Today is the official launch day for Lant Pritchett’s new book: The Rebirth of Education: Schooling Ain’t Learning.
You can buy the book here,
You can read about it here.
While governments in the developing world have indeed managed to increase school enrollment rates substantially (as they were advised to do by rich country aid agencies and the MDGs), the payoff has been muted at best because of the often low to non-existant level of actual education available in the schools.
Development advice and aid often focuses inappropriately on the inputs at the expense of the outputs (though the RCT nation is changing this), perhaps nowhere more strongly though than in education.
To me it’s another example of “cargo cult” development (Lant is much more polite, well, ok a little more polite, and calls it “isomorphic mimicry”). Build a straw airplane and balsawood control tower and wait for the cargo to fall from the sky.
Of course in education policy it can be even worse as the balsawood control tower is frequently staffed by un-accountable, un-dismissable, personnel.
Lant doesn’t write in development-speak (the isomorphic mimicry phrase not withstanding). You’ll have no trouble figuring out what’s on his mind.
Both Mrs. Angus and I plan to use this book in our teaching and we highly recommend it to anyone interested in education policy and development.
(This post also appears at Kids Prefer Cheese)