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BRIEF November 9, 2018

Education Management


Providing quality education requires building systems that deliver a complex service, day after day, in thousands of locations, over the course of many hours, to millions of students. When schools and education ministries are managed well, learning happens.



Successful education reforms require good policy design, strong political commitment, and effective implementation capacity. This is extremely challenging. Weak management capacity at all levels of education ministries and in schools hinders the successful rollout of complex reforms and delivery of quality education services needed to improve learning. Many countries cannot efficiently utilize existing resources to improve the quality of services because they may not have the financial management, procurement, and administrative capacity to do this right. As a result, higher education spending does not always translate into more learning and improved human capital. Overcoming such challenges involves working at all levels of the system— central, regional, and local school levels.


At the central level, ministries of education need to attract and develop the multidisciplinary, technical, and managerial expertise to design and implement interventions based on evidence. District or regional offices need the capacity and the tools to monitor and support schools. At the school level, principals need managerial expertise to run schools, from planning the use of resources to managing their teaching workforce. The World Bank is working with governments and partners to build capacity to organize and manage education systems. This includes the use of professional development for school management officials, broader sharing of managerial and institutional best practices, creation of international peer action networks, and the development of new or improved survey tools to better assess process performance of the whole system.


1.       Improving the capacity of ministries of education to design appropriate policies and implement them successfully We are working to build an international peer action network of education ministries, through which they can share knowledge, develop collaborative solutions to common problems, and undergo training. We also provide tailored technical support in critical areas such as program development, planning, monitoring and evaluation, and impact assessments to help education ministries succeed in achieving their objectives.

2.       Strengthening education information and monitoring systems that spur systems improvement Improving performance requires a systemic approach because acting in one area generates ripple effects. Education systems need to innovate to increase access to quality education. The World Bank supports the development of Education Monitoring and Information Systems, comprising student assessments and other administrative data, to help identify what needs to be improved and to develop feedback loops that spur targeted action and the spread of successful innovations.

3.       Strengthening the institutional structure and organization of education systems This involves the critical task of defining appropriate roles and responsibilities at the ministerial and local levels of authority. Accountability procedures and performance incentives are needed to ensure the coherence of the system and guarantee that schools are supported and accountable for learning outcomes. Organizational structures and mechanisms are needed to efficiently manage the delivery of services and to regulate services delivered by the private sector.

4.       Strengthening school management and nurturing successful school principals Principals provide the instructional and administrative leadership that schools need to be centers of learning. Strengthening principals starts with defining their role and reducing administrative tasks to free up time for them to focus on providing pedagogical support to teachers. The World Bank is working with education ministries to develop a career path for principals, through transparent and merit-based selection, deployment, and evaluation of their performance. In addition, we are helping countries to identify teachers who have the traits and motivation to become principals and to provide training to help them develop managerial and leadership skills.

The World Bank invests in developing global public goods that can be used by countries to diagnose the functioning of the education system and support implementation of actions to improve it.