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My recent research programmes and projects are organised under five themes.
  • Research Theme 1: Access, Transitions and Equity in Education
  • Research Theme 2: Planning and Finance: Changing Patterns of Access: The Evolution of Education Systems and Development
  • Research Theme 3: Educational Planning and Finance: Planning and Financing Secondary Schooling
  • Research Theme 4: Educational Planning and Finance: Target Setting and Getting and Indicators of Progress
  • Research Theme 5: Teacher Education – The Multisite Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER)

These are described below

Research Theme 1: Access, Transitions and Equity in Education


The Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity (CREATE)   


Over 60 million children of primary school age are not in school. Many more are attending irregularly, seriously over-age, and learning little. Most of these children are in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia, many are those suffering disadvantage (household poverty, gendered discrimination, disability, compromised health, uncertain civil status, and membership of socially excluded groups. Access to basic education lies at the heart of development. Lack of educational access, and securely acquired knowledge and skill, is both a part of the definition of poverty, and a means for its diminution. Sustained access to meaningful learning that has utility is critical to long term improvements in productivity, the reduction of inter-generational cycles of poverty, demographic transition, preventive health care, the empowerment of women, and reductions in inequality.  


CREATE is a programme of research involving over 140 researchers in six leading institutions in Bangladesh, Ghana, India, South Africa and the UK. It is funded by DFID for £2.5 million. The research is Directed by Keith M Lewin of the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex. Its purpose is to increase knowledge and understanding of why less than half of all children complete primary schooling in low income countries and identify what actions of policy and practice would make a difference. The research has generated insights from large scale empirical work at community and school level involving over 18,000 households and over 100 schools, and from analysis of cross national data sets on particpation. These are complemented by smaller scale case studies and qualitative enquiries using a wide range of social science methods. Over 16,000 chioldren have been tracked for four years.  Its research is designed to be directly relevant to policy dialogue directed towards accelerating progress towards universalising access to basic education in line with the Millenium Development Goals and the Dakar commitments to Education fro All.


CREATE has produced an extensive portfolio of research products, supported a series of national and international policy dialogue events, contributed to sector reviews, and shaped bilateral and multilateral strategies to improve educational access. The research has generated a twelve-point development agenda that identifies actions to make the right to education a reality. The research products include 75 Research Monographs, eight Country Reviews, four special issues of refereed journals, 25 policy briefs, and six books. 22 Doctoral students are associated with CREATE.


The main CREATE Partners are: The Institute of Education and Development, BRAC University, Bangladesh, Manzoor Ahmed: the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, India: R Govinda: the Education Policy Unit, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa: Shireen Motala; the Universities of Winneba and Cape Coast, Ghana: Jerome Djangmah and Joseph Ghartey Ampiah; the Institute of Education,

Please click for more details on CREATE which links to the master website. The CREATE Research Programme is outlined in
 Improving Access, Equity and Transitions in Education: Creating a Research Agenda
CREATE has published a synthesis of its findings. This synthesis was launched at the 2011 UKFIET Conference in New College, Oxford; UNICEF HQ in New York in September 2011, and Canberra, Australia in February 2012 at AUSAID.  
The synthesis is available as a free download by clicking  "Making Rights Realities"




CREATE maintains an extensive website with over 150 research publications, including books, research monographs, journal articles and policy briefs. These are organised thematically into twelve clusters. These are:

·         Changing Patterns of Access;

·         Health, Nutrition, Disability;

·         Drop Out and Push Out;

·         Migration,

·         Seasonality and Nomads;

·         Small Schools and Multi-grade;

·         Transitions to Secondary;

·         Educational Quality and School Processes;

·         Equity, Poverty and Exclusion;

·         Private and Non-State Providers;

·         Planning and Governance;

·         Aid and the Political Economy of EFA




Four Key Publications
  1. Lewin K. M., (2011)  "Making Rights Realities" Researching Educational Access, Transitions and Equity. CREATE Synthetic Report. Centre for International Education, University of Sussex.


  1. Lewin, K. M., (2007)  Improving Access, Equity and Transitions in Education: Creating a Research Agenda. CREATE Pathways to Access Research Monograph No. 1. Brighton: University of Sussex


  1. Lewin, K. M., (2009) Access to education in sub-Saharan Africa: patterns, problems and possibilities Comparative Education Special Issue (2009) Access to Education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Vol. 45 (2)


  1. The CREATE Website including searchable data base, downloads, podcasts et all http://www.create-rpc.org  keithlewinsite@google.com provides more detail and downloads. 






Research Theme 2: Planning and Finance: Changing Patterns of Access: The Evolution of Education Systems









This research focuses on analysing changing patterns of access to education within and across countries using large scale cross national data sets and mobilising policy analysis to understand the evolution of participation, why universalising access has proved so elusive, and what lessons can be learned from the last thirty years.


The changing patterns of enrolment over time in Africa and South Asia illustrative of the problems that have hampered attempts to universalise access to basic education defined as eight or nine years of schooling. They show a surprising variation in forms and also indicate that too often progress has been followed by deterioration in participation rates as gains have proved difficult to sustain.


There are many ways of looking at both administrative and household survey data that can help develop insights into what has and has not been achieved in efforts to universalise access to basic education over the last two decades. Enrolments by grade, by gender, by household wealth quintile, by location and by cultural or language group are just some of the possibilities. Each provides evidence of how rights to education have been honoured and how inequities have evolved.


Some of the key findings suggest that though overall participation has increased, the chances of the children from the poorest households enrolling and progressing through school relative to the richest households may not have improved in some countries and may even have deteriorated. Poorer children are more likely to be over-age and unlikely to complete schooling especially if they are girls. Girls are more likely to be out of school than boys in many of the Francophone African countries but not in most of the Anglophone ones. Rural children remain more likely to be over-age. Reductions in the number of children out of school have occurred but this has often been accompanied by an increase in the proportion of children over-age for the grade in which they are enrolled. This was not anticipated and is almost certainly deleterious to efforts to universalize access through to successful completion of the basic education cycle.


Four Recent Publications:


  • Lewin, K. M., (2011) Target Setting and Target Getting in EFA Policy and in EFA Practice, Journal of Education Policy, Special Issue: Access to Basic Education in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia Policies, Politics and Progress, edited by Angela W. Little and Keith M. Lewin Vol 26:4. 571:589








Research Theme 3:. Educational Planning and Finance: Planning and Financing Secondary Schooling









Investment in secondary schooling has been overlooked since the Jomtien World Conference on Education for All in 1990. Development partners have prioritised the universalisation of primary education over investment at other levels. The Millennium Development Goals reinforced this preference in development financing and the Fast Track Initiative also reinforced what can be seen as an unbalanced strategy of educational development. 


There are at least six reasons why investment at secondary level is central to development. First, the output of primary school systems is set to increase by 200% or more over the next 10 years as UPE and completion is approached. This will create large unmet demand for secondary places with consequences for political stability arising from unmet aspirations and for equity. Second, the progress towards the MDGs requires an adequate flow of qualified secondary graduates into primary teaching which will be compromised where secondary output is small. It also depends on sustained demand for primary schooling which will falter if transition rates into secondary fall. Third, HIV and AIDS have decimated the active labour force and undermined prospects for economic growth in some SSA countries. Several studies point to evidence that those with secondary schooling are less at risk than those with lower levels of educational achievement. The human capital that has been lost has to be replenished if prospects for recovery are to bear fruit and this requires more than basic education.


Fourth, poverty reduction will stall unless income distribution improves. Successful completion of secondary schooling is becoming the major mechanism for allocating life chances in much of SSA, acting as a filter for access to better paid livelihoods and occupations. Fifth, competitiveness, especially in high value-added and knowledge-based sectors of the economy, depends on knowledge, skills and competencies associated with abstract reasoning, analysis, language and communication skills, and the application of science and technology. These are most efficiently acquired through secondary schooling. Sixth, curriculum reform at secondary level is essential both because it has been widely neglected and because expanded access will enrol children with different learning needs and capabilities. Increased participation without more relevant, effective and efficient learning and teaching will not be fit for purpose and may create more problems than it solves.


Research on secondary expansion has been undertaken through the World Bank’s Secondary Education in Africa Programme (SEIA) and with the International Institute of Educational Planning in Paris


Four Recent Publications:







Research Theme 4. Educational Planning and Finance: Target Setting and Getting and Indicators of Progress





Educational planning is central to efficient allocation of resources and management systems that make it more rather than less likely that developmental aspirations are met and rights to education delivered. Policy that seeks to achieve desired goals depends on an elaborated web of objectives that can be operationalised, an adequate flow of resources, effective procurement, efficient and timely activities linked to outcomes, and formative evaluation that can provide feedback. Educational planning has passed through several phases over the last four decades both in terms of its underlying priciples, and in terms of the predominant techniques.


This arena of research has been linked to the work of the International Institute of Educational Planning over the last 25 years following on from Education in Austerity: Options for Planners first published in 1987. Since then the techniques of manpower planning have been superseded and rate of return analysis is less common that it was as an analytic tool. Recent planning has become more and more associated with aspirational goals which may or may not be realisable, and with the targets associated with progress towards such goals and often the release of funding linked to progress. This raises many research question that include  the relationships between target setters and target getters, the ownership of targets, the possibility of moral hazard when approaching target levels of performance, the extent of gaming of [performance indicators linked to targets, and the utility of multiple targets that interact in predictable and unpredictable ways. 


As 2015 approaches and the Millennium Development Goals are rewritten it is more important than ever that the new goals are more than a list and recognise that a development strategy needs something  more like a recipe tailored to context and ambition and comparative advantage. Planners and policy advisors need to examine to impact of past targeting, and the behaviour of the systems that they seek to influence, before embarking on another round of aspirational planning that risks increasingly unrealistic goals setting leading to zones of improbable development.   


Four Recent Publications:



  • Lewin, K. M., (2011) Target Setting and Target Getting in EFA Policy and in EFA Practice, Journal of Education Policy, Special Issue: Access to Basic Education in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia Policies, Politics and Progress, edited by Angela W. Little and Keith M. Lewin


  • Lewin, K. M., (2007) Why some Education for All and millennium development goals will not be met: Difficulties with goals and targets. Southern African Review of Education. Vol. 13 (2)






Research Theme 5: Teacher Education – The Multisite Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER)  





The MUSTER Website http://www.sussex.ac.uk/education/cie/projects/completed/muster has over 40 downloads on teacher education.  The Synthesis Report provides an overview of the research.

Teachers and their capabilities lie at the heart of educational development. What they can do and how they do it determine who learns what and whether that learning is enlightening and enabling or lacking in relevance and of little utility. The Multisite Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER) was developed over a decade ago and work intensively in Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, Lesotho, and Trinidad and Tobago. It was focused on the issues that initial surround investment in teacher education and the development of appropriate patterns of education and training.  Its empirical research was framed by exploration of the characteristics of entrants to teacher education programmes, observation, analysis and evaluation of college based ad distance learning programmes, and insights from newly qualified teachers in their first appointments.


The research has produced six books and over 30 research monographs. These innclude a synthetic volume capturing key findings and making a series of policy recommendations. These are relevant to education systems in many poor countries. The MUSTER website contains all the research outputs of the programme.


Multi-Site Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER)  Keith M Lewin and Janet S Stuart, March 2003.
Download this report from the DFID website at: Synthesis Report: Researching Teacher Education
Multi-Site Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER) Kwame Akyeampong, March 2003.
Download this report from the DFID website at: Ghana Teacher Education Research Report
Multi-Site Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER) J. Pulane Lefoka with E. Molapi Sebatane, March 2003.
Download this report from the DFID website at: Lesotho Teacher Education Report
Multi-Site Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER) Demis Kunje with Keith Lewin and Janet Stuart, March 2003.
Download this report from the DFID website at: Teacher Education in Malawi
Multi-Site Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER) June George and Lynda Quamina-Aiyejina, March 2003.
Download this report from the DFID website at: Teacher Education in Trinidad and Tobago


 Other publications include:

  • Lewin K M and Stuart J S (ed) (2002) Researching Teacher Education: The Multi-Site Teacher Education Research Project. Double Issue of the International Journal of Education and Development March 2003 pp411-421

  • Lewin K M, Samuel M, Sayed Y (eds) (2003)Changing Patterns of Teacher Education in South Africa: Policy Practice and Prospects. Heinemann. pp300

  • Kunje D, Lewin K M and Stuart J S (2000) Teacher Education in Malawi: Insights into Practice and Policy DFID Research Series 49 pp 141

  • Lewin K M (2003) Insights into the Policy and Practice of Teacher Education in Low Income Countries: The Multi Site Teacher Education Research Project. Special Issue. British Education Research Journal, Vol 29, No 5 691-707 October 2003;




Research Theme: Other Projects 





Other projects include:


Access to Education in Asia (ADB; IIEP/UNICEF) - A regional analysis of educational development issues for the Emerging Asia study of the ADB;

Implementing Educational Reform in China (UNICEF/IIEP);

Implementing Educational Reform in Developing Countries - Multi Country Case Studies from Africa and Asia focusing on curriculum development;

The Mpumalanga Primary Schools Initiative - Link institute co-ordinator for the first DFID supported basic education project in South Africa; The Development of Assessment for Primary Science and Agriculture - An African regional programme to improve assessment in Anglophone countries (DSE/GTZ);

Costing and Finance of Education in Mauritius - A series of analyses to support the implementation of the Mauritius Master Plan (World Bank/UNDP, Government of Mauritius).


Keith Lewin's Professorial lecture - 'Knowledge Matters for Development' is available on the CIE website.

Inaugural Lecture


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