Pedagogy scale-ups are thus parachuted into classrooms. These mostly fail because the system doesn't have the supporting structures like teacher training capacity etc to enable the intervention. When these scale-ups fail, the particular pedagogy is diagnosed as the issue, ignoring the real reason of the lack of supporting systems. This leads to another pedagogy intervention, which again ends up failing. This cycle goes on.
There is no dearth of good pedagogies. Given a good capacity system, all of them can be made to work out. The issue however is instituting these good capacity systems.
The real question is thus not what pedagogy models are to be parachuted but rather what enables the local systems to come up with methods suitable to them OR why could some local systems come up with innovative models but not others.
While it's true that we don't always necessarily have the required capacity for interventions and that capacity can be built on the way, care should be taken so that the difference between the existing capacity and capacity required for executing the intervention is not very high. If it's going to take 20 years for the existing system to reach up to the required levels, we are essentially creating destruction during this period. One can rather start slow with simple interventions and gradually build up.
Many others can be pointed out as issues in education but they are symptoms rather than causes. They emanate from these fundamental reasons. There are also issues which are cited as critical constraints but they necessarily aren't - teacher salary, guest teachers etc.
One such often cited constraint, lack of political will, needs particular mention here. Refer the book for details on this. It's often remarked that lack of political will is the fundamental reason for failure of our public education. It's also remarked that it's because education isn't an electoral issue.
While it's true that political will is necessary, as I will argue in my next posts, citing this as fundamental issue brings several issues and doesn't address some questions. One, it attributes reason to something very abstract and unachievable in near future. Two, what happened to those cases when there was a political will? Many of the large interventions had political backup. Three, expecting governments to work on education only if there's an electoral incentive is futile. Election pressure works only in those cases where there exist clear solutions to a problem, government can solve the problems with short-duration reforms, government promises to do these, citizens can feel the change and track it. All these pre requisites aren't satisfied in education. There's no clear one magic wand or few bullet points to address education. It's a long term adaptive process requiring governments' attention throughout the period. Since, electoral pressure is not there round the clock, it requires government to work even in those times when no one cares about it. All of these require self-driven governments and not those who merely respond only when public asks. Such governments who respond only on public demand most probably will appear to do something, without doing the necessary hard work.
Hence, though I believe that political will is a necessary important ingredient, it doesn't completely explain the issues with education reform. One can pursue an inappropriate reform even with political will.
Read my book: UnpackED - The black box of Indian school education reform (pdf, free to download)