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Ryan Shawn Herman

Education Researcher (Foundational Learning)

Ryan is a full-time education researcher with the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti working on the Data Must Speak (DMS) research. Before joining UNICEF, Ryan consulted on various education research projects for the World Bank and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). In these roles, Ryan contributed to mixed methods research in the areas of foundational learning, education financing, and learning recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to working with the World Bank and GPE, Ryan taught biology and managed education programs in Kenya (Aga Khan Academies) and South Africa (Imagine Scholar). Ryan holds a master's degree in Education Policy and Analysis from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Bowdoin College.


A teacher leans over a desk and is re-arranging cones with letters on them. Children sit at a desk.

What is Effective Teaching?

The expansion of education in Zambia has offered an opportunity to consider what effective teaching looks like. In 2017, only 2 per cent and 5 per cent of 15-year-olds in Zambia reached proficiency levels in mathematics and reading respectively.1 Furthermore, primary school enrollment rates had stagnated since 2014, and not kept pace with Zambia’s population growth.2 To address these challenges, the Zambian government launched their Free Education Policy in January 2022, which eliminated tuition fees from early childhood education through secondary school. Since the introduction of this policy, enrollment has risen from 3.2 million to 4.3 million at the primary level and from 859,000 to 1.5 million at the secondary level.3