Edited by Pauline Dixon, Steve Humble and Chris Counihan
Chapter 6: Delivering education: a pragmatic framework for improving education in low-income countries
Two decades into the new millennium, when it comes to education, there is much to be optimistic about. Primary school enrollments are up and it’s a rare country where more than 10 percent of children in the primary ages are out of school (Figure 6.1). Measurement and learning are squarely on the educational agenda, and widely publicized results from international tests like the Trends in International Mathematics and Science frequently crossover into the political debate. An array of educational products and experiments are under development, and barely a day goes by without the launch of the next great thing in teaching methods or schooling system reform, a keen reflection of the universal desire to improve. But there is also much to worry about. Low-income countries that participate in international tests report deficits that put their average child at the bottom 15th percentile of children from richer countries. In countries like India, Ethiopia, Peru and Pakistan, children can barely read as they graduate from primary school. Vast differences across children compounds the problem of low average learning, contributing to growing inequality and concentration of incomes: test results from countries like South Africa and Indian states show that these are among the most unequal educational systems in the world—the top 1 percent do OK, the rest can barely read by the time they finish primary school (Table 6.1).
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