As Yogi Berra said, “It is hard to make predictions, especially about the future.” It is true some things are hard to predict, even as they are about to happen: few in 1988 predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall; few in 2009 saw the Arab Spring coming; few in the midst of the Cultural Revolution predicted the incredible economic rise of China. But we do know something about the quite distant future. We know exactly the state of basic education of the future generation. Why?
Change is hard. It is hard for individuals. It is extra hard for organizations. Change is especially hard for organizations when they have been successful. Organizations often develop strategies, norms, and practices that are tailored to produce success in a particular activity or context. When those strategies are successful, organizations have an especially difficult time to create and manage change that is not simply “more of the same, better.”
This is true even of large, successful, well-managed private sector organizations facing (organizational) life or death consequences.
How important is it to understand the everyday dynamics of village life in order to bring about systematic reforms in education systems failing to deliver quality education? In one of the first village level ethnographies produced under RISE, Susan Watkins and Adam Ashforth (2019) support the growing consensus: very much so.
This blog was originally posted on the Working with the grain: Integrating governance and growth website and has been cross-posted with the permission of the blog author, Brian Levy (@Brianlevy387).
As usual Ludger Woessmann and Eric Hanushek (this time with Annika Bergbauer) have written an interesting, provocative, and relevant paper—this time on testing.
Lant Pritchett has a knack for making novel arguments and making them seem so obvious that one wonders how no one has made them before. His recent RISE working paper, The Politics of Learning: Directions for Future Research, is no exception. It’s chock-full of key insights for anyone who seeks to explain why developing country governments pursue their educational policies.
In 2016, as a graduate student of Public Policy at the University of Oxford, I remember being thrilled to attend the RISE Annual Conference, and on the suggestion of Dr. Clare Leaver (my economics professor at the time), I presented a poster on the Right to Education in India. It was a fantastic experience to hear from the likes of Prof. Lant Prittchet, Prof. Paul Glewwe, Dr. Deon Filmer, etc.
In 2015, with the help of United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and with additional funds from the Australia Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the RISE Programme was established to understand what features make education systems coherent and effective in their context, and how the complex dynamics within a system allow policies to be successful.