Education Buzz (Sep 8): GPE spreads itself thin | Role of aid in tertiary reform | More

Global Partnership for Education spreads itself thin

The Global Partnership for Education has recently announced its 2012-2014 indicative allocations. It will be working across 45 countries, and spending on average just $15 million per country. The small size of these investments a year (just $680 million combined) calls into question the Partnership’s claim to play a coordinating role in aid for education. Meanwhile, the Partnership has advertised for a new CEO. AusAID is one of the Partnership’s top two donors.

‘Tertiary Education Reform and the Role of External Aid’ by Dr. Jamil Salmi

On Monday 3rd September, the Development Policy Centre welcomed Dr. Jamil Salmi for a presentation on ‘Tertiary Education Reform and the Role of External Aid’. The presentation (video available here, presentation here) drew on 20 years of Dr. Salmi’s experience working for the World Bank.  Issues discussed by Dr. Salmi included: the donor community’s preference to focus efforts on achieving basic education goals and that subsequently aid to tertiary education had been a taboo subject; the concept that tertiary education support by donors is support for elites; problems with scholarships in bilateral aid; the importance of non-university institutes of higher education; problems with donor coordination in supporting tertiary education; and implementing student loan systems in developing countries. Dr. Salmi advised that donor interventions in tertiary education should be adapted to the recipient country’s circumstance, stressing that “countries must produce their own vision”. A video of the seminar will be available shortly via the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU website.

Anti-corruption education in Indonesia

Colum Graham, September 4, 2012

With a new national agenda for anti-corruption education, the battle against endemic corruption has entered the classroom in Indonesia. In March, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Education and the Corruption Eradication Commission. This will involve coordination on anti-corruption education and commitments to various exchanges on information sharing, graft control and public complaints. The curriculum has been developed with the Ministry of Education. It includes modules in civics for school students, as well as anti-corruption subjects at university. Anti-corruption education is part of the eradication of Indonesia’s culture of corruption. This Devpolicy post argues that, while there are reasons to be skeptical, it would be rash to judge potential effectiveness too early.

Are We Neglecting Children’s Participation in School?

Robert Cannon, August 24, 2012

The challenges presented by children’s participation in school have been relatively neglected in education development projects, according to this Devpolicy post. Participation is an umbrella term that includes enrollment, attendance, children’s engagement in learning, the series of transitions that have to be made from home to school and from primary through to secondary school, and strategies for preventing early school leaving. Participation takes account of the needs of all children including those with special physical and intellectual needs. To minimise participation risks, piecemeal approaches are less likely to be successful than ‘whole-school’ and ‘whole-of-schooling’ approaches, accompanied by a strong focus on the needs of all children.

An approach to organizational learning and change in Cambodia

Phum Thol, Sim Chankiriroth, Dennis Barbian and Graeme Storer, Learning for capacity development: a holistic approach to sustained organizational change. Development in Practice, Volume 22, No. 7, September 2012: 909 – 920.

This article describes a holistic approach to organisational learning and change in Cambodia. The approach employs interventions such as workplace coaching and peer learning to promote deeper learning. When an organisation engages with a holistic approach, the results are significantly better than any one-off intervention or training program can produce. For learning and change to take root, capacity development needs to take place at multiple levels within an organisation.

Overambitious Curricula in Developing Countries

Lant Pritchett and Amanda Beatty, The Negative Consequences of Overambitious Curricula in Developing Countries. Center for Global Development, Working Paper, 293, April, 2012.

Studies that track changes in student skills per year of schooling often find low learning gains. Using data from studies in Asia and Africa, the authors show that 
a majority of students spend years of instruction with little or no progress on basics. They argue that shallow learning profiles are in part the result of the curricular pace moving much faster than the pace of learning. A simulation shows that two countries with exactly the same potential for learning outcomes could have divergent outcomes because of a gap between curricular and actual pace. Paradoxically, student learning could go faster if curricula and teachers were to slow down.

Accessing Development Education Journal Articles

Many journals publish articles of relevance to development education practitioners. For example, Taylor and Francis list 76 different titles focusing on development and 243 on education. Access to this vast literature is facilitated by abstracting services such as International Development Abstracts published by Elsevier, another prolific publisher of key journals such as the International Journal of Educational Development.

One goal of the Education Buzz is to provide resources for the continuing professional development of education practitioners. To this end, some journal abstracts are provided below. Locating journal articles can be frustrating. Some articles are freely available by clicking on the relevant link. When not, there are other strategies you can try. First, if you have a university or institutional affiliation and library access, it is likely you may be able to download the full article for free. Second, if this access is not available, a polite email to the author will often lead to a copy being sent to you. Third, a search on the web by author and key words may yield an earlier version of the same paper for downloading. Finally, copies can usually be purchased on line from the journal’s publisher.

News

The fourteen best books about Global Education

Online Universities has recently compiled a list of fourteen books addressing international education methods. Topics include: the achievement gap; being a global student in a global era; education governance in China; deliberation on how American education stacks up and; global education reform.

Measuring and Rewarding School Improvement

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has announced a discussion paper on Measuring and Rewarding School Improvement. The paper provides advice on the identification of indicators and the measurement of school improvement.

School Improvement and ‘Learning Ecosystems’

ACER has highlighted comments by Valerie Hannon, of the Innovation Unit in the UK, who claims that school improvement is not enough. Fostering a ‘learning ecosystem’ should be the priority of education policy-makers.

A Knowledge Sector Initiative

A proposed AusAID program titled, Revitalising Indonesia’s Knowledge Sector for Development Policy aims to enable Indonesian policy-makers to make better quality decisions on how to allocate resources in ways that best help the poor. The strategy has implications for higher education and is intended to help Indonesia develop its knowledge sector.

School Construction in Sri Lanka

AusAID has announced school construction support in northern Sri Lanka. Australia is contributing $10 million in partnership with UNICEF to repair and refurbish up to 20 schools in the northern districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.

Australia’s Strategic Partnership with BRAC

BRAC is the world’s largest NGO. Australia has supported BRAC’s poverty reduction programs since 2002. Australia is supporting the provision of basic education to children from poor and vulnerable communities in Bangladesh through BRAC’s education programs.

New USAID PRIORITAS Education Project Begins in Indonesia

The new USAID PRIORITAS project (Prioritizing Reform, Innovation and Opportunities for Reaching Indonesia’s Teachers, Administrators and Students) commenced in May 2012. The aim of PRIORITAS is to achieve expanded access to quality basic education.

Children in an Urban World

UNICEF recently launched its annual publication, The State of the World’s Children, 2012, Children in an Urban World. The report, available here, shows that millions of children in cities and towns are at risk of being left behind just as they are in remote rural places commonly associated with deprivation and vulnerability.

PNG Government Plans to Exit Outcomes Based Education

Change is reported in education policy making in PNG, with the government ‘fast-tracking’ getting rid of the country’s outcome based education system.

Education and Training for Fisheries Resources Specialists in the Pacific

The Korea International Cooperation Agency is conducting a fisheries training program for Pacific Island Forum States.

Pre-service Teacher Education in Environmental Education in Papua New Guinea

Asaku Openg completed her PhD thesis at the University of Waikato on making an intervention for environmental education for sustainability in PNG teachers’ colleges.

Fee Free Education

NZAID has announced fee-free education for Samoan high school students to mark 50 years of friendship.

Education Networks and Newsletters

The Center for Global Development (CGD) is an independent, non-profit think tank that conducts and publishes research and analysis on a wide range of topics related to the developing world including aid effectiveness, education and health. An example of its online publications is provided above: The Negative Consequences of Overambitious Curricula in Developing Countries.

Upcoming conferences, 2012

  • Digital Futures in Higher Education. Citigate Central Hotel, Sydney, 13 –14 November 2012, Citigate Central Hotel, Sydney, NSW. This conference will address: Developing an institution-wide strategy for enhancing teaching and learning through technology; Creating mechanisms to improve digital literacy; Promoting change and supporting curriculum redesign; Encouraging more participatory learning. Further information is available here
  • International Education in the Asian Century. The Australian International Education Conference 2012 will be held in Melbourne from 2-5 October. Further information is available here.

Robert Cannon is an Associate of the Development Policy Centre and is presently working as an evaluation specialist with the USAID funded PRIORITAS Project in Indonesian education. Colum Graham is a researcher at the Development Policy Centre. This is our second monthly wrap on development and education; the first is available here.

Robert Cannon

Robert Cannon is an educational evaluation adviser to USAID in Indonesia.

Colum Graham

Colum Graham is a Research Officer at the Development Policy Centre and PhD candidate at ANU.

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