New research programme will deliver evidence to raise global educational outcomes
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March 2015

A new large-scale, multi-country research programme called Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) has launched a transformative agenda to study education systems in developing countries. The programme will build a body of world-class evidence to inform education policy and raise learning outcomes for children in the developing world. It is supported by £27 million in funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

The Center for Global Development (CGD), Oxford Policy Management (OPM), and Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) will collaborate to direct and implement the research over seven years. The programme will fund research teams in up to five countries and is seeking local and international partners to lead on-the-ground study of system reform processes. The RISE programme will both support academic research and facilitate engagement with global education communities of practice as it seeks answers to the question: “How can education systems be reformed to deliver better learning for all?”

This programme is urgently needed. Despite advances in schooling worldwide, there are still significant challenges in education. While we are 90 percent of the way towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal of universal enrolment in primary education, at least one third of children are not learning the basics in reading and mathematics, whether they have been to school or not. That scale of learning failure comes at a cost equivalent to US$129 billion, or 10 percent of global spending by governments on primary education, according to the 2014 UNESCO Global Monitoring Report. It is clear from the evidence that many developing countries face a learning crisis, and efforts to address this crisis must focus on quality of education, as well as access.

The RISE programme is driven by the goal of solid, evidence-based, policy-actionable answers to hard questions about how to reform existing education systems. It will be managed and implemented through a partnership based in Oxford, UK, between leading international development consultancy Oxford Policy Management and the Blavatnik School of Government. The research will be led by Professor Lant Pritchett with a team at the Center for Global Development, a non-profit think tank based in Washington DC.

Rachel Hinton, head of the education research team at DFID, said:

“We know from the evidence that simply investing more resources into unreformed education systems does not drive better learning outcomes. RISE will help provide reliable data to inform policy and decision makers as they seek to reform or develop education systems that improve learning for all children.”

Calum Miller, chief operating officer at BSG and co-director of RISE, said:

"Great education transforms lives and creates new opportunity. So the Blavantik School of Government is delighted to be part of this project. The School’s research is all about helping governments do better by showing them what works. With our world-class partners, we will deliver a research programme that shows how millions of children can learn more in school. That is a huge opportunity.”

Mark Henstridge, chief economist at OPM and co-director of the RISE programme, said:

“RISE embodies a distinctive combination of cutting-edge academic research and policy engagement. We are excited to be forging a new partnership with colleagues at the Blavatnik School of Government to foster and support dialogue around effective, evidence-based policymaking that can bring about real, positive change for millions of children across the world.”

Lant Pritchett, professor at Harvard Kennedy School, senior research fellow at CGD, and research director of the RISE programme, said:

“Improving learning outcomes for children is a pressing challenge globally. There is a massive body of high-quality research on proximate determinants of learning—but less on how and why some countries’ education systems function well, while other countries stay at low levels of performance. The key feature of RISE is to focus on the capabilities of education systems to sustain a dynamic of innovation and improvement.”

RISE is currently in its inception phase, during which focus countries for research will be selected and potential local and international partners identified. A formal call for research proposals will be issued in September 2015. 

Visit the Blavatnik School of Government website for the full press release.

Visit the RISE website for further information.

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New research programme will deliver evidence to raise global educational outcomes

March 2015

A new large-scale, multi-country research programme called Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) has launched a transformative agenda to study education systems in developing countries. The programme will build a body of world-class evidence to inform education policy and raise learning outcomes for children in the developing world. It is supported by £27 million in funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

The Center for Global Development (CGD), Oxford Policy Management (OPM), and Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) will collaborate to direct and implement the research over seven years. The programme will fund research teams in up to five countries and is seeking local and international partners to lead on-the-ground study of system reform processes. The RISE programme will both support academic research and facilitate engagement with global education communities of practice as it seeks answers to the question: “How can education systems be reformed to deliver better learning for all?”

This programme is urgently needed. Despite advances in schooling worldwide, there are still significant challenges in education. While we are 90 percent of the way towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal of universal enrolment in primary education, at least one third of children are not learning the basics in reading and mathematics, whether they have been to school or not. That scale of learning failure comes at a cost equivalent to US$129 billion, or 10 percent of global spending by governments on primary education, according to the 2014 UNESCO Global Monitoring Report. It is clear from the evidence that many developing countries face a learning crisis, and efforts to address this crisis must focus on quality of education, as well as access.

The RISE programme is driven by the goal of solid, evidence-based, policy-actionable answers to hard questions about how to reform existing education systems. It will be managed and implemented through a partnership based in Oxford, UK, between leading international development consultancy Oxford Policy Management and the Blavatnik School of Government. The research will be led by Professor Lant Pritchett with a team at the Center for Global Development, a non-profit think tank based in Washington DC.

Rachel Hinton, head of the education research team at DFID, said:

“We know from the evidence that simply investing more resources into unreformed education systems does not drive better learning outcomes. RISE will help provide reliable data to inform policy and decision makers as they seek to reform or develop education systems that improve learning for all children.”

Calum Miller, chief operating officer at BSG and co-director of RISE, said:

"Great education transforms lives and creates new opportunity. So the Blavantik School of Government is delighted to be part of this project. The School’s research is all about helping governments do better by showing them what works. With our world-class partners, we will deliver a research programme that shows how millions of children can learn more in school. That is a huge opportunity.”

Mark Henstridge, chief economist at OPM and co-director of the RISE programme, said:

“RISE embodies a distinctive combination of cutting-edge academic research and policy engagement. We are excited to be forging a new partnership with colleagues at the Blavatnik School of Government to foster and support dialogue around effective, evidence-based policymaking that can bring about real, positive change for millions of children across the world.”

Lant Pritchett, professor at Harvard Kennedy School, senior research fellow at CGD, and research director of the RISE programme, said:

“Improving learning outcomes for children is a pressing challenge globally. There is a massive body of high-quality research on proximate determinants of learning—but less on how and why some countries’ education systems function well, while other countries stay at low levels of performance. The key feature of RISE is to focus on the capabilities of education systems to sustain a dynamic of innovation and improvement.”

RISE is currently in its inception phase, during which focus countries for research will be selected and potential local and international partners identified. A formal call for research proposals will be issued in September 2015. 

Visit the Blavatnik School of Government website for the full press release.

Visit the RISE website for further information.