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There is a learning crisis in developing countries: most children now attend school, but many are not learning basic skills. CGD led a global initiative called Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) focusing on governance, accountability, information, financing, management, and the politics of reform. RISE was a partnership with Oxford Policy Management and the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, with funding from the UK Department for International Development and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The "arbiter of value" is a key concept in Mark Moore’s RISE working paper: "Creating Efficient, Effective and Just Educational Systems through Multi-Sector Strategies of Reform." This concept, which he brings to the education sector after decades of experience in a variety of public sector organizations (his 1994 book Creating Public Value is a classic in the field), helps understand the industrial organization of basic schooling and why schooling is mostly publicly managed around the world—and even why a failed political coup affects who can teach school in Turkey.
Contrary to popular opinion, there is little reliable evidence showing strong links between student achievement and teachers’ formal qualifications. On the other hand, numerous studies document the relationship between teachers’ classroom performance and student learning outcomes. Getting high-level and consistent performance from teachers in the classroom is central to improving delivery of education services. Yet the performance and effectiveness of teachers varies widely across and within education systems—and even within schools.
For this edition of the CGD Podcast I’m joined by Savedoff and Sandefur (who also leads our education research through the RISE project); they give a sneak peak of their contributions to, and offer an assessment of, the Learning Generation report.
“We know this is crazy ambitious,” Lant Pritchett says to introduce RISE: Research on Improving Systems of Education. He’s right. The RISE program plans to study education systems reform in five countries over six years; CGD directs the research agenda.
The release of the World Bank’s World Development Report (WDR) is a milestone in the struggle to prepare the youth of today for the challenges of the world they will face. The report focuses on both the need to “get education right” and how to reform education systems to meet the challenge of preparing today’s youth to be tomorrow’s citizens, parents, community members, workers, and leaders. As we outline below, the WDR and our RISE programme share many core themes.
DFID’s new education strategy to tackle the learning crisis prioritizes a pivotal part of any well-functioning education system: good teaching. It is obvious that any attempt to reform education systems cannot work if it does not generate effective teaching practices, which requires skilled and motivated teachers in the classroom.
The global policy debate about education is in the midst of a major pivot, of the kind that happens maybe once every quarter-century, from a conversation about how to increase enrollment to one about learning.