Helpdesk Report: Rapid Review of Education Systems Research in Low and Middle Income Countries


This rapid review aims to examine:

  • The conceptual frameworks underpinning education systems research in low and middle income countries (LMICS) and to what extent these are clearly articulated and widely accepted.
  • The extent and nature of education systems research in LMICs, its key findings and quality.

The results of the review are presented in 4 sections:

  1. Conceptual frameworks proposed by International Organisations and Programmes
  2. Discussion papers, Literature Reviews and Strategy Documents proposing  a conceptual framework for education systems
  3. Individual country case studies of education systems
  4. Comparative case studies or comparative education systems research across countries

Conclusions include:

  • A wide range of conceptual frameworks were identified regarding education systems in low and middle income countries but these were not accepted widely or used extensively as a basis for research.
  • Many of the conceptual frameworks were proposed in policy discussion papers or developed as implementation tools rather than being primarily intended as research frameworks.
  • There is a need for more agreement regarding the conceptual frameworks which should underpin education systems research to enable more direct comparison between research studies and the development of a strong evidence base


Featherstone, I.; Bolton, L. Helpdesk Report: Rapid Review of Education Systems Research in Low and Middle Income Countries. (2013) 22 pp.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information, eg your National Insurance number or credit card details.