Handbook of International Development and Education
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Handbook of International Development and Education

Edited by Pauline Dixon, Steve Humble and Chris Counihan

This Handbook considers the myths and untruths that currently exist in international development and education. Using historic and contemporary evidence, this compendium redefines the international development narrative through a new understanding of 'what works', drawn from pragmatic ideas and approaches.
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Chapter 3: Development and education

Stephen Heyneman and Jonathan Stern


Interest in the economic effects of education ran parallel to the wave of countries attaining independence following WWII, a period of about 70 years. In this chapter we attempt to summarize the general trends of education and development and divide our discussion into two parts. In the first section, we discuss macro issues. These include the models or approaches to measure the impact of education on development. We begin with a summary of the discussion over how we know whether investments in education result in changes in economic productivity and national development. We then move to issues surrounding what kind of education is most worthy of investment and the tendency for models to become monopolies. In this subsection we also discuss the policy distortions that have occurred over the false choice of having to invest in either primary or higher education. In the final subsection on macro issues we summarize the burgeoning literature on International Large Scale Assessments (ILSAs) of academic achievement. We also comment on the degree to which international assessments have become a means to characterize a country’s quality of education and whether this is either accurate or healthy. The second section concentrates on the micro-level issues of schools and individual students. We begin with a discussion of classroom language and the degree to which it is wise or feasible to provide schooling in the mother tongue. Next we move to the issue of privatization.

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