Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Call for Papers on Improving the Quality of Basic Education in Southeast Asia


Improving the Quality of Basic Education in Southeast Asia
Asian Development Bank Institute, Asian Development Bank, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute

Southeast Asia is home to varying degrees of autonomy in education service delivery. Countries in the region also vary greatly in terms of their public investment in education, education policy development, and community involvement in education. Improving the quality of basic education remains an urgent priority across Southeast Asia, prompting a host of education reforms, programs, and non-governmental and non-profit organization-supported interventions.

The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute are seeking original, unpublished applied economics research papers on education system development in Southeast Asia and the pursuit of quality basic education for ensuring student mastery of foundational literacy and numeracy. Selected papers will be featured during a related conference and considered for publication in an edited book or journal special issue.

Submissions should address one of the following three areas: (i) diagnostics of the root causes and proximate determinants of basic education quality in Southeast Asian countries; (ii) COVID-19’s impact on learning levels; or (iii) impact evaluations of measures aimed at improving the quality of basic education. Policy or program analyses of particular interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Use of technology in education
  • Subnational government education or school financing mechanisms, including teacher incentive schemes
  • School leadership and management
  • Teacher professional development
  • Public–private partnerships for delivering education services
  • Policies or practices for stemming learning losses due to COVID-19

Comparative and country-specific analyses are both welcomed.

Women researchers and researchers based in the region’s developing economies more generally are particularly encouraged to participate.

Submission Procedure

Authors should submit an extended abstract no longer than 750 words or full paper no longer than 8,000 words, excluding annexes, in English by 17:00 Tokyo time on 15 July 2021 via this link. Authors of accepted submissions are expected to be notified on 1 August 2021.

Only original, unpublished papers will be considered. Papers will be selected based on their significance and scientific contribution, methodology, and policy relevance.

All draft full papers must be submitted by 1 September 2021.

Authors of selected papers will be invited to present their work during the conference, to take place virtually during the second half of September, and awarded a $1,000 honorarium. Recipient authors must be a citizen of an ADB member economy.

Project Organizers

  • Daniel Suryadarma, Asian Development Bank Institute
  • Sameer Khatiwada, Asian Development Bank
  • Siwage Dharma Negara, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute


All inquiries may be directed to Junko Mitsuhashi.