School Work

Transforming a National Education System

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  Transforming a national education system Client goal Loravia is a fictional country located in Eastern Europe with a population of 20 million. The government of Loravia wants to achieve major improvements in both the quantity and quality of education for its children. Because McKinsey has great deal of global knowledge and expertise in the education sector, the Loravian Department of Education has asked McKinsey to provide advice on how they can achieve this transformation in its school system. Description of situation Loravia’s free -market economy is still developing, having emerged from many decades under communism. Recently, the government of Loravia put in place a new economic plan, with aspirations to transform its economy and “turbocharge” its development so that it is well positioned to compete with its European neighbors. The government of Loravia realizes that the education of its children is a critical factor in meeting its economic development goals. It intends to transform its school system over the next 10 years so that it is able to support its economic aspirations. Schooling in Loravia is completely public, and is provided by a network of government run schools which admit children from ages 5 through 18. The first stage of this effort is to diagnose the current state of education in schools in Loravia to determine how best to meet the government’s future aspirations.  McKinsey study McKinsey has been asked to support the Loravian Department of Education in diagnosing the condition of its current school system, and in identifying the most important areas for improvement. Helpful hints    Write down important information.    Feel free to ask interviewer for explanation of any point that is not clear to you.    Start case study   Practice case questions QUESTION 1 What are the issues you would want to investigate in diagnosing the condition of the current school system in Loravia? Helpful hints    Take time to organize your thoughts before answering. This will help show your interviewer that you have a logical approach and can think in an organized way.    Develop an overall approach before diving into details. Reveal answer A good   answer might consider both the quantity and the quality of available education and how these influence key education outcomes, such as performance in key assessments. Such an answer might also suggest comparisons with other countries (such as regional neighbors, or comparable countries in size or economic output). Issues related to quantity  might include:    Access to education and how this differs by age, region and demographic groups    Supply of teachers and education resources both at a national level and a regional or local level    Spend on education nationally and regionally/locally Issues related to quality  might include:    Quality of the current curriculum, for example the subjects taught in schools and the attainment/knowledge objectives    Quality of teaching, for example the qualification level of teachers, results of teacher assessments A very good   answer might acknowledge a need to consider Loravia's broader economic objectives in the diagnostic or the current overall structure of its school system, for example:    What industries and sectors will be a priority for Loravia in the future and what skills will be needed?    How well does the current education system develop these skills?    Should alternative models to a public education system be considered, for example independent or private schools?  QUESTION 2 The chart below shows some important education-related measures for Loravia, and also for some comparison countries. Three sets of comparison countries have been used. In the first set are some of Loravia’s neigh boring countries in Eastern Europe. In the second set are some of the most developed economies in Europe. Finally, in the third set are some countries that have similar sized economies to Loravia on a per person basis (similar GDP per capita). What can you observe from this chart? Helpful hints    Take some time to look at the information and note any observations you have.    Challenge yourself to identify trends that are not immediately obvious within the data.    If you need to, ask your interviewer some clarifying questions. For example, your interviewer can tell you that a higher score indicates a higher level of average student achievement in the international assessment. Reveal answer A good   answer might include the following observations:    Loravia spends a higher amount on education compared to the majority of its neighbors and its economic peers.     Loravia also has a lower student/teacher ratio compared to the majority of its neigbors and economic peers.    Despite both of the above, Loravia has one of the lowest international assessment scores.    Broadly, there seems to be no direct relationship between student to teacher ratio and education outcome as measured by the international assessment.    Developed countries clearly spend more per student on education and have better outcomes as measured by the international assessment. However, among Loravia’s peers and neighbors there is no clear relationship between spending and education outcomes. A very good   answer might suggest some reasons for the trends observed, draw some conclusions and/or refer back to the initial aims of the work:    The variation in the number of students per school is likely to reflect the geographical distribution of the populations of the countries.    While student/teacher ratios and per student funding are levers that could be considered important in improving education quality, the data here indicates that these may not in themselves provide the sought for improvement. Issues such as teacher quality and curriculum content should be investigated.    The international assessment may not be the best measure of the skills that will be needed in the future Loravian economy. Further research on the international assessment would be needed to determine how seriously its results should be taken. For example, if language abilities or technology skills are important for the Loravian economy, what are the best assessments/measures of these? QUESTION 3 One of the clients at the Loravian Department of Education mentions the example of neighbor country C, which outperforms all of Loravia's economic peers and neighbors in the international assessment. She believes that the more concentrated school structure in this country is a big reason for its better outcomes in the international assessment. She suggests that having larger, less fragmented schools allows for more effective selection and training of teachers, leading to improved education outcomes for the students. What would be the reduction in the total number of schools in Loravia if it were to reach the same average school size as Neighbor C? Your interviewer can provide you with the following information if requested:    15% of Loravia's population are currently attending school. Helpful hints
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