Delivering Education: A Pragmatic Framework for Improving Education in Low-Income Countries

45 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Tahir Andrabi

Tahir Andrabi

Pomona College - Department of Economics

Jishnu Das

Georgetown University; Georgetown University

Asim Ijaz Khwaja

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies (CeRP); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 26, 2015

Abstract

Even as primary-school enrollments have increased in most low-income countries, levels of learning remain low and highly unequal. Responding to greater parental demand for quality, low-cost private schools have emerged as one of the fastest growing schooling options, challenging the monopoly of state-provided education and broadening the set of educational providers. Historically, the rise of private schooling is always deeply intertwined with debates around who chooses what schooling is about and who represents the interests of children. This time is no different. But rather than first resolve the question of how child welfare is to be adjudicated, this paper argues instead for a `pragmatic framework?. In this pragmatic framework, policy takes into account the full schooling environment?which includes public, private and other types of providers?and is actively concerned with first alleviating constraints that prohibit parents and schools from fulfilling their own stated objectives. Using policy actionable experiments as examples, this paper shows that the pragmatic approach can lead to better schooling for children. Alleviating constraints by providing better information, better access to finance or greater access to skilled teachers brings more children into school and increases test-scores in language and mathematics. These areas of improvement are very similar to those where there is already a broad societal consensus that improvement is required.

Keywords: Access & Equity in Basic Education, Education For All, Education for Development (superceded), Educational Populations, Economics of Education, Education Finance

Suggested Citation

Andrabi, Tahir and Das, Jishnu and Khwaja, Asim Ijaz, Delivering Education: A Pragmatic Framework for Improving Education in Low-Income Countries (May 26, 2015). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7277, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2610916

Tahir Andrabi (Contact Author)

Pomona College - Department of Economics ( email )

Claremont, CA 91711
United States
909-607-2513 (Phone)
909-621-8576 (Fax)

Jishnu Das

Georgetown University ( email )

O Street
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Georgetown University ( email )

Old North, Suite 100
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Washington, DC 20057
United States

Asim Ijaz Khwaja

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-384-7790 (Phone)
617-496-5960 (Fax)

Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies (CeRP) ( email )

Via Real Collegio, 30
Moncalieri, Turin 10024
Italy

Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) ( email )

Duke University
Durham, NC 90097
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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