Review

The Challenge of Education and Learning in the Developing World

Science  19 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6130, pp. 297-300
DOI: 10.1126/science.1235350

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Abstract

Across many different contexts, randomized evaluations find that school participation is sensitive to costs: Reducing out-of-pocket costs, merit scholarships, and conditional cash transfers all increase schooling. Addressing child health and providing information on how earnings rise with education can increase schooling even more cost-effectively. However, among those in school, test scores are remarkably low and unresponsive to more-of-the-same inputs, such as hiring additional teachers, buying more textbooks, or providing flexible grants. In contrast, pedagogical reforms that match teaching to students’ learning levels are highly cost effective at increasing learning, as are reforms that improve accountability and incentives, such as local hiring of teachers on short-term contracts. Technology could potentially improve pedagogy and accountability. Improving pre- and postprimary education are major future challenges.

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