The RISE Podcast aims to illuminate the human perspective behind education research and practice through a series of interviews with experts in education development.
In the RISE Podcast series, we invite people who are passionate about improving education to discuss the ‘big picture’ ideas and narratives that have inspired their work. Our guests bring with them stories and expertise from a variety of experiences in research, practice, and policy, and it's our hope that their insights will shed new light on many different facets of education systems.
Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) is an international research programme funded by UK Aid, Australian Aid, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to investigate how education systems can overcome this learning crisis and deliver better learning for all children.
The Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford supports the production of the RISE Podcast.
In this episode of the RISE Podcast, Jason Silberstein, a RISE Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government, speaks to Professor Adam Ashforth. The conversation draws on Adam’s ethnographic research to explore what the education system looks like for the average person in Malawi. He shares accounts from the Malawi Journals Project, which shed light on what most families see as the core purpose of education. In doing so, we learn just how absent the state is in many schools and how this space is filled with local relationships of accountability.
An Analysis of the Political Economy of Schooling in Rural Malawi: Interactions among Parents, Teachers, Students, Chiefs and Primary Education Advisors (Working Paper), by Susan Watkins and Adam Ashforth: https://riseprogramme.org/publications/analysis-political-economy-schooling-rural-malawi-interactions-among-parents-teachers (https://riseprogramme.org/publications/analysis-political-economy-schooling-rural-malawi-interactions-among-parents-teachers)
The Malawi Journals Project (Archive): https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/113269 (https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/113269)
Institutionalising Reforms from Below: When the State Fails to Lead (Blog), by Masooda Bano: https://riseprogramme.org/blog/institutionalising-reforms-below-when-state-fails-to-lead (https://riseprogramme.org/blog/institutionalising-reforms-below-when-state-fails-to-lead)
Summary of RISE’s Political Economy Implementation team and work: https://riseprogramme.org/countries/political-economy-implementation (https://riseprogramme.org/countries/political-economy-implementation)
Adam Ashforth is a Professor in Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. Adam has published extensively on state formation and the political implications of spiritual insecurity in everyday life in South Africa. During South Africa's transition to democracy he spent many years living and writing in Soweto. He is currently researching responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in everyday life in rural Malawi and ethnic conflict in Kenya's Rift Valley. His publications include four books: The Politics of Official Discourse in Twentieth-Century South Africa (Oxford, 1990); Madumo, A Man Bewitched (Chicago, 2000); Witchcraft, Violence, and Democracy in South Africa (Chicago, 2005) [winner of the Herskovits Award, 2005]; and The Trials of Mrs. K.: Seeking Justice in a World with Witches (Chicago, 2018).
RISE is funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Programme is implemented through a partnership between Oxford Policy Management and the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. The Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford supports the production of the RISE Podcast.
Ritva Reinikka discusses the role of finance in education, insights from Uganda and South Africa, and the importance of a using system’s approach.
Dr. Shintia Revina discusses insights and issues emerging from RISE Indonesia’s growing body of research about the teaching profession.
The second episode of the RISE Podcast features Dr Rachel Glennerster, Chief Economist at the UK’s FCDO in conversation with Laura Savage (Deputy Head of Education Research at the UK’s FCDO) as they discuss Rachel’s reflections on how good interventions can work in poor performing education systems, why we need to go beyond evidence of what works to think about cost effectiveness, and how to build incentives to tackle systems issues at scale.