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Zoe James


Lecturer in Education and International Development

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223


  • PhD (University College London)
  • MPhil (University of Oxford)
  • BA (London School of Economics and Political Science)

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I joined the Faculty in 2021 as a University Lecturer in Education and International Development. I previously worked at the Young Lives project based at the University of Oxford, and as a consultant supporting the delivery and evaluation of large scale international development programmes at Education Development Trust. I have collaborated with and supported research and evaluation projects with several national governments, donors and international organisations, including DFID, the World Bank and UNESCO.

My research interests relate to how processes of educational change, reform and policy influence student access, learning and trajectories. My focus is on low and middle income contexts, and I have particular experience working in Ethiopia and India. My current area of focus is on Ethiopia’s language of instruction policy, whilst previous strands of work have considered cross-country student learning trajectories, school quality and effectiveness, and the growth of low-fee private schooling.

Methodologically I am experienced in both quantitative and qualitative approaches, spanning the design, implementation and analysis of large-scale cross-country longitudinal household and school surveys, and more participatory qualitative approaches. I am particularly interested in research projects with strong capacity building elements, and with a focus on stakeholder engagement and collaboration.

Academic Area/Links

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Research Topics

  • Inequalities in educational access and learning
  • Education policy
  • Language of Instruction
  • The role of non-state providers
  • Learning trajectories
  • Mixed methods

Prospective PhD Applications

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in working on topics related to my interests and expertise, particularly using mixed methods.

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  • Postgraduate
    • MPhil Education, Globalisation and International Development
    • MPhil Research in Second Language Education
  • Undergraduate
    • Track Coordinator – Education, Policy and International Development (EPID)
    • Coordinate and teach across three EPID papers (International Issues in Inclusion and Diversity; Case Studies in Education and International Development; Dissertation.)

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Principal and Recent Publications

James, Z (2021) ‘Stakeholder Perspectives on Medium of Instruction Policy in Ethiopia’ in C Benson & K Kosonen (eds) Language Issues in Comparative Education: Policy and practice in multilingual education based on non-dominant languages, Sense Publications.

Rolleston, C and James, Z (2015) ‘After Access: Diverging Learning Profiles in Vietnam and India,’ Prospects, 45(3), pp. 285-303.

James, Z and Woodhead, M (2014) ‘Choosing and changing schools in India’s private and government sectors’, Oxford Review of Education, 40(1), pp. 73-90.

Boyden, J and James, Z (2014) ‘Education, Childhood and Development: Choices and Challenges in a Longitudinal Study’, Oxford Review of Education, 40(1), pp. 10-29.

Rolleston, C and James, Z (2014) ‘Schooling and Cognitive Outcomes from Childhood to Youth: A Longitudinal Analysis’ in J. Boyden and M. Bourdillon (eds) Growing Up in Poverty: Findings from Young Lives, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rolleston, C; James, Z & Aurino, E (2014) ‘Exploring the effect of educational opportunity and inequality on learning outcomes in Ethiopia, Peru, India, and Vietnam.’ Background paper prepared for the UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2013.

Woodhead, M; Frost, M and James, Z (2013) ‘Does growth in private schooling contribute to Education for All? Evidence from a longitudinal, two cohort study in Andhra Pradesh, India,’ International Journal of Educational Development, 33(1), pp. 65-73.

Rolleston, C; James, Z; Pasquier-Doumer, L; Tran Ngo Thi Minh Tam and Le Thuc Duc (2013) Making Progress: Report of the Young Lives School Survey in Vietnam, Young Lives Working Paper 100, Oxford: Young Lives.

For a full list, please see Google Scholar.