Education For All: Quality Counts - Reflections from a School Improvement Perspective UKFIET Colloquium Institute of Education, London Tuesday 23 rd November 2004 Professor David Hopkins Chief Adviser on School Standards, DfES . EFA – Dakar Goals. Early education and childcare
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Education For All: Quality Counts -Reflections from aSchool Improvement PerspectiveUKFIET ColloquiumInstitute of Education, LondonTuesday 23rd November 2004Professor David HopkinsChief Adviser on School Standards, DfES
EFA – Dakar Goals • Early education and childcare • Free and compulsory primary education of good quality • Life skills programmes • 50% improvement in adult literacy • Gender equality • Improved quality of education
EFA – Millenium Goals • Achieve universal primary education • Promote gender equality and empower women.
EFA – Development Index The Education For All Development Index measures the extent to which countries are meeting 4 of the 6 EFA goals: • UPE • Gender parity • Literacy • Quality Several countries - including some of the poorest – sharply improved their EFA achievement levels between 1998 and 2001. This indicates that poverty is not an unavoidable barrier to rapid progress towards EFA. On the other hand, massive educational deprivation continues to be concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States and South and West Asia.
Defining Quality – Koichiro Matsuura “Quality must be seen in light of how societies define the purpose of education. In most, two principal objectives are at stake; the first is to ensure the cognitive development of learners. The second emphasises the role of education in nurturing the creative and emotional growth of learners and in helping them to acquire values and attitudes for responsible citizenship. Finally, quality must pass the test of equity: an education system characterized by discrimination against any particular group is not fulfilling its mission.”
Defining Quality – Five Major Factors • Learners, whose diversity must be recognized; • The national economic and social context; • Material and human resources; • The teaching and learning process; • The outcomes and benefits of education.
Defining Quality – A Framework Enabling inputs Economic and labour market conditions in the community Socio-cultural and religious factors • Teaching and Learning • Learning time • Teaching methods • Assessment, feedback, incentives • Class size • Learner Characteristics • Aptitude • Perseverance • School readiness • Prior knowledge • Barriers to learning • Outcomes • Literacy, numeracy and life skills • Creative and emotional skills • Values • Social benefits • Teaching and learning materials • Physical infrastructure and facilities • Human resources • School governance Context – including factors such as: • Competitiveness of the teaching profession • National governance and management strategies • Parental support • Time for schooling and homework
Enhancing Quality – Action Points • Present styles and methods of teaching are not serving children well • Investment in teachers is critical • The quality and availability of learning materials strongly affect what teachers can do • Those who work in and with schools need help to find their own solutions to improving quality • Relationships among different parts and aspects of the education sector can be exploited to help improve quality • The existence of special needs in education often needs to be more strongly acknowledged • Knowledge can make a major difference to the quality of education.
The Breakdown of the Culture of Learning and Teaching (Pam Christie) • Recognise the complex group and organisational dynamics crippling the work of schools • The major task is the regeneration of schools as functioning organisations. • The substantive task of learning and teaching needs to be bolstered. • Organisational failure needs to be remedied in terms of school management and leadership. • Build a sense of agency and responsibility at the school level.
How Schools Improve (Per Dalin) Many people assume that there are certain ‘obvious truths’ about reform: • reforms should be incremental and gradual rather than wide-ranging; • tight inspection and control are essential for success; • the issue is designing a reform and its materials so well that it can be implemented faithfully and well with minimal training and assistance, in other words teachers are ‘consumers’ of new reform ideas; • success depends mainly on the quality of the reform ideas; • schools in general are resistant to reforms; • either ‘top-down’ or ‘bottom-up’ strategic work – depending on the educational context referred to. In line with the EFA approach, Dalin notes, all these ‘obvious truths’ have been shown to be false.
‘How Schools Improve Study’ Findings • Educational reform is a local process. • Central support is vital. • Effective system linkages are essential. • The reform process is a learning process. • Think systemic and big. • Focus on classroom practice. • See teachers as learners. • Commitment is essential at all levels. • Both local and central initiatives work. • Parent and community participation contribute to success
Lessons from the Aga Khan School Improvement Programme • The commitment to child centred learning • Curriculum versus pedagogic development • The focus on teacher learning, professional development and leadership training • The school as the unit of change and capacity building • Local support infrastructure • Sustainability
Towards a Policy Framework • Focus unrelentingly on student achievement, learning and empowerment. • Create professional learning communities within schools. • Fund the development and evaluation of a range of curriculum and teaching programmes. • Help schools make informed choices across a range of models. • Target funding and support for implementation of proven practices. • Establish support networks at all levels of the system.
EFA – Better Learning • Teachers – achieving UPE alone calls for more and better-trained teachers; • Learning Time – instruction time is a crucial correlate of achievement; • Core subjects – literacy is a crucial tool for the mastery of other subjects; • Pedagogy – many commonly used teaching styles do not suit children well; • Language – initial instruction in the learner’s first language improves learning outcomes and reduces subsequent grade repetition; • Learning Materials – the quality and availability of learning materials strongly affect what teachers can do; • Facilities – unprecedented refurbishment and building are needed in many countries. Clean water and sanitation are crucial; • Leadership – central governments must be ready to give greater freedom to schools.
Implications for UNESCO • Fit for Purpose • Principles • International Challenge • Regional Capacity Building
Implications for UNESCO Principles • Equity • Quality • Ownership • Efficiency • Prevention • Systemic
Implications for UNESCO International Challenge • Advocacy and Principles • Monitoring • Challenge • Co-ordination and Key Partners • Innovation and Regional Capacity • Intervention
Implications for UNESCO Regional Capacity Building • Ensuring the basics • The focus on learning • Teaching materials • Teacher education • School leadership • Community involvement and networking
Implications for UNESCO A Final Thought Education for All (EFA) is a bold and innovative educational programme redolent with moral purpose. The goals of EFA reflect cutting edge educational aspirations. It is important that we do not just realise the aims of EFA but also raise standards of achievement and learning in all United Nations member countries. At present international policy is largely predicated on structural reform and this has a poor track record in terms of raising standards and ensuring equity. An approach that focuses on improving the quality of classroom practice, on capacity building and systemic reform offers far more promise.