Author: Marlaine E. Lockheed and Adriaan M. Verspoor
Year: 1991
Full Citation: Lockheed, M.E., & Verspoor, A.M. (1991). Improving primary education in developing countries. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from
Target Population(s): , ,
Overview: Primary education is a building block not only for further education but for the future. Economic and social progress depend on a thinking population and a literate, numerate labor force that can acquire, apply, and advance knowledge. Too often, though, especially in the developing world, primary schools fail to help students acquire basic cognitive skills. This book is the first comprehensive review of both the scholarly literature on the subject and donors' experience. The book provides an overview of primary education systems and argues that developing countries must do more to serve the needs of all children.
Findings: Those who have traditionally been underrepresented in primary school - girls and children from poor and rural families - must have greater access to education and more encouragement to enroll. At the same time, the curriculum must be strengthened, teaching made more effective, and other measures taken to ensure that when students complete the primary cycle, they have mastered what is taught. The authors discuss strategies for improving five aspects of primary education systems, including:
  • ways to improve teacher training and motivation;
  • ways to help children learn;
  • ways to perform managerial and other institutional functions better;
  • ways to make access to education more equitable; and
  • ways to finance investment in education by tapping both domestic resources and foreign aid.

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