Beyond the basics: balancing education and training systems in developing countries

Beyond the basics: balancing education and training systems in developing countries

Support is needed for post-basic education and training

This paper argues that since 1990, post-primary or post-basic education has received far less support than primary education. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that concomitant support is needed to both post-basic education and training (PBET) and to the development of a supportive labour market environment for economic growth and poverty reduction.

The paper examines the reasons for the pattern of low returns to lower levels of education across sub-Saharan Africa, using evidence primarily from Ghana.

The author argues that to ensure that education at all levels is sustainable and has a chance to deliver expected development outcomes, a multi-pronged strategic approach is required. Three key points are highlighted:

  • improving the quality of basic education is also dependent on having a stronger and more equitable PBET system
  • PBET does not simply refer to formal education and training at the secondary or tertiary levels but encompasses technical and vocational education and training (TVET) that occurs in both formal and, more often, informal settings
  • the government needs to place a much greater emphasis on what happens when children leave school, by creating supportive measures particularly for the informal economy and dealing with the numerous decent work deficits that inhibit education and skills training from translating into poverty-reducing employment.