The Negative Consequences of Overambitious Curricula in Developing Countries

Pritchet Lant; Beatty Amanda Centre for Global Development2012

This paper argues that many education systems are attempting to push children through curricular material faster than their teachers can teach it and their students can learn it. Students fall behind and eventually stop learning. The authors provide a formal model of this phenomenon and provide empirical evidence on its implications.

Using data from three recent studies in South Asia and Africa, their simulation shows that two countries with exactly the same potential learning could have massively divergent learning outcomes, with the country that goes faster having much lower cumulative learning. 

Curriculum reform/designStudent AssessmentSub-Saharan AfricaSouth AsiaIndiaSouth AfricaCase study

Who we work with: