Summary of keynote lecture by Lant Pritchett

United Nations regional organizations 75th anniversary was held at headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile. The programme was about “When does education drive growth and when does it not? Education policies for transformative growth” and the keynote lecture delivered by Mr. Lant Pritchett who is currently a visiting professor at the School of Public Policy of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and is the co-founder and research director of Labor Mobility Partnerships (LaMP). His keynote lecture focused on the need of consistently assessing learning progress and ensuring that educational systems are aligned with learning goals. He emphasized the importance of supporting the teaching process and adapting policies to the local context in order to achieve effective educational reform. He also stated the possible benefits of parental involvement in resolving learning impairments and encouraging student achievement.

ECLACl’s present mission is to promote sustainable development policies in Latin American and Caribbean societies that enable equitable growth, stability, productivity diversification, and the eradication of poverty via equality. In the speech there was brief about what was 75 years ago education system. In 1948 education was just a national development. But between 1950 to 2015 schooling has expanded globally and achieved transformational achievement. Many countries had less education and schooling system. As a result, they did not able to grow their skills. Schooling is important to adapt with sustainable growth. Between 1950 and 2015 LAC (Latin America) in schooling system was less than advanced countries and also with not less than east Asian countries but LAC schooling system was better than developing countries. In 2015, countries with similar income levels have much higher rates of education than in 1960. Moreover, nations with similar levels of education had substantially lower GDP per person. Many nations (like Mexico vs. Thailand) saw significant increases in education without corresponding increases in GDPPC (GDP Per Capita).This was good news for poor countries because after of many stagnation they were able to expand schooling.But the bad news is their GDP is not now matched with their schooling system.

While the rate of education growth in LAC was quicker than in high-growth nations, the rate of growth in output per worker was less than half as fast. Here schooling means children skill would be matched with economy. This will welfare for universal people, and this is called education right. There has connection between schooling and cognitive skill. As good as schooling system will be skills will be higher. In Latin America and Caribbean region 61% students in secondary education not reaching basic skills. 21% youth not enrolled in secondary education. 65% youth not reaching basic skills. In measured learning, the relationship between years of education and GDPPC level is interactive. LAC’s GDPPC would be P$,4,000 more if their skill level were 21 points higher than what was forecasted.

Basic education(Schooling plus reading, linear combination) is more adaptable than alone schooling. In 1960 people wouldn’t go school that much. After go with a long way we now focused on a quantity of school rather than quality. There main problem is what graduates are learning they are not able to perform. To set the educational systems of all nations on the path to universally recognised fundamental learning and subsequent educational objectives, five actions are required.

  1. Commit to universal, early foundational learning.
  2. Measure learning regularly, reliably and relevantly.
  3. Align systems around learning commitment.
  4. Support teaching.
  5. Adapt what you adopt as you implement.

If someone say education system will improve if we add technology etc. This is not true. It will take long time to change. Education reform fail because of some reasons like Conflicting directions, leadership discontinuity, and organ rejection of reform.

Here’s a breakdown of the actions:

Commit: Mr. Pritchett underlined the vital necessity of making a commitment to early foundational learning that is universal and that each adjective in this commitment has meaning. He emphasized the need of treating learning disabilities as soon as possible, emphasizing that inadequate basic learning profiles as children will continue to exist and impede future academic achievement. In order to enable children to apply their knowledge effectively in a variety of circumstances, he emphasized the significance of ensuring that they acquire fundamental abilities at a young age—not just in a surface-level manner, but also in procedural and conceptual mastery. Additionally, he criticized the limited perspective that is frequently present in educational systems, because falling behind is considered as a sign of incapacity rather than a systemic failing. Rather, he argued in favor of a dedication to guaranteeing that each child can grasp basic ideas not only at a basic level but also at a profound conceptual comprehension, therefore creating a strong basis for subsequent education.

Measure: Mr. Pritchett emphasized the necessity of measuring learning in a consistent, reliable, and relevant manner. He underlined the importance of moving away from excessive testing and high-stakes evaluations, in favor of regular measurement of learning progress. These measurements should be understandable to instructors and stakeholders, reflecting the crucial elements of education being taught.

Align: He remarked on the importance of aligning educational systems with learning objectives rather than procedural compliance. He criticized the usual scenario in bureaucratic systems in which stated aims are disconnected from real practices and rewards. Instead, systems should be linked to promote learning outcomes, ensuring that declared aims are consistent with actual practices.

Support: Mr. Pritchett made a clear distinction between supporting teachers and supporting teaching. While many systems focus on assisting individuals in teaching positions, genuine support should enable teachers to provide good learning opportunities for students. He emphasized the misperception that routine assistance for instructors always results in greater teaching outcomes, recommending a move toward supporting the teaching process itself.

Adapt: Finally, he emphasized the significance of tailoring educational policies and practices to specific local contexts. Referring to examples such as Finland’s educational achievement, he advised against completely replicating successful practices from other regions without taking into account the need for adaptation. He provided examples where failure to adapt resulted in no influence on learning results, underlining the importance of local solutions customized to individual educational contexts.

In conclusion, Mr. Pritchett underlined that effective education reform require constant evaluation of learning, system alignment with learning goals, support for teaching rather than merely teachers, and policy adaptation to local contexts.

After describing ways for reforming education systems, Mr. Pritchett addressed many issues and provided solutions during the discussion.

Strategies for Enhancing Educational Institution Quality: When asked about measures for improving educational institution quality based on international experience, Mr. Pritchett provided insights on progress in the five main areas highlighted in the presentation. He recognized the scarcity of effective educational reform cases, citing a McKinsey research. He drew on the RISE study’s analysis of Vietnam’s educational performance to emphasize the difficulties of identifying situations where low-performing systems converted into high-performing ones. He observed an unusual link between Vietnam’s performance and characteristics such as spending or training teachers, attributing it to a societal desire for success. Mr. Pritchett then explored “successful failure” strategies, cautioning against superficial replication of successful systems as well as the dangers of premature load-bearing. He underscored the value of realistic ambition in education reform, pushing for a curriculum that prioritizes depth over breadth. Aligning commitments and measurements around achievable, realistic goals, he concluded with an analogy to medical care, warning of the consequences of inadequate implementation of education reform efforts.

Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA): Mr. Pritchett discussed the concept of Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA), emphasizing its successful implementations and underlying concepts. He highlighted the iterative character of PDIA, which stems from comparison assessments of successful and unsuccessful examples. Mr. Pritchett emphasized the difficulties involved in moving from organizational to systemic implementation of PDIA, highlighting the need of local-level progress in driving broader systemic change. He highlighted this concept with a striking example from Indonesian local government, demonstrating how new community discussion procedures implemented in a World Bank initiative permeated broader governance systems, resulting in legislative reforms. Mr. Pritchett also emphasized the concept of “account-driven accountability,” which contrasts with traditional “accounting-based accountability.” He explained how effective organizations are driven by narratives and purpose, challenging traditional approaches based on rigorous measurements.

Mr. Pritchett’s comprehensive observations addressed the varied nature of institutional reform as well as PDIA’s iterative learning process. His examples demonstrated the difficulty of creating systemic change, emphasizing the importance of localized triumphs and narrative-driven responsibility in implementing revolutionary reforms.

Parental Involvement in Education: Mr. Pritchett provided a comprehensive analysis of parental involvement in schools, recognizing its complexities and diverse impact on educational institutions. He began by criticizing prior attempts to increase parental engagement, emphasizing the difficulties associated with organizations such as parent-teacher councils. Mr. Pritchett contended that such projects frequently fail because of unrealistic expectations placed on parents, who may lack the finances and time necessary for effective participation. This analysis demonstrated a thorough awareness of the practical restrictions that accompany parental involvement in educational governance.

However, Mr. Pritchett recognized the potential benefits of parental involvement, particularly in treating learning challenges and promoting student growth. He provided examples of effective parental engagement efforts that enhanced student results by giving easily accessible information and promoting active participation in their children’s education. Mr. Pritchett emphasized the necessity of incorporating parental involvement into broader educational practices, highlighting its potential to reduce learning obstacles and improve learning outcomes, particularly among marginalized groups.

Challenges and Solutions in Education and Vocational Training: Mr. Pritchett delved into the complex relationship between education, vocational training, and labor market outcomes, showing a fundamental flaw in education systems. He noted how, after completing secondary education, students frequently lack the fundamental abilities required for vocational training. Mr. Pritchett highlighted the importance of addressing these foundational learning gaps before entering into specialized training programs, using a vivid example from India in which tertiary students struggled with basic measurement concepts.

He also acknowledged the need of vocational training in reducing youth unemployment, but warned against viewing it as a remedy for educational deficits. He contended that just increasing vocational programs without addressing underlying learning impairments would produce limited outcomes. Furthermore, he questioned the idea that greater vocational training opportunities alone could improve labor market problems, emphasizing the importance of improving secondary educational facilities to provide students with the necessary abilities. Finally, Mr. Pritchett pushed for a comprehensive approach to education reform, emphasizing the development of vital life skills over academic achievement. He urged policymakers to focus on enhancing educational institutions to better prepare students for adulthood.

In conclusion, Mr. Lant Pritchett’s views provide a comprehensive framework for comprehending the complexity of change in education and the multiple dynamics that exist inside educational institutions. His emphasis on commitment, measurement, alignment, support, and adaptation highlights the importance of prioritizing learning outcomes and creating an atmosphere favorable to educational success. In essence, Mr. Pritchett’s contributions help us comprehend the complexities of educational reform, highlighting the significance of systemic alignment, grassroots initiatives, and a never-ending quest of quality education for all. As we negotiate the complicated world of educational policy and practice, his insights serve as guiding principles for creating more equitable, successful, and inclusive educational institutions for future generations.


Summarized By:
Sharmine Akter Mito
Associate, Education and Skills Policy Team

Maysha Samiha Eshika
Associate, GA Management Team

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