Strengthening of education systems

by Gabriele Göttelmann-Duret and Klaus Bahr

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Sustainable educational development cannot be achieved by concentrating efforts on a single goal; it requires a systems approach. Certain development partners, in particular the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the World Bank, have recently placed high on their current agendas the strengthening of education in a holistic manner.

Based on a review of relevant data, research results, and IIEP-UNESCO field experience, this paper, which applies the perspective of system analysis, discusses recent strategies of major development agencies and governments in the area of education. It concludes that major education development goals – access/ enrolment, quality, equity – have been pursued neither in an integrated manner (taking into account that they are interlinked and cut across different levels and sub-sectors), nor in close interaction with the environment of the education system.

The paper recommends in particular the strengthening of certain regulatory mechanisms such as education sector planning, comprehensive quality management, social consultations, and policy research, which appear to play a highly relevant role in establishing interlinkages between quantitative, qualitative, and equity-related goals of education, and in maintaining eff ective exchanges between the education system and the surrounding society.

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