The sweeping incrementalism of Partnership Schools For Liberia

Cameron, Ewan

Partnership Schools For Liberia (PSL) is a pilot programme in which the management of primary schools was transferred to private contractors. A first-year evaluation found that PSL led to improved educational attainment. The authors argue, however, that this evaluation is invalid because of its inability to compare schools that are privately managed with schools that are managed by the government. Moreover, the evaluation was not scalable, and the Ministry of Education decided to expand PSL (now renamed LEAP) before the evaluation was completed. This paper explores one of LEAP’s private contractors, Bridge International Academies, in order to call attention to pertinent issues of school management and to argue that LEAP was a policy enacted via sweeping incrementalism, in which the first-year evaluation was only implemented to give the appearance of accountability, while the plan to expand was always the final objective.

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