A theory of change to guide a practical and pragmatic approach to the acceleration in the pace of learning in basic education in the developing world, such as that envisioned in the Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) research project and other global initiatives, must be based on a comprehensive and empirically adequate positive model of the politics of learning, that is a model that actually describes the motivations and behavior of actual governments and policy makers.
This paper lays out 3 facts about basic education in developing countries that a minimally acceptable positive political economy model of education should be capable of addressing.
why did schooling expand so much and so uniformly across countries when it did?
why does governmental support for education generally (if not universally) take the form (direction production) and modality (large Weberian bureaucracies) that it does, rather than other forms and modes; alternatives that seem equally or more effective?
how did cross-nationally uniform political support for the expansion of schooling coexist in many countries with a politics that allowed very low learning to both arise and persist in some countries, but not others?
This research is part of the Research on Improving Systems of Education programme
Pritchett, L. (2018) RISE Working Paper 18/020, The Politics of Learning: Directions for Future Research [online]