Access, Quality, and the Global Learning Crisis: Insights from Ugandan Primary Education

ISBN : 9780192896865

Sarah Kabay
192 ページ
153 x 234 mm

Around the world, 250 million children cannot read, write, or perform basic mathematics. They represent almost 40% of all primary school-aged children. This situation has come to be called the "global learning crisis" and it is one of the most critical challenges facing the world today. Work to address this situation depends on how it is understood. Typically, the global learning crisis and efforts to improve primary education are defined in relation to two terms: access and quality. This book is focused on the connection between them. Through a mixed-methods case study, it provides detailed, contextualized analysis of Ugandan primary education. As one of the first countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to enact dramatic and far-reaching primary education policy, Uganda serves as a compelling case study. With both quantitative and qualitative data from over 400 Ugandan schools and communities, the book analyzes grade repetition, private primary schools, and school fees, viewing each issue as an illustration of the connection between access to education and education quality. This analysis finds evidence of a positive association, challenging a key assumption that there is a trade-off or disconnect between efforts to improve access to education and efforts to improve education quality. Embracing the complexity of education systems, and focusing on dynamics where improvements in access and quality can be mutually reinforcing, can be a new approach for improving basic education in different contexts around the world.


1 Introduction: The Global Learning Crisis and the Access vs. Quality Paradigm
2 Defining Access and Quality in International Education
3 Complexity as a Subject and Method in International Education
4 Ugandan Context and Description of Sample and Data
5 Grade Repetition and School Dropout
6 Private Primary Schools
7 Understanding School Fees in Relation to both Access and Quality
8 Conclusion
Technical Appendix


Sarah Kabay is an education researcher focused on early childhood and basic education. She works to design and evaluate educational interventions and to understand the contexts in which they take place, the characteristics of education systems, and the perspectives and experiences of different actors within those systems. She is particularly interested in mixed-methods work, such as the integration of qualitative research and randomized evaluations. Kabay is the Education Program Director at Innovations for Poverty Action. She has a BA in Poverty and Development from Yale University and a PhD in International Education from New York University.