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Education Policy Reforms

Education Policy Reforms:
English (208kb PDF)

In "Education Policy Reforms," Erwin Tiongson reviews some of the experiences of the developing countries with large-scale education reforms over the last decade. It draws from country case studies and recent findings to identify some of the poverty and social impacts of education reforms, the principal transmission channels through which stakeholders are affected by or influence the reforms, and the standard tools for analysis in education.

The note provides an overview of reform efforts aimed at rapidly expanding the supply of education, achieving equity in the provision of education, and significantly improving the delivery of services. These reforms — including expenditure restructuring, the elimination of user fees, the introduction of a voucher system, the decentralization of education, and others — may be classified under three broad categories of reform, though there may be significant overlap among these categories: expenditure reform, financing reform, and management or institutional reform.

Through their impact on prices, income, employment, and wages, education policy reforms redistribute resources, access to education, and the quality of the services provided. They also redistribute authority and the relationships of accountability.

The note reviews such effects of reforms on distribution. It presents an analytical scheme for understanding these distributional effects, noting how they vary and how they are spread over time, mentioning specific features of each reform, and documenting the transmission channels through which stakeholder groups are affected. A survey of empirical tools is provided for both qualitative and quantitative poverty and social impact analyses, while singling out valuable empirical studies on each tool. Finally, some risks to the reforms are noted and options for monitoring and evaluation are discussed.

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