Policy Transfer & Guideposts for Accountability for Complex Education Reforms


This study synthesizes findings of five country case studies of long-term educational reform processes: Nigeria, Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa. The authors concentrate on reforms designed to improve accountability in large, low/middle income countries where subnational governments have substantial responsibility for education— especially regarding planning and resources. The original overarching objective was to identify useful ideas for the Nigerian government. Thus, they consider issues of policy transfer and the extent to which such comparative case studies of long-term reform efforts are potentially useful exercises for policy analysts, especially those involved in international support and co-operation. They develop and apply a conceptual framework for understanding and assessing accountability in complex institutional reforms (as opposed to focussed reforms often associated with accountability and assessed through RCTs). This conceptualisation allows a policy analyst to develop a detailed snapshot that focuses on a few key aspects of an education reform, as both designed and implemented, and then work towards understanding the primary challenges and accomplishments to improve accountability, without losing the attention to institutional and political detail required for policy analysis. The study thus also provides insights as to the usefulness of this conceptual framework both for making the comparisons across countries credible and for analytic work intended for consumption by actual policymakers. This approach yields a heterodox approach to the concept of “appropriate evidence” for designing complex institutional reforms.


Gershberg, A.; Rai, S. Policy Transfer & Guideposts for Accountability for Complex Education Reforms. Presented at RISE Launch Event on 18-19 June 2015 in Washington DC, USA. (2015)

Policy Transfer & Guideposts for Accountability for Complex Education Reforms

Published 1 January 2015