Improving Education Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Outcomes-Based Contracting and Early Grade Literacy


  • Monica Mawoyo JET Education Services
  • Zaahedah Vally



education outcomes, early grade literacy, outcomes-based contracting


Fifty-three percent of Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning in low- and middle-income countries despite an investment of between 33-49% of education expenditure on primary education. Teaching children to read in the early grades is fundamental to building resilient education systems, as the ability to read early in life is a great predictor for education success, and will minimise learning loss during education emergencies similar to COVID-19 school closures, for children who can read for meaning can carry on learning outside of school buildings. Further, the predicted financing gaps in the next few years, as a result of COVID-19, will require governments to utilise limited financial resources effectively and efficiently by implementing literacy programmes proven to be impactful, using financial instruments like outcomes-based contracting that can mobilise and coordinate non-traditional educational finance and incentivise service providers to improve results by paying for achievement of agreed outcomes.

Author Biographies

Monica Mawoyo, JET Education Services

Monica Mawoyo is a research associate at JET Education Services. She has a PhD in Education from the University of Cape Town and has been an independent researcher for the last 21 years. Monica’s research interests are initial teacher training, ICTs in education, student access and success, student funding, early grade literacy and numeracy, innovative financing in education and skills development. Email:

Zaahedah Vally

Zaahedah Vally is a researcher at JET Education Services, working across research and implementation projects. She received her Bachelor's degree in International Relations with the University of South Africa (UNISA) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Monitoring and Evaluation). Currently completing her Master's degree in Management (Development and Economics), Zaahedah is passionate about driving socio-economic change in South Africa by improving the quality of education in the country. Email:



How to Cite

Mawoyo, M., & Vally, Z. (2020). Improving Education Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Outcomes-Based Contracting and Early Grade Literacy. Journal of Learning for Development, 7(3), 334–348.



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