Thanks Shanta for this post. I'll contribute to the debate around the following statement:
"But a voucher program still requires a politician to decide that students should receive vouchers "
I think that even if the politicians want to decide in such a way, they should find a solution to the opposition of unions and there is a role of competition here. I propose that governments should launch a special 3-5 years program putting into competition three types of schools:
- 1st case (private school): give vouchers to poor people to access to a private school.
- 2nd case (public school): raise the wages of teachers and putting in place a control system for absenteeism.
- 3rd case (public school): normally managed public school with no special action.
At the end of each year, a selection of students from each school will pass the same exam and corrected by the same teacher. A final detailed evaluation of the results and the costs of each case should be done and published to the public. This evaluation should be the basis for discussion between the government, the unions and representatives from the civil society.
And here, the World Bank could play a role in supporting civil society (TA and Funding) to be able to supervise the efficiency of the reform and in helping the government to fund the program.