Amel Karboul in Apolitical: Three questions governments must ask to save a generation of students

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, more than half the children in low- and middle-income countries were in ‘learning poverty,’ unable to read a simple story, or out of school entirely. As education systems around the world feel the strain of reduced budgets and months of lost education, it’s time to rethink how we tackle the global learning crisis.


In a new op-ed for Apolitical, Dr. Amel Karboul, CEO of the Education Outcomes Fund (EOF), makes the case for governments to explore outcomes funding to significantly improve learning outcomes while also delivering against fiscal priorities.


“We need to face the uncomfortable truth that our education systems are failing. There isn’t an educator in the world who wants children to fail, but what we are doing now isn’t working,” Dr. Karboul said. “Outcomes-based funding has the potential to significantly improve learning outcomes by tying funding to measurable results.”


While any large-scale change in education systems is challenging to implement, the impressive results demonstrated by outcomes-based programs around the world show what can be achieved by governments that are willing to innovate.


To help governments as they consider how outcomes funding could enable them to deliver significant improvements in learning, Dr. Karboul outlines three questions to guide their thinking:


1. What results do you want to achieve, and what are they worth?

2. How do you structure an outcomes-based program, and how do you mobilize support inside and outside government?

3. Why pursue a new approach?


As Dr. Karboul observes, “If COVID-19 has had any positive side effect, it has demonstrated that dramatic change is possible in a short space of time.”


If governments and educators are able to use these questions as a framework for bold thinking and reform, education systems worldwide could use this disruption to build on the demonstrated successes of outcomes funding. Delivering change on a global scale won’t be easy, but we owe it to the next generation to try.


Read the full op-ed here.