What is the Value of Internationally Comparative Learning Assessment Programmes in Africa?

Education has long been characterized as key to national economic development and political democratization in the contemporary world. The global discourse on post 2015 education goals has increasing focused on the quality of education and learner achievement. This is likely to give added impetus to the rapid growth in the use of International Comparative Learner Assessments (ICLAs) by countries. The main reason for this growing trend is the shared opinion that countries will need to be able to compete in the knowledge economy to assure the economic wellbeing of their citizens. Whilst benchmark indicators of knowledge economy ‘supply’ variables, such as investment in education as a proportion of GDP, have been available for a long time, countries had no way of comparing the effect of their investments and schooling in general upon learners’ knowledge and skills.