For nearly 25 years within the World Bank, and increasingly within other multilateral and bilateral agencies, and international NGOs, education - and particularly primary education - has been held to have a powerful relationship with many other development outcomes, and, through these, with the reduction of poverty more generally. This workshop focuses on the question of whether education needs to be embedded in a wider environment of a particular kind - for its social and economic impact to be fully realised. As a first illustration of this 'environmental impact', it explores the research origins of one of the most well-known policy claims in the whole sphere of international education and training - that four years of education increases agricultural productivity. This is used as just one example of how a research finding has been translated into and used in policy documents over the past 25 years. In doing so, it is hoped that some aspects of the modalities of translating research into policy, as well as advancing the discussion of how primary education interacts with its wider environments will be demonstrated. In respect of this inter-relationship, two dimensions are examined: how primary education is intimately affected by its own post-primary education and training environment; and how the education system as a whole, including particularly primary education, is affected by the wider economic and social environment. These two perspectives are prefaced by a commentary on one of the most famous illustrations in the policy research literature of how education has a dynamic relationship with the surrounding context and environment.
A reviewed version of this paper has been published in the Journal of International Development, see the record on R4D.
Development Studies Association Conference, 6 November 2004, 12 pp.