This paper focuses on the need for education to be embedded in a wider
environment of a particular kind - for its expected social and economic
impacts to be most evident. It explores, as a case study of this
relationship, the extraordinarily long life of one of the most
well-known policy claims in the whole sphere of international education
and training - that four years of education increase agricultural
productivity (cf. Lockheed, Jamison and Lau, 1980). But it also looks
more generally at the role of the enabling environment for education and
skills development to reach their full potential.
The original policy attractiveness of this case study research was
doubtless because it claimed a connection between education and
increased farmer productivity. This was particularly attractive in the
World Bank at the time as the Bank wanted to make the case that
investment in education was not simply a consumption good or a human
right, but that it also translated into economic growth. The same
research is now used, far beyond the Bank, to demonstrate the impact
basic education has potentially on poverty reduction.
The paper re-examines these particular connections, noting the way that
this particular research finding has been translated into policy
documents over the last 25 years, but its authors are also interested in
a second, and much more general parallel of this early research which
has been little analysed - the crucial link between basic education and
its surrounding or enabling environment. This concept of the environment
includes both, within the education sector, the whole post-basic
education and training system, but also the wider non-education
environment (for example, macro-economic growth, job creation, good
governance, and the availability of credit and agricultural inputs).
The paper first explores what we term, the 'farmer education fallacy in
development planning', by looking at the origin of the famous farmer
education claims just mentioned and seeing how these claims have been
used since then in agency and academic policy. It then explores this
issue of the need for education to be embedded within a wider
environment more generally. This discussion examines the need for a
sector-wide 'postbasic education and training environment' - beyond
primary schooling, on the one hand, and the importance of the wider
'non-educational environment' on the other. It also discusses some of
the links between the existence of a post-basic education system and
this wider enabling environment.
Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK, 67 pp.
Education, Training and their Enabling Environments: A Review of Research and Policy. Post-Basic Education and Training Working Paper Series - Nº8