Lesotho’s new ‘Integrated Curriculum’, introduced in 2009, aims to radically overhaul both content and pedagogy for the first 10 years of school. This provides a useful case study as the reforms seek to address some of the challenges that we have identified through our research in rural Laos and India, as well as Lesotho. Broadly, the new curriculum seeks to replace the narrative that education leads to a specified (formal sector, urban) future with one in which children are agents in their own futures – equipping them with the knowledge and skills to plan their own lives and livelihoods within their own geographical context. In practice, however, children’s experiences of education have changed less as a result of the new curriculum than might be expected, and they continue to associate schooling with salaried jobs rather than rural businesses. The research points to useful lessons for future curricular reform in India, Laos and elsewhere.