RISE Working Paper 15/005 - Creating Education Systems Coherent for Learning Outcomes


This RISE Working Paper, authored by Lant Pritchett (Research Director of the RISE Programme), seeks to provide an answer to the hard question: “How can learning get, and stay, so bad (in some places and not others) even though access to enrolment and schooling completed is expanding rapidly?” It builds an accountability framework of actors and the four design elements of accountability (delegation, financing, information and motivation) to emphasize that effectiveness in promoting learning requires systems of education that are coherent.

It identifies two ways in which this can be achieved:

  • First, each accountability relationship has to be coherent across its elements – that is, the delegation of what agents are asked to do has to be coherent with the financing, information, and motivation, rather than “pay for one thing and expect another”.
  • Second, the relationships have to be coherent across relationships of accountability – that is, if teachers are accountable both to their employer and indirectly to parents/students/communities, then if these two have very different objectives the accountability of teachers will be made incoherent.

The paper presents a key part in the tentative first step of formulating a research programme into reforms of education systems that are capable of producing sustained accelerations in the pace of improving learning outcomes.

For a quick summary insight on this paper, see Daniela Scur's blog: "What do we mean by 'Coherent Education Systems'?"