Bridging the Governance-Sectors Divide—Reflections on Lant Pritchett’s New Essay

Development practice has long been characterized by dialogues of the deaf. The divide between governance and sector specialists is one example. How this divide could be bridged is the focus of a new review essay by Lant Pritchett, currently the research director of the ambitious and influential Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) program.

What Makes a Politician Tackle Education?

Josef Ritzen, the Netherlands’ education minister for eight years before he joined the World Bank, once told me: “The view of a prime minister is that an education minister only brings problems. There’s nothing he or she can do to improve quality that has a political upside. So, most ministers try to do nothing.” Ritzen’s recent successors have learned this lesson the hard way with public outcry over heightened math admission requirements for teacher training colleges that have led to a teacher shortage and larger classes.

Four Key Insights About the Political Economy of Learning

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.