Education Systems Course

An open-access, cross-university curriculum for graduate-level students interested in education policy, planning, and reform to deliver learning for all.

Logo of the education systems course, displays the name "education systems" with blue dots and hashes

This course explores how education systems in low-income countries can better deliver learning for all. It responds to the increasing interest in the study of education systems as an emerging sub-discipline within international development. The course has been developed by faculty at three partner universities on three continents, and features pre-recorded lectures from leading academics and practitioners from around the world. The syllabus and lectures are open-access, and are available to incorporate, in whole or in part, into graduate-level academic and policy-oriented training programs in international development and education.

Education Systems Course Information

Course contents

The course is comprised of nine units that (i) explore how to conceptualise education systems and the tools available to analyse them, and (ii) focus on key parts of the system, the coherence of each part with the wider system, and the challenges and opportunities for aligning each part towards learning. These nine units are: 

  1. Conceptualising education systems
  2. Goals of education systems
  3. Politics of learning
  4. International aid architecture
  5. Bureaucracies
  6. Teachers
  7. Assessment
  8. Curriculum
  9. Education markets

Each unit features pre-recorded lectures from between 1-3 invited speakers chosen for their global expertise in the topic, along with a suggested reading list.

Download the Education Systems Course syllabus

Access the unit resources 


The course was developed by faculty at three schools of education: the Institute of Education at University College London in the UK (led by Caine Rolleston); Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan (led by Faisal Bari and Rabea Malik); and the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana (led by Michael Boakye-Yiadom).These partnering institutions piloted the course concurrently in the spring term of 2022 in a blended format, offering students unique opportunities for cross-university collaboration. RISE has played a facilitating role, helping to develop the public goods for this course. The course will be offered again at these partner institutions in the years to come

Logo of University College London Institute of Education
Logo of Lahore University of Management Sciences
Logo of the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration

Opportunities for collaboration

We encourage the use of the courses’ open-access syllabus and lectures, all of which are available under a CC-BY-4.0 license.  

For ideas around institutional collaboration, please reach out to


Unit resources

Conceptualising education systems

Goals of education systems

Politics of learning

International aid architecture





Education markets