2016 Education and Research Review

Education in Developing Countries what Policies and Programmes Affect Learning and Time in School?

Amy Damon, Paul Glewwe, Suzanne Wisniewski, Bixuan Sun

The study is a synthesis of high quality and rigorous evaluations in the field of education aid in order to direct the Swedish government’s education aid strategy toward investments that have been shown to result in positive impacts on students’ educational outcomes.

The authors have made a comprehensive review and analysis of recent research on education policies, programmes and interventions in developing countries. It also cover unpublished studies, both academic working papers and evaluations conducted by aid agencies. To organize the review the existing research is classified into four categories that corresponds to the major challanges faced by the education sector: (1) low demand for education, (2) inadequate school inputs, (3) ineffective teaching pedagogy; and (4) low-quality school governance.

Main findings
The two most effective intervention to increase time in school are:

  • provision of conditional cash tranfers
  • buildng new schools where local access is lacking.

Compared with interventions that increase time in school, the study found a wider variety of effective interventions that increase student learning:

  • merit-based scholarships
  • providing supplemental or remedial instruction
  • decreasing pupil-teacher ratios
  • building new schools.

Paul Glewwe, Professor, University of Minnesota
Amy Damon, Associate Professor, Macalaster College
Suzanne Wisniewski, Associate Professor, University of St.Thomas
Bixuan Sun, PhD Student, University of Minnesota