Curriculum Development -Training Tools

Having been involved recently in early childhood curriculum development in Tanzania,  I realise (i) many curriculum developers have not had training, particularly in developing countries and (ii) its importance is underestimated as it can constrain how a teacher teaches and how children learn.

Training Tools: Curriculum Development
IBE – UNESCO 

The International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO) has the pleasure of announcing the launch of the series Training Tools for Curriculum Development. This new series aims to provide technical assistance and strengthen leadership for education and curriculum reforms. The series consists of a variety of training materials including Resource Packs and Thematic Modules.

By providing comprehensive guidance on current and critical issues, the training tools are used to train and further develop existing capacities of national policy makers, curriculum specialists and developers, assessment experts, teacher educators, teachers, school leaders, supervisors and district level administrators.

Among other initiatives, the project developed a training tool, ‘A Resource Pack for Gender-Responsive STEM Education’. Its overarching aim is to share a broader understanding of the theory and practice of gender-responsive STEM education, in order to support its effective development at the policy, school, classroom and community levels.

The Training Tools for Curriculum Development are available in English, French, and Spanish.

Access the training tools here

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School violence and bullying

It was in the ’70s that I joined STOPP -the Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment (STOPP)  which was set up in the U.K. in 1968 to campaign for the abolition of corporal punishment in UK schools.STOPP was a very small pressure group that lobbied government, local authorities and other official institutions. It also investigated individual cases of corporal punishment and aided families wishing to pursue their cases through the UK and European courts.It was only in 1986 that the UK Parliament abolished corporal punishment in state schools.

It is heartbreaking to see the continuing levels of violence perpetrated against children who come to school to learn (and to be cared for).

Report: School Violence and Bullying  

UNESCO


This report has been prepared by UNESCO and the Institute of School Violence and Prevention at Ewha Womans University for the International Symposium on School Violence and Bullying: From Evidence to Action, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 17 – 19 January 2017. It aims to provide an overview of the most up-to-date available data on the nature, extent and impact of school violence and bullying and initiatives to address the problem

Learn more here. Access the full report here

International Mother Language Day 2016

motherlanguageday

International Mother Language Day 2016

“An estimated 40% of the global population do not receive education in a language that they speak or understand.”

However, even these numbers, underestimate the situation in pockets of disadvantage. 

Governments are less happy to monitor this situation and certainly less happy to publicise this data.
Even in reports on achievement, people are still surprised that children entering grade 1 without the language of instruction are underachieving at grade 3 -which should be quite obvious,being taught in a ‘foreign’ language. It is also usual for grade 1 teachers not to have training to teach bilingually or at least training to understand the difficulties inherent in teaching children of diverse backgrounds (i.e. inclusive education).
National languages have a political dimension, quite often, with a search for ‘national identity’ so the argument about children’s underachievement, somehow gets lost, particularly if it may be to do with an ethnic minority or relatively small groups living in poverty.

Awareness without action may be self defeating. Some say that the figures in the report, quoted above, are high, but I think, even these numbers, underestimate the situation in many pockets of disadvantage. 

 

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Another example of how language is used and misused by politicians, this time in South Africa:

The Soweto uprising is probably one of the most impactful demonstrations for language and learning rights to take place across the globe. It placed the anti-apartheid struggle on an international platform and presented a massive shift in gear for the struggle for a free South Africa. These events took place 40 years ago. We should remember them as we celebrate International Mother Language Day this week.

Students gathered in Soweto 40 years ago to protest the use of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in black, but not white schools. The new language education policy was enforced through the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974, which stated that Afrikaans and English should be used in a 50-50 mix as the medium for instruction.

 

Sustainable Development – a resource bank

This blog tries to reach out and find suitable education resources,  so here is another opportunity to discover new resources by using the new UNESCO Clearinghouse on Education for Sustainable Development.

Clearinghouse and Resource Bank on Education for Sustainable Development  
UNESCO 

Clearinghouse and Resource Bank 

UNESCO has just released a Clearinghouse on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), containing important information, news, events, good practices and links around the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP). It aims to serve as an online platform to share knowledge, experiences and competences of the ESD global community of practice.
The Clearinghouse comes with a comprehensive Resource Bank, gathering hundreds of ESD publications, videos, photos and other documents from all over the world. With an interface in English, French and Spanish, it is designed to help create synergies and cross-cutting collaboration through access to a wide selection of resources.

Click here to access the Clearinghouse.

Click here to access the Resource Bank.

IIEP – a new Learning Portal

There are plenty of opportunities to access learning material, but sometimes it takes too long to trawl through a range of disconnected sites. The new IIEP Learning Portal is worth a visit if you are an education planner and decision maker or an education practitioner -particular with an eye on the quality of education.

IIEP Learning Portal
IIEP

We are pleased to announce the launch of the IIEP Learning Portal, an interactive platform designed to help decision-makers and education practitioners plan for quality education and improved learning outcomes in the post-2015 era.

The IIEP Learning Portal responds to the needs of education planners, policy-makers, civil society actors, and funders throughout the world, by offering:

  • Brief summaries of the research on 25 ways to improve learning,
  • An overview of each step involved in creating a plan for learning improvement,
  • Tools and approaches to monitor learning and put the data to use,
  • A weekly blog and a daily selection of news articles on learning from around the world,
  • Ways to learn about major controversies and participate in e-Forum discussions,
  • glossary of key terms and a chance to ask a librarian to help you find the resources   you need,
  • More than 1,000 resources in a searchable database including research and reports on efforts to improve learning, sample policies, current debates and a wide range of experiences on learningissues.

We invite you to visit the new portal – http://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/ – join the community (subscribe to our newsletter and connect on Twitter and Facebook) and discover how you can participate and benefit from its many resources on educational planning for improved learning.

Questions? Contact.learning@iiep.unesco.org

Education and children, under fire – continuously!

Malala recently reminded us that just 8 days of global military spending could ensure all children are in school and receiving a level of quality in their education -too much to ask for? The military rarely has to go round with a begging bowl, but for health and education we are always expecting some sort of charitable hand out. It seems our brains are not evolving if we regard war as more important than health and education (and we could also throw in shelter and clean water as a couple more basics for all children).

INEE has brought together some articles that are food for thought -and hopefully action.

The War on Education

16 June 2015

by Silje S. Skeie, Special Advisor on Education at the Norwegian Refugee Council

2015 marks the year when all children should have been in school, according to the Millennium Development Goals. However, 58 million children are still out of primary school, and half of them live in countries affected by conflict.

At the same time: Never before have so many children been harmed, kidnapped or killed simply for going to school. Military use and attacks on schools have devastating impact on children’s access to education. Making schools safe must be a key priority on the post-2015 agenda.

Click to read the full article.

$2.3 billion required to send children to school in war-torn countries

29 June 2015

from Education For All Global Monitoring Report

A new paper by UNESCO’s Education For All Global Monitoring Report (EFA GMR) shows that 34 million children and adolescents are out of school in conflict-affected countries. The most vulnerable are the hardest hit: the poorest are twice as likely to be out of school as their counterparts in peaceful countries. The paper shows that $2.3 billion is required to place them in school – ten times the amount that education is receiving from humanitarian aid right now.

Click to read the full article.

Education in emergencies: world leaders told how to help 65 million children

23 June 2015

from A World at School

World leaders will be asked to consider a plan to tackle the lack of education action and funding for 65 million children caught up in conflicts and emergencies. With heads of government, education ministers and international organisations gathering at a summit in Norway next month, four major recommendations have been devised to meet the challenge.

The UK-based think tank Overseas Development Institute warns that millions of children are missing out on school, dropping out or receiving poor-quality education because of wars and conflicts, natural disasters including earthquakes and floods, and public health emergencies such as Ebola.

Click to read the full article.

and of course, when children do get to school, such is the lack of understanding about the needs of children, they are often subjected to violence and humiliation…

The Good School Toolkit for reducing physical violence
The Lancet
The Good School Toolkit for reducing physical violence from school staff to primary school students: a cluster-randomised controlled trial in Uganda
Violence against children from school staff is widespread in various settings, but few interventions address this. We tested whether the Good School Toolkit—a complex behavioural intervention designed by Ugandan not-for-profit organisation Raising Voices—could reduce physical violence from school staff to Ugandan primary school children.

A transformative vision?

The vision for education has often been too limited or even absent in public education, often due to a fire-fighting attitude because of  low investment, lack of teachers, poor quality etc. Lets hope that a ‘transformative vision’ , as described below, can translate into real change and more investment in education (rather than arms and the war industries!)

INCHEON, Republic of Korea, 21 May 2015 – A transformative vision for education over the next 15 years has been adopted at the World Education Forum, which concluded today in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The Incheon Declaration was welcomed by the global education community, including government ministers from more than 100 countries, non-governmental organizations and youth groups. It encourages countries to provide inclusive, equitable, quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all. The Declaration will underpin the education targets in the Sustainable Development Goals that will be ratified at the United Nations in September.

“This Declaration is a huge step forward,” stated the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.  “It reflects our determination to ensure that all children and young people gain the knowledge and skills they need to live in dignity, to reach their potential and contribute to their societies as responsible global citizens. It encourages governments to provide learning opportunities through life, so that people can continue to grow and develop. It affirms that education is the key to global peace and sustainable development.”

The Incheon Declaration builds on the global Education for All (EFA) movement that was initiated in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 and reiterated in Dakar, Senegal in 2000. EFA – and the Millennium Development Goal on Education – resulted in significant progress, but many of its targets, including universal access to primary education, remain unfulfilled. Currently, 58 million children remain out of school – most of them girls. In addition 250 million children are not learning basic skills, even though half of them have spent at least four years in school. The Incheon Declaration must finish the ambitious EFA and MDG agendas.

“If this generation of children is to someday reduce the inequalities and injustices that afflict the world today, we must give all our children a fair chance to learn.  This must be our collective vision and commitment,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake.

The Incheon Declaration will be implemented through the Education 2030 Framework for Action, a roadmap for governments to be adopted by the end of the year. It will provide guidance on effective legal and policy frameworks for education, based on the principles of accountability, transparency and participatory governance. Effective implementation will require strong regional coordination and rigorous monitoring and evaluation of the education agenda. It will also require more funding, especially for the countries furthest from providing inclusive, quality education. The Declaration and Framework will urge countries to set nationally appropriate spending targets and increase Official Development Assistance to low income countries.

Speakers at the closing ceremony included Susan Hopgood, President of Education International, Kishore Singh, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mohamed Sameh Amr, Chair of UNESCO’s Executive Board, Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, António Guterres, High Commissioner of UNHCR (via video), Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, Keith Hansen, Global Practices Vice President of the World Bank Group, Michaëlle Jean, Secretary-General of La Francophonie, Hwang Woo Yeo, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea and Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

“We all agree that every student has the right to quality, free, public education,” said Susan Hopgood, the President of Education International – an organization representing more than 30 million teachers and education workers around the world. “However, in order to realize any education goals, students in every classroom must be guaranteed a well-trained, professionally-qualified, motivated and supported teacher. Providing quality education for all will require changes to education systems. To implement the Education 2030 Framework for Action and improve the quality of education, it is fundamental that our education systems are transformed into ones that foster an open and collaborative culture.”

Education is essential to achieving all of the new Sustainable Development Goals. It is necessary to eradicate poverty, boost shared prosperity and broad-based economic growth, and build peaceful, tolerant societies. Today’s Declaration demonstrates the common commitment to deliver this vision. It shows how education can transform lives.

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Quotes from the co-convenors

UNHCR

“We have a collective responsibility to ensure education plans take into account the needs of some the most vulnerable children and youth in the world – refugees, internally displaced children, stateless children and children whose right to education has been compromised by war and insecurity. These children are the keys to a secure and sustainable future, and their education matters for us all.” António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

UNFPA

“Together we must promote and protect every person’s right to education, and ensure that quality education reaches all, and instils values of peace, justice, human rights and gender equality. We are proud to have been a co-convener of the World Education Forum and pledge to take forward the new action agenda on education for all by 2030.” Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director.

UN Women

“The Incheon Declaration rightly commits us to non-discriminatory education that recognizes the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment for sustainable development. This is a crucial opportunity for us to work together, across sectors, towards the fulfilment of the Education for All promise of peaceful, just and equal societies. A world where people are equal can only be achieved if our education also universally teaches this.” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General.

 

and how do we know when we have made progress…read on….

New Proposed Indicators to Monitor the Post-2015 Education Framework
EFA Report

The post-2015 sustainable development agenda, including the education goal, has received praise for its ambitious and universal scope. The challenge now lies in developing a solid monitoring framework, which can be used to track progress towards the targets while helping to focus international efforts on areas that might be left behind.

This blog presents the proposal – by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) established by UNESCO – for a set of indicators to monitor the post-2015 education targets. This proposal will be presented at a special session of the World Education Forum in Incheon on 20 May.  The proposal complements the draft Framework for Action on Education 2030, which will be debated at the Forum.

The TAG proposal includes 42 thematic indicators that could be used to monitor education progress globally. Ultimately, it is expected that about six to ten of these indicators will be selected by the United Nations Statistical Commission to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, while the broader set of indicators proposed will be used to monitor progress towards the 10 education targets under this Goal.

To read more about the proposed indicators, click here