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Basics and beyond Exploring drivers of national progress in post-primary education Mongolia and Kenya and education quality in Chile and Indonesia Susan Nicolai. @ dev_progress. Development Progress: the story so far.

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Basics and beyond

Exploring drivers of national progress in post-primary education Mongolia and Kenya and education quality in Chile and Indonesia

Susan Nicolai



Development Progress: the story so far

Providing evidence for what’s worked and why over the past two decades

  • Health
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Political voice
  • Social cohesion
  • Material wellbeing
  • Employment
  • Security



Development Progress: the story so far



Development progress education

Improving education qualityChile


Phase I Expanding basic educationBenin



Phase II Expanding post-primary educationMongolia



UN photo/Nayan Tara


What has been achieved?



School life expectancy and completion

Mongolia’s average school life expectancy almost

doubled from 7.7 years in 1994 to 14.3 years in 2010.

In Kenya, school life expectancy rose from 8.4 years

in 2000 to 11 years in 2009 and the secondary gross

enrolment ratio (GER) grew substantially, from 40%

in the early 2000s to 60% in 2009.

For the last 20 years, Chile maintained almost

universal primary enrolment alongside other gains.

For example, primary completion rates rose from

83% in 1990 to 95% in 2011.

In Indonesia, completion rates for lower secondary education rose from 63% to 76% over 2002-2012, with strong gender equity and gains across urban/rural, regional and socio-economic groups.




Quality improvements

Chile became one of only three OECD member countries to improve pupil reading assessments by more than 20 points between 2000 and 2009, and improvements in science tests were also above the OECD average between 2006 and 2009.

Indonesia was one of only eight countries whose Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) reading results improved significantly over 2000-2009 (8.4%), while also narrowing the gap between the highest and lowest performing students.

Almost three in five Mongolian youths now enrol in university, reflecting a six-fold increase in students between 1993 and 2010.




Education financing

In Mongolia, a law established that education should receive 20% of the total budget expenditure in 1995, a target met in 2001/02. Since then the target has remained above 15%, stabilising at a level higher than achieved in the previous decade

Public spending on education in Kenya rose by 31% in real terms between 2003/04 and 2008/09 and, with education budgets ringfenced in the aftermath of the 2008/09 global financial crisis.

In just over a decade Chile’s education

budget increased threefold from $907

million in 1990 to $3.07 billion by 2002.

In Indonesia, commitment to devote 20%

of the national budget to education has

seen funding almost triple in real terms

since 2001, with spending of IDR 310.8

trillion (US $35.3bn) in 2012.




What has driven progress?




Strong demand and high value placed on post-primary education

Expanded provision through investment by the Government of Mongolia in education

Policy reform and reaching the unreached

External support through development partners




Calls for increasingly higher levels of education

Government policy as a game-changer

Financial resources accompanying political commitment

Growth in community and private sector providers




Emphasis on consensus in politics and policy

Multiple efforts at quality reforms

Teacher professionalisation and conditions

Investment and targeting of financial resources



Strengthening the teaching force

Curriculum and pedagogy reforms

Supporting decentralisation and school-based management

Increased budget and targeted support to address inequities



Political dynamics and education



Unbalanced progress on education

  • A ‘perfect storm’ of global goals and domestic incentives have favoured a focus on access over quality
  • Politicians prioritise visible outputs offering higher political returns
  • It is hard for parents & communities to monitor quality
  • Often easier for parents & students to opt out than push for reform



On-going challenges


emerging issues
Emerging issues

Importance of a greater attention to political dynamics

Focus on equity, which too often becomes entrenched in systems

Linking inputs, including finance, to improvements in learning outcomes


Flickr photo/World Bank Photo Collection