Author: Tom Coupé, KEI.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, transition countries have faced an unprecedented demographic shock, with increasing mortality and emigration, but also with a serious drop in fertility. This negative shock to fertility has translated in an increasingly smaller number of school-aged children, considerably reducing school size and class size over time (Berryman, 2000). In addition, given that this drop in children of school age did not go together with a decline of the number of schools, teachers or classes, student-teacher ratios have decreased substantially. As a consequence, transition countries are now in the situation where they have a disproportionately large number of schools, teachers and classes. This oversized system does not appear to have led to great results in terms of the quality of education.