African teachers top up efforts for quality education
Teachers from Kenya and Zambia are taking decisive steps to improve the quality of education in their schools through a project to help them assess and defend a better curriculum at primary and secondary level.
Students across the globe are exiting school without the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. The 2012 Global Education Monitoring Report estimated that more than half of the children in sub-Saharan Africa are not learning the basics in reading. In low-income countries alone, fewer than 1 in 10 children will be on track. Also, the shift in policy from a focus primarily on traditional subjects, such as numeracy and literacy, to a much broader range of skills to include problem solving, communication, and critical thinking poses a new challenge to the concept of quality education.
A new project that brings together Education International (EI), the Brookings Centre for Universal Education and teacher unions from Kenya and Zambia affiliated to EI aims to re-define what quality education means for these countries.
The project, which is planned to run until the end of November 2017, has kicked off with two successful series of workshops in Lusaka (Zambia) and Mombasa (Kenya), from October 6-11, attended by over 30 teacher representatives. The sessions were facilitated by Martin Henry, EI research coordinator, alongside Christopher Yalukanda ZNUT and Chair of the Teachers council in Zambia, Lucy Barimbui KNUT and prospective Parliamentarian from Kenya, and consultants from both countries.
A strong, teacher-made advocacy tool
The outcome of the process will be the development of a tool to measure the quality of teaching and learning, crafted with the active participation from stakeholders on the ground, who will then have strong and efficient advocacy means to defend and define quality education.
“With learning opportunities critical to student success in a world and economy that are constantly changing, education systems cannot measure success only by literacy and numeracy outcomes”, the project text states. This context demands better tools to measure learning across all domains. The ‘Breadth of Learning’ tools will provide national governments with the ability to examine their education systems and target interventions.
The results of the workshops will be evaluated by the project partners and published by EI, thus setting a precedent for the development of efficient advocacy tools in other African countries, co-constructed with teachers and their unions.