How Does Social Accountability Help Resolve the Learning Crisis?

Posted: 26 Jun 2018 Last revised: 5 Oct 2018

Date Written: June 8, 2018


In the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, countries committed to ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning. Three years later, the World Development 2018 report warns there is a “learning crisis” and identifies critical policy actions to accelerate learning for all. This note identifies ways in which citizen engagement and social accountability can contribute to this effort. The main takeaways from the experience of the Global Partnership for Social Accountability are:

The focus on the quality of education service delivery requires rethinking the value-add of social accountability and citizen engagement. To date, social accountability has often been assessed for its potential to enhance education results by empowering individuals to provide information that helps governments be accountable for service delivery. However, evidence from the fields of learning and social accountability suggest that different underlying principles should inform interventions.

Social Accountability and citizen engagement can address challenges associated with the implementation of policy actions targeted at the immediate and systemic causes of the learning crisis. Indirectly, this will contribute to learning improvements. The route towards supporting results is to broker multi-stakeholder coalitions composed of civil society, government, private and international institutions that engage in social accountability processes with a problem-solving mindset.

Integrating sectoral and governance interventions, as collaborative social accountability efforts do, opens new pathways to obtain, scale up and sustain results, for example by mitigating risks associated with technical education interventions such as decentralization policies.

Keywords: Social Accountability, Citizen Engagement, Education, Learning

Suggested Citation

Guerzovich, Maria F. and Poli, Maria and Fokkelman, Emilie, How Does Social Accountability Help Resolve the Learning Crisis? (June 8, 2018). Available at SSRN:

Maria Poli

Independent ( email )

Emilie Fokkelman

Independent ( email )

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