Policy paper

Education: improving learning, expanding opportunities

This publication was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

How the Department for International Development is improving education in the world's poorest countries.



The world is facing a learning crisis in which at least 250 million children cannot read or count, even having spent 4 years in school. Yet for education to change lives, children need not only to be in school but also learning. The paper presents how the UK is facing up to the challenge and providing global leadership on delivering value for money, developing new partnerships across the public-private spectrum, using new technology and building evidence on new approaches with partner governments.

Together with a continued commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and the Education For All goals, DFID is focused on 3 core priorities:

  1. to improve learning
  2. to reach all children, especially those in fragile states
  3. to keep girls in school, helping the most marginalised girls stay in school and learning for longer

DFID’s approach to education combines strengthening national education systems to ensure better provision for improved learning; improving accountability to citizens and taxpayers for results; and improving what happens in classrooms. There is no single technical fix to guarantee improved learning outcomes for every child and affecting change in learning outcomes can take time. A focus on learning does, however, provide a clear measurable indicator of education quality and impact.