Seven case studies provide information on educational standards in Afghanistan, Honduras, Kosovo, Mozambique, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Yemen. Information was provided by staff of education programmes supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)1 GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in these countries. They have produced a wealth of lessons and experience. Most lessons refer to the development of standards, their application and acceptance.
The case studies and the literature suggest that the introduction of standards has potential to help (i) focus attention on quality, (ii) enforce minimal standards, and (iii) improve the equity of distribution of resources. Reforms involving standards seem likely to work best when the reform is relatively simple, and there is a shared vision of the aims where the targets set are realistic and achievable, where the appropriate training and capacity development is provided and where the benefits of the reform are clear to parents and teachers.