$199 Per Student: The Cost Of Universal Primary Enrollment - Education Links


Education Links is a periodic summary of what we’re reading from RISE (Research on Improving Systems of Education), CGD’s initiative on education reform in the developing world. 


Paul Skidmore (CEO of Rising Academies in Sierra Leone) is skeptical about the latest UNESCO policy paper that attempts to put a price on access to quality education ($199/student): "Given we know so little about how to solve the learning crisis, I’m confused how we can say it'll cost an extra $22bn." Jeff Sachs weighs in, calling for $40bn and a Global Fund for Education. 


Kevin and Robin Grier blog about education in India:

  • First, Lant Pritchett and Yamini Aiyar’s new paper comparing the average (median) per pupil annual cost of public school (14,600 rupees) and private school (6,000 rupees). Private schools get better results with less than half the spending.
  • Second, parents in Bihar blatantly help their children cheat on state exams, climbing school walls to pass answers through the window. “These government teachers don’t teach anything in schools. That’s why we have to resort to such things” said one parent. 


Three new papers on eliminating school fees were presented at the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) conference in Oxford: 

  • Free primary education in Benin had few egalitarian effects and no long term impact on girls' learning
  • In happier news, a waiver for secondary school fees in Gambia boosted enrollment and test scores, partially through expanded private schooling. 
  • And a new study pooling data from 67 countries finds free primary education has reduced the schooling gap between rich and poor — but only measured in years of schooling, with no data on learning. 


From a new interview with Rukmini Banerji, Director of India’s influential ASER Centre (Annual Status of Education Report) on the International Education News blog: "In terms of inputs and infrastructure, the Indian government has made huge strides in the provision of schooling. Now it is time to look at some of the outcomes of schooling and more specifically at the question: are our children learning?” 


What a great public good! Education Policy and Data Center (EDPC) is cataloging national assessments. See here and here. UNESCO has started a similar initiative but the catalog is yet to be populated. 


Check out Innovations for Poverty Action's three-part webinar on the impact of T-CAI (Teacher Community Assistant Initiative), a remedial education program in Ghana. 


Clare Leaver, Associate Professor at Oxford and RISE affiliate, will be speaking on April 15 at CGD Europe in London about pay for performance and teacher attendance in Uganda. 


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.