Here’s an idea I’ve had a while back: There are still too many places where children are not going to school, and even if there is free education available to children, parents may prefer or need the short-term gain from sending their children to work instead. What if we paid parents for sending their children to go to school rather than simply provided free education? What if parents were paid if their children learn how to read and write, what if their children being in the top 10% would yield a bonus payment? What if we financially award progress towards getting a job rather than presence at school? We’d obviously change the incentives, but would it work to allow talented children to concentrate on school work? My hunch is that the incentives need not be that big, but perhaps it would lead to unintended consequences like that those who do not get paid would drop out of school because school becomes about external motivation rather than internal motivation.