Baraket now studies in a government class after graduating from a Speed School. His mother, Sheto, participated in a collective savings group with other Speed School mothers. She has recently been able to set up a coffee shop and can now afford to send all her children to school.
Nations everywhere are dissatisfied with their education systems. In both developed and developing countries, parents and politicians feel schools should be delivering more, and know that children deserve better.
Despite the shared desire for more innovative approaches, educations systems have a particularly hard time innovating. They are, out of necessity, centrally planned. While this is essential for delivering universal access and minimum standards of quality, it also impedes the ability of the system to improve.
The lever of change in national education systems is policy setting. New policies are agreed and set at national level, and then questions of implementation are left to the regions and districts. The learning on how to actually deliver the policy winds up occurring only at the school level, and in a disaggregated fashion, resulting in pockets of best practice which are never generalized.
In the best systems, there is large scale program evaluation on the back end of implementation, which results in some degree of system-level learning, over the long-term. In most systems, not even this limited feedback loop exists. National policies are reset based on trends in the global education space, rather than real information about what works in context.
The Luminos Fund was created to enable us to think differently about driving innovation for students around the globe at the margins of education access and quality. In the language of William Easterly, we are searchers rather than planners.