The role of intrinsic motivation in education system reform

Author(s): Aslam, Monazza; Rawal, Shenila

Organisation(s): STiR Education; Oxford Partnership for Education Research Analysis

Date: 2019

Pages: 51 p.


Motivation is a critical dimension of education systems across the world. Extensive research and policy efforts have attempted to identify some of the key drivers, particularly given that motivation levels are low and can be costly, especially for financially constrained governments. This report presents findings from a literature review and from primary data, on the role that intrinsic motivation of teachers and officials plays in education system reform. The study examines the following research questions: 1) How have some of the most promising education reforms benefited from an intrinsically motivated base of local officials and teachers (by them engaging deeply in these reforms with real commitment leading to these reforms being successful and sustainable)? 2) How can low levels of intrinsic motivation (of teachers and local officials) impede otherwise promising system reforms and system strengthening efforts (even when these reforms or efforts are well-designed, well-funded and have central government buy in)? This research found that actors within the education system are the ones who bring about organisational and institutional change resulting in ongoing and long-term improvements. The behaviours, motivations and actions of these individuals determine system change, and by providing them with autonomy, mastery and purpose and deeper engagement with reform effort, longer term impact and amplification effects can be achieved.

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