Consultation now closed

This consultation is closed as from 25th January 2013. Thank you everyone for your contributions.

Please check our website, for further developments related to the Global Monitoring Report 2013.

Summary of #teachandlearn consultation – and request for more!

We would like to thank everybody for their contributions to the consultation over the past month. As we see some are still keen to contribute, we are extending the consultation period until 25th January. We look forward to hearing from you!

Below is a summary of some key issues raised so far during the consultation – these are by no means exhaustive, so please do take a look at the rich contributions.

Stocktaking progress, the place of education in the post-2015 agenda and linkages between education and broader development outcomes.

  • Not all the MDGs have yet been met. A thorough review should be conducted to understand, as much as is possible, which have not yet been met, why, and whether they are still valid ‘targets’ for continued progress towards. Country and regional level evaluation of progress towards the MDGs and Education for All could lead to more focused goals going forward, tailored to both national and local level development needs.
  • An overreliance of student learning assessments as an accountability tool for policy makers. A focus on measurable aspects (mostly in mathematics and reading) may lead  valuing what we measure rather than measuring what we value – consequently creating pressures on education systems to focus their resources on measurable indicators, reducing scope and value of the whole curriculum and teachers autonomy.
  • On the other hand, commentators also mentioned that while many important learning outcomes are difficult or undesirable to measure it is also important to respond to the problems of standardised testing with efforts to improve how we do measure what students learn. A ‘global learning goal’ may be a blunt instrument with certain risks attached, but also offers to galvanise efforts to improve education quality, if properly adapted to context.
  • Some proposed that education – and the monitoring and implementation of the EFA agenda – should be framed in a rights based approach and as an end in itself.
  • Some commentators argued that what is lacking is a comprehensive framework for analysing and assessing resourcing and performance in the context of the capacity of low income countries to achieve equitable education. Others noted that equality does not mean one size fits all, and that equality is only achieved when solutions are tailored to meet country circumstances and context.

Teaching and learning

  • Commentators agreed that teacher quality has a strong impact on student learning, but raised questions about the effective ways in which teachers’ performance can be improved to achieve this end.    Other contributors questioned the degree to which teachers can be appropriately incentivised and teaching performance accurately measured. Others also argued that the use of student performance data to draw conclusions about teachers “effectiveness” may invariably lead to teachers ‘teaching to the test’ thereby undermine broader learning outcomes. To avert this, some suggested that greater attention should be given to improving teacher training to encourage creativity and innovation among teachers, rather than the use of uniform performance assessment frameworks and pay incentives.
  • Although there are large teacher shortages, particularly in less developed regions, some commentators warned against using cheaper and unqualified teachers to fill the gap, pointing out those countries that have resorted to massive hiring of untrained and unqualified teachers have seen few returns in regard to learning outcomes. In addition to salary levels, they pointed to the need for policymakers to address factors which make teaching an undesirable profession (particularly in rural areas), such as poor working conditions and school infrastructure, crowded classrooms, and lack of pedagogical support. Other commentators noted that improved learning outcomes can take place in a context of short formal instructional hours and relatively low teacher salaries in public education systems if linked to appropriate governance and management structures, as the case of Vietnam demonstrates.
  • More broadly, commentators suggested that the report should highlight the positive contribution that teacher organisations can make to teacher improvement and general education reforms.
  • A few commentators observed that in some cases private schools achieve higher learning outcomes among students than their public counterparts, and that this called for greater participation between the two.  But others argued that the wide differences among private schools in terms of curricula, infrastructure, and teaching staff, and that private schooling, even low-fee paying ones can reproduce inequalities.
  • A point was made that teaching methods should incorporate research from cognitive neuroscience on basic skills, particularly for lower income countries and sections of society.
  • Another point made by many commentators is that, lack of proficiency in the medium of instruction on the part of both learners and teachers is a crucial factor which can depress school achievement. Where curriculum allows students to build upon their existing knowledge and ensures its relevance to their lives, quality education can become more equitable and ensure that learning outcomes improve for all.

We value further contributions to these debates, and other issues outlined in our concept note. We particularly welcome contributions in the following areas:

  • examples of education programmes and policies where improvements in equitable learning have supported better development outcomes, including in areas such  as in political participation, civil engagement, social empowerment, environmental awareness.
  • examples of countries that have managed to improve equitable access to quality education, and in particular how such systems have managed to provide high quality teachers (formally or informally trained) to schools in rural or socio-economically disadvantaged areas. We welcome examples from programmes that have supported teachers who have been recruited without having received professional training to improve their practice and so positively impact learning.
  • teacher unions can play a positive role in teacher development, and teachers themselves can play an important role in policy reform that benefits equitable learning – we are interested in information on approaches that have been adopted in different countries to ensure their active participation.

GMR 2013: Teaching and Learning for Development

Teaching and Learning for Development: Share your views on the 2013 EFA Global Monitoring Report [If you are not comfortable writing in English, you can post in any other UN language (русский, 中文, français, العربية, Español) and we'll translate it for you]

The 2013 Education for All Global Monitoring Report will show why education is pivotal for development in a rapidly changing world. It will explain how investing wisely in teachers, and other reforms aimed at strengthening equitable learning, transform the long-term prospects of people and societies.

We are keen to hear your views on the topic, and so are running an on-line consultation for four weeks beginning on November 26. The GMR team is particularly keen to hear your thoughts on the focus and potential messages of the Report in the three areas noted below, and possible data analysis and case studies that could provide good examples on issues to be addressed. The views of researchers, teachers, governments, non-governmental organizations, aid donors, and anyone with an interest in education and development are extremely welcome. The team would also appreciate advice on data and research which can help inform the Report.

Please post your contributions as comments to this blog, providing web links to research reports, policy papers, evaluations, and other documents or datasets which you think would be useful for the GMR team.

If you would rather email your comments, or have attachments of documents or data that you would like to share with the GMR team, please send them directly to efareport@unesco.org with #teachandlearn as a subject heading.

As this note (also available in French and Spanish) outlines, through a review of existing research and innovative data analysis, the 2013 Report will provide evidence-based policy recommendations in three inter-connected parts:

  • Part 1 will provide the annual stocktake on progress towards the six Education for All goals. With just two years until the goals expire, it will review the relevance of the goals for a post-2015 education framework. In particular, it will assess the potential for equity-based targets post-2015.
  • Part 2 will present data in new and innovative ways to show how more education and better learning for all children and young people, regardless of their background, whether their gender, wealth or where they live, contributes to a broad range of development outcomes. It will identify in particular the relationship between education and development outcomes that are anticipated to be part of the international agenda after 2015.
  • Part 3 will explain how investing wisely in teachers, and other reforms aimed at strengthening equitable learning, can transform the long-term prospects of people and societies.

Thank you for your time and interest in our Report – we look forward to hearing from you!

Also join us on twitter via @efareport and #teachandlearn

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