Basic education and employment

Examines the employment outcomes and cost effectiveness differences between public versus private basic education


This review provides a summary of existing research on: What are the different employment outcomes and cost effectiveness differences between public vs. private basic education (primary and lower secondary) in low and middle income countries and what accounts for any difference (disaggregated by gender as appropriate)? Do either private or public education systems focus more greatly on providing students with foundation skills (literacy and numeracy skills) and does this have an impact on employment outcomes? What is the relative value for money of basic child education (primary and lower secondary) vs. programmes focusing on providing foundation skills e.g. to out of school youth, if the main benefit measure is higher skilled/waged employment? This report is not a systematic review, but aims to capture a substantial portion of the literature offering evidence on this topic, including the most important and useful papers to guide policy-making. It provides an annotated bibliography of the literature, followed by an evidence summary table assessing the literature according to DFID’s ‘strength of evidence’ guidelines.

K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.


Grant, C. (2016). Basic Education and employment. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Basic education and employment

Published 18 November 2016