Thursday, November 03, 2011


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor----------------------
Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau


World Bank


Skills, Not Just Diplomas: Managing Education for Results in Eastern Europe and Central Asia [November 2011]

by Lars Sondergaard and Mamta Murthi

with Dina Abu-Ghaida, Christian Bodewig, and Jan Rutkowski

[full-text, 270 pages]



Fabled for uniform access and high quality of education 20 years ago,

the countries in this region have struggled to maintain their reputation.

Three factors have contributed to the slide in quality and relevance.

First, one of the legacies of central planning is that the countries pay

too much attention to the measurement of inputs into learning—such

as the number of schools and the number of teachers—and not enough

to outcomes. Indeed, they have been late in developing systems to

assess how much students are learning and whether learning is leading

to employment. In this sense, their education systems operate in the

dark, which makes policy making extremely difficult. Second, the system

of management, also a vestige of the past, limits the ability of

schools to improve the learning environment for students, as well of

municipalities that may want a different mix of programs to meet local

labor market needs. As with assessment, the countries have been slow

to embrace the governance and accountability reforms that are now

part of the landscape of education systems the world over. These limitations

to autonomy and accountability for outcomes have reduced the

energy and the incentives for improvements from within the system,

contributing to a shortage of skills. Indeed, firm complaints about the

shortage of relevant skills for expansion and growth have risen to a crescendo

in most countries. Finally, the systems increasingly allocate

resources where they are not needed. For example, the sharp decline in

student numbers in the past 20 years has not resulted in a commensurate

decline in the number of classrooms and teachers. As a result,

resources are increasingly tied up in buildings and teachers where they

may be better spent elsewhere. Most of these limitations are found not

just in schools but extend to higher education and to training.


This book makes the case that improving the quality and relevance of

education requires a fundamental change of approach to education in the

countries of the region. To start with, education systems need to “turn the

lights on” and take seriously the measurement of what students actually

learn as opposed to measurement of the inputs into the education process

on the implicit assumption that learning follows. This assessment needs

to inform both teaching and policy making. Policy makers also need to

move away from controlling inputs and processes and instead increase the

emphasis on incentives to improve student learning, whether in school or

in higher education. And, finally, for these reforms to be financially fea-

sible, current spending on education needs to be used much more effectively.

In particular, countries in the region cannot afford to maintain one

of the lowest class sizes in the world while heating and lighting halfempty

buildings when resources are needed elsewhere.




Foreword  xv

Acknowledgments xix

Abbreviations xxi

Overview   1

The Skills Challenge  2

Why Are Skills an Emerging Problem if

Education Systems Are Delivering? 4

Priority Areas for Action 7

Managing Education Systems for Results 9

Build the Foundations of Adult Learning Systems 14

Conclusion 14

Notes 15

Chapter 1 The Demand for Skills in ECA 17

Background: The Demand for Highly Skilled

Labor in the Global Knowledge Economy 18

Demand for Skilled Labor Has Risen in the

ECA Region 20

Unemployment Patterns in ECA Countries

Confirm the Demand for Skilled Labor  25

Wages Have Risen for Skilled Labor 31

Lack of Needed Skills Is Impeding

Enterprise Growth 36

Skills Mismatch in the ECA Region  39

Summary 41

Notes 43

Chapter 2  Education and the Supply of Skills to the

ECA Market 47

Background: The Global Knowledge Economy

Requires Lifelong Learning  48

Formal Education in ECA Countries: High

Attainment and Good Quality Relative

to Current Income Levels 50

Why Are Skills Emerging as a Problem if

Education Systems Are Delivering? 52

Students May Not Be Acquiring the Right Skills 63

Adult Learning Is Limited in the Region 65

Summary  77

Annex 2A: Education Systems in ECA Today 80

Notes 87

Chapter 3  Resolving the Skills Shortage in the

ECA Region: A Policy Framework  89

Operating in the Dark: Ministries Know

Too Little to Effectively Manage the

Education Sector 90

Legacy of Central Planning 96

Inefficient Use of Funds 103

Addressing the Skills Challenge 108

Summary 111

Notes 112

Chapter 4  Managing for Results at the Pre-University

Level of Education 115

Track Student Learning and Employment

Outcomes 116

Expand Autonomy in Exchange for

Accountability for Results 120

SNJD.indb   vi 9/27/11   10:10:04 PMContents       vii

Improve the Efficiency of Resource Use 126

Summary 136

Notes 138

Chapter 5  Managing for Results in the Tertiary

Education Sector 139

Introduce Learning Assessments and Track

Employment Outcomes 140

Strengthen Accountability 152

Introduce Performance-Based Financing and

Encourage Private Funding Resources 159

Summary 162

Notes 163

Chapter 6  Advancing Adult Learning in ECA 165

Building the Foundations for Adult

Learning Systems 166

Promote Autonomy and Accountability

of both Public and Private Providers 172

Ensure the Efficiency of Sector Financing 175

Continued Government Role in Retraining

and Education for the Unemployed 183

Priorities for Adult Education and Training

Systems in ECA Countries 187

Summary  191

Notes 191

Chapter 7  Extended Summary: The Path for Education

Reforms in the ECA Region 193

The Skills Challenge in the ECA Region 194

Why Are Skills an Emerging Problem if

Education Systems Are Delivering? 197

Priority Areas for Action 203

Managing Education Systems for Results 207

Build the Foundations of Adult Learning Systems 219

Summary 220

Notes 222

References 2


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Institute for Workplace Studies 
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