Edited by Pauline Dixon, Steve Humble and Chris Counihan
Chapter 5: Introduction to part II
Over the last fifteen or so years research has been highlighting changes that have been occurring in education within developing countries. A bottom up rather than a top down initiative seems to have taken hold in the schools market. Parental choice, entrepreneurship, accountability – a de facto privatisation has been discovered. The following chapters are written by some of the most influential figures in the field. Many of them have spent large portions of their time in urban and rural areas of developing countries. They have been investigating the landscape of schooling that prior to their determination to search for the truth had generally been ignored. Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das and Asim Ijaz Khwaja argue for what they call a ‘pragmatic framework’, where policy takes into account the full schooling environment and is actively concerned with alleviating constraints that prohibit parents and schools from fulfilling their own stated objectives. Using policy actionable experiments as examples, they show that the pragmatic approach can lead to better schooling for children: alleviating constraints brings more children into school and increases test scores in English, mathematics and the vernacular. They ingeniously use a fictional place called Taleem, the ‘site of the great schooling wars’, to draw links between the story of Taleem and the debates around schooling today, focusing mainly on the discussion around government or low cost private school provision.
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