The effectiveness of foreign aid to education
What can be learned?
This article reviews what has been learned over many decades of foreign aid to education and discusses what works and what does not work.
It shows the positive contribution that aid has made to education in aid-recipient countries, the most tangible outcome of which is the contribution that aid makes to expanding enrolments especially of basic education.
But the article also indicates that there is a considerable gap between what aid does and what it could potentially achieve, especially in relation to its contribution to improvements in educational quality.
It shows the distortions caused by focusing on enrolments and insufficiently on quality. Sustainable education outcomes will not be achieved merely by reproducing yet more successful, but individual projects.
Perversely, development agencies which focus only on demonstrable short-term impact may well be contributing, unwittingly, to an undermining of long-term impact on the education systems and their deepening development, to whose progress they are trying to contribute.