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Copenhagen Consensus: Education Assessment, Pritchett

An Assessment Paper on Governance and Corruption was prepared for the 2004 Copenhagen Consensus by Lant Pritchett. The working paper used by the Expert Panel is available for download here, the finalized paper has been published in Global Crises, Global Solutions by Cambridge University Press.

Short Summary

“Lack of education” as a global challenge must be understood, at an individual level, as a failure to master the many distinct competencies necessary to thrive in a modern economy and society. Remedying this is not simply a question of providing more schools, more teaching aids or reducing drop-out rates.

The challenge is to create competencies and learning achievement rather than just educational tools. Because it is easy to measure, data on enrolment (the percentage of school-age children actually starting school) is often used as a proxy for educational progress. However, enrolment levels have little bearing on actual achievement. For example, a large part of the educational deficit results from drop-outs rather than failure to enrol. Likewise, substantial gaps in attainment between students from richer and poorer households occur in all countries.