Summer School: Impact assessment of education policies, an international perspective, 8-19 July 2013

What is the future of education? How do skills shape innovation? How best to weigh the impact of education policies? This new course, jointly offered by SBE and UNU-MERIT/School of Governance, answers all of the above and more, giving participants the tools and training to run impact assessments in various national contexts.

Running from 8-19 July 2013, the course looks at primary and tertiary education from micro- and macro-economic perspectives, also covering advanced econometric methods and the educational impact of ICT. By the end of the course, participants will have a thorough grounding in the theory, method and practice of assessing the impact of educational policies.

Tuition Fee: 700 Euros
Application: Please apply here 


Course description

Maastricht University and United Nations University, School of Business and Economics, UNU-MERIT / School of Governance are offering a joint Summer School on “Impact assessment of education policies, an international perspective” on 8-19 July 2013 in Maastricht.

The objective of the course is to provide participants with a thorough background in the theory, method and practice of impact assessment for policies and programmes in the field of education.

This course is organized to provide participants with the skills to conduct impact assessments in diverse national contexts. The course concentrates on different stages of education, from basic (primary) to advanced (tertiary) and covers both the micro-economic perspective as well as the macro-economic perspective.

An interesting characteristic of the course is that it also includes the latest topics such as the impact of new ICT technologies and tools as well as advanced econometric methods on educational outcomes.

The course has two tracks:

  1. The first track focuses on theories, methods and impact assessment of tertiary education combining methods using macro-economic and qualitative data. The first track is primarily addressed to students with an interest or experience in education policy and to those students who are interested in learning how to apply impact assessment tools to a specific policy area. The minimum entry requirements for this track are: last year of BA degree with a background in quantitative skills.
  2. The second track focuses on the impact, theories and methods of impact assessment of education in primary education and the challenges in attaining the Millennium Development Goals using micro-economic data. This track concentrates on treatment evaluation techniques. The second track is therefore primarily addressed to practitioners as well as students who want to gain an understanding of treatment evaluation.

The two tracks have common lectures during the first week and follow separate applied modules in the second week.

Number of participants per track: Minimum: 20 students / Maximum: 40

The first week (8-12 July) will explore five themes by focusing on lectures introducing the existing theories in the morning, supplemented by afternoon practical sessions.

The afternoon practical sessions are designed to provide participants with practical skills by focusing on the use of statistical software, and the introduction of research methods of impact assessment.

The course lectures will concentrate on five main questions during the first week:

  1. What is the value of education from an economic perspective (economic theory introduction)?
  2. What is the impact of education and skills on innovation (macroeconomic comparative perspective)?
  3. How to assess education policies across countries (comparative method)?
  4. What is the future of education, what are the opportunities and educational needs of this era of new technologies and potential policy mismatches with such opportunities and needs (online learning)?
  5. What methods are available to evaluate the impact of education policies and programmes (introduction to treatment evaluation)?

Morning sessions (08.30 – 13.00 incl. coffee break) introduce the fundamental economic theories on education and provide an up-to-date overview of the impact of education on societal outcomes. Afternoon sessions (14.00 – 16.00) provide an overview of the methods used to research existing theories.

The second week (15-19 July) is designed to give participants hands-on skills in analysing research questions using the theories and various methods introduced in the first week. Also in the second week participants choose between two applied modules, covering both methods and practical exercises in groups using datasets on developed or/and developing countries.

Module 1 focuses on assessing the impact of tertiary education on equity using mixed methods and macro datasets. The aim of the first module is to gain practical skills in using comparative methods to assess the impact of tertiary education. Module 2 focuses on assessing the impact of primary education on student participation and outcomes using treatment evaluation methods and micro datasets. The aim of the second module is to gain practical skills in using treatment evaluation techniques to assess the impact of primary education in developed or/and developing economies.

Morning sessions (08.30 – 10.30) review previous day assignments, introduce the new research question to be addressed, main methods, and how to test hypotheses using existing datasets as well as the interpretation of findings, limitations and how to make policy recommendations.

Afternoon sessions (14.00 – 16.00) are focused on empirical applications where participants are required to work through a practical assignment in groups focused on assessing the impact of an educational policy/programme. Participants will be evaluated on the last day of the course based on group presentations of an impact assessment conducted throughout the duration of the module.

Tuition Fee: 700 Euros
Application form

Programme: Detailed programme to follow.


  • Prof. Dr. Jo Ritzen, UNU-MERIT
  • Prof. Dr. Lex Borghans, SBE
  • Dr. Nyasha Tirivayi, UN-FAO and MGSoG
  • Dr. Martin Rehm, MGSoG
  • Dr. Cecile Hoareau, MGSoG (course coordinator)
    profile | website
  • Bianca Buligescu, UNU-MERIT (course coordinator)

Recommended readings

  • Pearsons, W. (1995) Public policy: an introduction to the theory and practice of policy analysis, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp.600-612.
  • Gertler, P. Martinez, S., Premand, P. and Rawlings, L. and Vermeersch, C. (2010) Impact evaluation in practice, Washington: World Bank Training Series


For further information on the complete programme of the Maastricht Summer School 2013, please visit the website.

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