Recent governments in Ecuador (2007-17) have achieved impressive improvements in education quantity and quality. Enrollments at all levels increased significantly, and Ecuador’s learning gains on a regional test from 2006-2013 were among the largest in the region. A quadrupling of public spending on basic education (to five percent of GDP) supported the schooling expansion as well as a doubling of teacher salaries. But also important were a new focus on student learning results and key reforms of teacher policy implemented over strong union opposition: higher standards for new recruitment, regular evaluation of teacher performance with promotion based on performance (and dismissal after multiple poor evaluations). Among the political advantages favoring government reformers were: strong public support, sustained presidential engagement, the commodity boom of the 2000s, continuity in the government reform team, and a forceful communications strategy.
Ecuador’s experience offers lessons for other countries seeking to improve education by focusing on student learning and the quality of teaching.
This research is funded under the Department for International Development’s Research on Improving Systems of Education
Schneider, B.R., Estarellas, P.C., and Bruns, B. (2018). RISE Working Paper 18/021 - The Politics of Transforming Education in Ecuador: Confrontation and Continuity, 2006-17 [online]