Twenty-two years ago, Uganda followed Malawi’s 1994 lead in rolling-out tuition-free primary education. Today, both countries are stuck in an inferior equilibrium of low-quality education with high grade repetition and early dropouts.
Josef Ritzen, the Netherlands’ education minister for eight years before he joined the World Bank, once told me: “The view of a prime minister is that an education minister only brings problems. There’s nothing he or she can do to improve quality that has a political upside. So, most ministers try to do nothing.” Ritzen’s recent successors have learned this lesson the hard way with public outcry over heightened math admission requirements for teacher training colleges that have led to a teacher shortage and larger classes.
The National Education Policy Framework launched under the government's 100-day plan calls for a number of changes to Pakistan’s educational system, such as a tech-based Smart Schools System, an Educational Volunteer Programme and an increase in the number of non-formal schools.
Pakistan has become a hotbed of educational reform. Teachers are now being hired on merit. Last year, the Government of Punjab — the 12th largest schooling system in the world — outsourced 4,276 underperforming public schools to NGOs and private entities. And it doesn’t stop there: I count more than 100 significant initiatives implemented by various administrations over the last 15 years.
RISE Working Paper 19/027 - Can Public Rankings Improve School Performance? Evidence from a Nationwide Reform in Tanzania
RISE Working Paper 18/021 - The Politics of Transforming Education in Ecuador: Confrontation and Continuity, 2006-17
On 26th October 2017, representatives from the Ethiopian Ministry of Education and the Regional Educational Bureaus, as well as key donor organisations working in the education sector - including the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) - gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the official launch of the RISE Ethiopia country research programme.