This report seeks to address critical issues such as these by synthesising the evidence on innovations in more market-driven education systems. The analysis draws on data from over 20 OECD and non-OECD countries, including both developed nations that seek to move beyond established systems of state-run schools, and developing nations where formal and de facto policies promote more free-market approaches to educational expansion. In doing this, the report focuses on the primary and secondary levels, where education is usually compulsory. The more universal nature of educational access at those levels provides a different set of conditions and incentives compared to the post-compulsory tertiary level. And the report pays special attention to the charter school experiment in North America, where reformers explicitly tried to create more competitive conditions in order to encourage the development of innovations in the education sector. Policy approaches such as this that use decentralisation, deregulation, greater levels of autonomy, competition and choice may have singular potential to induce innovations in the education sector, both in how education is organised and the school content that is delivered — critical concerns if the education sector is to be more effective and reach under-served populations.
August 14, 2009