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Behrman, Jere R.
Deolalikar, Anil B.
Soon, Lee-Ying
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ERD Working Paper Series 22
"While decentralization of education in DMCs has largely been driven by fiscal constraints, it has also been motivated by concerns about the effectiveness of a centralized system in delivering education services. The statistics are revealing: while virtually all DMCs have made impressive gains in expanding the coverage of primary schooling, enrollment rates remain generally low at secondary and tertiary levels, particularly for children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. The quality of education is also a cause for concern, judging by dropout and grade repetition rates, and international comparisons of achievement test scores. Another cause for concern is whether the curricula used are appropriate, especially for higher education. To varying degrees, DMCs have adopted some elements of decentralization in their education systems. These include devolution of authority and responsibility for schools from central to local levels, increased local financing of schools, decentralization of school functions, and reforms to the incentive structure of schools and their teachers. However, it is not often clear that the measures adopted have led to improvements in education. There is not much evidence that decentralization has been successful in improving education in DMCs, perhaps in part because decentralization measures in most countries so far have been incomplete. There is still no clear understanding of the economic and institutional conditions under which decentralization leads to more effective education"
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