Making Schools Work
New evidence on accountability reforms
This book is about the threats to education quality that cannot be explained by lack of resources. It focuses on publicly financed school systems and the phenomenon of service delivery failures: cases where programs and policies that increase the inputs to education fail to produce effective delivery of services where it counts—in schools and classrooms. It documents what we know about the extent and costs of service delivery failures in public education in the developing world. And it further develops aspects of the conceptual model posited in the World Development Report 2004: that a root cause of low-quality and inequitable public services—not only in education—is the weak "accountability" of providers to both their supervisors and their clients (World Bank 2003). The central focus of this book, however, is a new story. It is that developing countries are increasingly adopting innovative strategies to attack these issues. In just the past five years, the global evidence base on education reforms to improve accountability has expanded significantly. This book looks across this growing evidence base to take stock of what we now know and what remains unanswered.
- The initial chapter provides an overview and context for the rest of the book. It reviews the motivation and global context for education reforms aimed at strengthening provider accountability.
- Chapter 2 drills into the global experience with information reforms— policies that use the power of information to strengthen the ability of Motivation and Framework|3 clients of education services (students and their parents) to hold providers accountable for results.
- Chapter 3 analyzes the experience with school-based management reforms— policies that increase schools' autonomy to make key decisions and control resources, often empowering parents to play a larger role.
- Chapter 4 reviews the evidence on two key types of teacher incentive reforms—policies that aim to make teachers more accountable for results, either by making contract tenure dependent on performance, or by offering performance-linked pay.
- The final chapter summarizes what we know about the impact of these types of reforms, draws cautious conclusions about possible complementarities if they are implemented in tandem, and considers issues related to scaling up reform efforts and the political economy of reform. Finally, we suggest directions for future work.