerability levels
  • How to mobilize communities and parents to support learning continuity and recovery
  • How to prepare teachers and school principals to address disruptions
  • How to equip children to learn independently during disruptions
  • How to deliver education services amid disruptions
  • The importance of digitalization, digital infrastructure, and education technology (edtech) for maintaining learning continuity
  • How to measure education system resilience
  • As the world experiences more climate-induced disruptions, how school systems can adapt their infrastructure, teacher training, pedagogical technologies, curricula, and learning materials
  • Ways to design accountability systems to enhance the responsiveness of local education agencies, teachers, and school principals during disruptions, addressing learning continuity and recovery

Proposals must focus on a specific disruption. Comparative perspectives and country-specific submissions are also welcome. Quantitative analyses using primary or secondary data are welcome, as are analyses that document policy failures. Research methods should rigorously address causality where relevant. Theoretical papers are not welcome. Submissions from women researchers and researchers based in developing economies in Asia or the Pacific are encouraged.

Submission Procedure

Authors should submit their proposals via this link by 28 February 2023. Proposals must be written in English and contain the following:

  • Motivation, including the country context and specific disruption
  • Research question(s)
  • Research methods, including the empirical model, data, estimation strategy, and a note on ethics review if primary data collection is planned
  • Names of the research team members, their institutional affiliations, and a short biography and a list of representative publications for each member. The lead researcher should provide their contact details.

The proposal’s maximum length is five A4 pages in aggregate. The proposal must be written with normal fonts (e.g. 12-pt Times New Roman, 1.5 space) and one-inch page margins. This specification will be strictly applied.

It is not necessary to submit a budget proposal.

Submissions will be assessed based on their scientific contribution, methodology, policy relevance, and the track record of the lead researcher

Arrangements for Selected Proposals

Up to ten research proposals will be selected. Notifications of accepted proposals are expected to be sent by March 2023. The lead researcher or their affiliated institution will be contracted by ADBI as a consultant or research services provider. The lead researcher must be a citizen of an ADB member economy.

An honorarium of $5,000-$12,000 will be paid upon addressing the following requirements:

  • Present initial research results during a conference in October 2023, to be held in-person in Tokyo if COVID-19 travel conditions allow or virtually. Travel, accommodation, and per diem to cover daily costs will be provided to one author per accepted paper. The participating author must be a citizen of an ADB member economy.
  • Submit a draft full manuscript of no more than 10,000 words, excluding annexes, by November 2023
  • Submit a revised final manuscript based on feedback from reviewers by December 2023
  • Revise the manuscript further based on comments from journal reviewers, as requested

ADBI will hold the copyright of the research output, either solely or jointly.

Selection Committee


Inquiries may be directed to ADBI’s Daniel Suryadarma.