This paper is intended to inform the work of the Intellectual Leadership Team of the Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) programme. It draws on data and analysis from the Young Lives project to compare four education systems at various stages of development with respect to the transition from meeting the challenge of providing for ‘mass access’ to that of providing for ‘mass learning’. Success in making this transition, that is, escaping a low-level equilibrium of educational quality in the longer term and once resources are no longer severely constrained by access expansion, is crucial if the benefits of the extension of the right to basic education are to be realised in less developed nations. The paper examines learning outcomes in Peru, Vietnam, Ethiopia and India in the light of indicative frameworks for analysing progress with respect to ‘education quality’ at the systems-level. It intends to contribute to broader aims of RISE in terms of the emerging field of education systems analysis, making use of the insights from Young Lives.
Keywords: Education; Education Reform; Education Systems