Mesuring the Performance
of National Basic Education Systems
About the project
In September 2015, the United Nations approved 11 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for education. Progress made under the former Millennium Development Goals has been shown to be inadequate as confirmed by the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM) of UNESCO and the World Bank World Development Report 2018. The reports conclude that after more than a quarter century of UN efforts to ensure quality basic education for all, the situation remains « disquieting ». The new goals are intended to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030 with UNESCO commissioned to provide regular independent reports on progress achieved in the implementation of the new SDGs for education.
The new SDGs reveal two main shifts in focus: one, the effort does not only concern basic education in the Southern poor countries but all education cycles for humanity as a whole; hopefully, this will not distract from the main areas of preoccupation, namely basic education in Africa. Second, the focus has shifted from mainly access to education, to one with greater emphasis on education quality. This is fully justified since education quality has been decreasing in a majority of countries but most severely in Africa. The 2017 report by the Education Commission reveals that if current practices and contributions remain unchanged, by 2030, 69% of the youth in the poorest countries, most of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa, will be unable to read and write properly. A report from the IDAY Guinea coalition reveals that in some rural areas, only 3% of the girls complete primary education. Some mixed schools in North-western Uganda have no girls in the final primary classes. The causes of these deficiencies are numerous and involve causes that reach beyond the education sector.
The programme takes into account the lastest writings about foreign aid performance (bring people closer to their government); recommendations of the International Education Commission (accountability, reform efforts, lead learning indicators, enduser-based, including health,..); UNESCO statistics (poverty is the main cause of school dropouts). Hence schooling conditions must compensate for families’ inadequate means and contribute to poverty alleviation. Fast population growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and limited State budgets impose cheap solutions if basic rights in eduation and health are to be “for all”. Local Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are ideally placed to meet these conditions.
The approach promoted by IDAY members and involving the local stakeholders from the identification stage of shortcomings to the proposal of solutions is in line with the finding of the World Bank report mentioned above. Indeed, in this report on education, it diagnoses as one of the main causes of the deterioration of education quality the lack of involvement of those mainly concerned by education issues. The participation of all stakeholders in the surveys and IDAY’s advocacy campaigns will precisely integrate all those concerns with the performance of their education system. IDAY experience also shows that local civil society generally proposes low cost solutions. They would hence help reduce the burden on foreign aid, and hence help alleviate poverty, the main cause of school drop outs.
IDAY’s approach also takes into account the conclusion of a recent report from the Global Partnership of Education (GPE), which is also an item raised in the above mentioned World Bank Report 2018, namely that improving health in schools to raise the cognitive capacities of the pupils is key to improve education access and quality. It so happens that since 2011, improving health in schools is a key feature of IDAY’s programmes.
ANNUAL NATIONAL SURVEYS
IDAY proposes to take advantage of the wide geographical coverage of its network including 20 member countries and its grass root membership to interrogate annually all parties concerned – parents, students, teachers and authorities – over education access and quality. To achieve credibility for the data collected, sampling will be carried out in accordance to the criteria established by the national statistical offices and involve systematically the Ministries of Education. The surveys will be led with the same methodology used in the Domestic Workers programme, proven to be efficient and effective.
The issues will be evaluated according to the 4 “A” proposed by K. Tomasevski Special Rapporteur of the United Nations for Education working in the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (Sweden) and recommended by the Global Campaign for Education:
- – Availability (physical access)
- – Accessibility (social access)
- – Acceptability (meeting local needs)
- – Adaptability (improvements over time)
Data collected through the surveys will be compared to the statistics collected by other organisations: the UNESCO annual statistics, the World Bank Service Delivery Indicators, Mo Ibrahim’s education indicators …
The list of questions will also to all extent possible follow the indicators proposed in the guidelines of Right-to-Education organization, a specialized NGO. The programme will be carried out in partnership with PAL-NETWORK branches in Africa. They will be responsible for the citizen-led learning assessments and pedagogic training of teachers. IDAY is also in the process of concluding a Memorandum of Understanding with Teachers without Borders to improve pedagogic standards in participating schools.
300 organisations involved each year
The data collected will aim to support:
- – Advocacy campaigns with specific recommendations to address the obstacles to access quality and relevance in basic education. Although advocacy campaigns will be conducted throughout the year, IDAY members will take advantage of their tradition of raising key education issues with the African national and international authorities at the annual Day of the African Child (June 16) to highlight the problems and solutions raised through the publication of special reports on the results of the enquiries;
- – Awareness raising to inform the population on the national performance of education and sensitize parents about the importance of education (shown to be one of the most efficient way to keep children in schools according by J-PAL, the education quality research branch of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT));
- – Model projects with government support to overcome key shortcomings of the national education systems.
The programme is expected to make a significant contribution to the achievement of the SDG n°4 in IDAY member countries.
CSOs’ surveys and citizen-led learning assessments (CLA) include consultation of all stakeholders including teachers, students, parents & authorities, of which half will be women in order to strengthen women implication in the development process.
The main beneficiaries will be:
- – Preschool-aged children with the creation for the poorest of nurseries together with mothers to respect local traditions;
- – Primary and secondary school children through literacy programmes: school gardens and kitchen; raising health standards and awareness of environmental issues; improving teachers’ pedagogic approaches and communications discouraging clandestine emigration of youngsters;
- – Illiterate and untrained youth, including girls with functional literacy courses given according to schedules compatible with their working hours to give access to professional training to those who need to work for a living and cannot attend permanent training sessions over long periods.
Budget and Partners
The campaign will be conducted with IDAY’s partners and members in the involved countries and with the support of PAL-NETWORK and the Belgian branch of Teachers without Borders.
The request for funding is made over 5 years with the final objective that the governments concerned and the international institutions take in charge the cost of the annual surveys.
The Budget is estimated at 290 000 USD per year and per country.
Full texts of this Regional Campaign available upon request at email@example.com