Comparative Analysis on Universal Primary Education Policy and Practice in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Cases of Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda


Achieving Universal Primary Education (UPE) has received considerable attention since the early 1950s. The concept of universal education is, however, not well defined and is used to mean many different things to different people. This book contains a five-year research work conducted by a group of African and Japanese researchers who have developed an equal partnership and network to review the expansion of primary education, some policies prompting the free primary education intervention, and the challenges of implementation based on the case study of two districts in four countries, namely, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. The first part discusses issues related to administrative, financial, and perceptive issues related to UPE policies in each country case, followed by the second part that focuses on quality of education and UPE policies. The book contains various lessons learnt and implications for future education policies in developing countries.

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Review Quotes
Comparative Analysis on Universal Primary Education Policy and Practice in Sub-Saharan Africa is a timely and insightful treatment of a serious issue buffeted by competing ‘solutions.’ Primary education is widely regarded as one of the highest impact investments in the economic and social development of a country. Yet some countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, continue to have large numbers of children not in school. While the reasons for this vary, a central constraint on student enrollment is often cost. There is a robust debate as to the best way of lower those costs. Is it better to target scholarships, mandate universal free education, or pay parents to send their children to school. This book offers current data, thoughtful analysis, and meaningful options aimed at addressing these issues. It is an important contribution to the field.”— David W. Chapman, Distinguished International Professor and Birkmaier Professor of Educational Leadership, University of Minnesota
Comparative Analysis on Universal Primary Education Policy and Practice in Sub-Saharan Africa carefully examines how seemingly similar policies to universalize primary education (UPE) in Anglophone sub-Saharan Africa, are differently perceived, formulated, implemented and evaluated in each country. Drawing on insights from a group of African and Japanese researchers, who worked in close collaboration for more than five years, this timely collection addresses issues related to the administration, finance and public perception of UPE, as well as quality education and education expansion. Its in-depth case studies and focused interviews with carefully selected district officials, school staff, parents and community members provide informative qualitative evidence. In particular the book highlights how policies promoting the abolition of school fees—a key reform to achieve UPE—responded to different local needs and resulted in different forms of implementation. As the international community moves to adopt a new education agenda post 2015, the essential lessons of this volume should be widely read by policy analysts and researchers alike.”— Aaron Benavot, Director EFA Global Monitoring Report, UNESCO, Professor (on leave), University at Albany-State University of New York
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