June 12, 2023
Transforming education systems is a complex process that requires understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the educational ecosystem and exploring new approaches, ideas, and initiatives to improve quality learning opportunities for children and youth. However, research shows it is not enough to simply identify effective education initiatives and expand them to more people. It takes a combination of technical expertise, understanding of local contexts, political strategy, collaborative partnership, flexible adaptation, and shared vision to scale and sustain the impact of education initiatives. Scaling cannot occur through one actor alone; it requires concerted and collaborative action by multiple actors at all levels of the education system.Too often, the work of scaling is not captured by typical monitoring and evaluation or research studies and lessons learned are not systematically documented. In response, in 2018 the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings launched a series of Real-time Scaling Labs (RTSLs) to generate more evidence and provide practical recommendations on how to expand, deepen, and sustain the impact of education initiatives leading to transformative change in education systems, especially for the most disadvantaged children and youth.The purpose of this report is to look across all six of the RTSL cases to analyze common themes, insights, and lessons learned about the process of scaling as well as interesting divergences, and to offer considerations for others looking to learn from or build on this work. This report is intended for governments, education implementers, donors, and researchers who are interested in collaborative approaches to scaling impact in education.