School enrolment levels are rising rapidly all over the Global South, but employment prospects for educated young people are not keeping apace. Often learning outcomes fall behind too, and where they do, inadequate teaching methods and poor teacher motivation are often to blame.

DEV research asks how learning outcomes can be improved. For example, teacher absenteeism is endemic in rural Rwanda. Can incentive schemes and monitoring make a difference that involve the local community? DEV research also looks closely at the increasingly prominent category of ‘underemployed educated youth’ in the Global South in ways that see this category not just as a problem. For example, when Ugandan youngsters leave school and become involved in local churches, land committees, politics, courts, and so on, what difference do they make to such local institutions? Are they ‘institutional innovators’, i.e., do institutions function differently because of their involvement? Do they improve and if so, how?

DEV research on education and development works closely with young people and numerous organisations, ranging from local schools and parent-teacher associations to national governments. Methods include ethnographic work and economic experiments.