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ISSN 1554-2262


 

Volume 3, Issue 3: General Issues

The challenge of evaluating a project to support education for orphans and vulnerable children. The case of the AVSI OVC Program in the Great Lakes Region - Africa.

Lucia Castelli, Associazione Volontari per Il Servizio Internationale
Francesca Oliva, Associazione Volontari per Il Servizio Internationale
Giancarlo Rovati, Associazione Volontari per Il Servizio Internationale
Jackie Aldrette, Associazione Volontari per Il Servizio Internationale

Training is a central feature of most social sector development efforts. This paper examines the impact of training against the backdrop of the Education Sector Reforms Assistance (ESRA) program and draws the conclusion that without attending to the demand-side factors of training that: a) make public sector personnel seek out professional development opportunities that will enhance their job performance; and b) ensure that what they learn is actually utilized on behalf of better job performance—the impact will be of minimal value to the sector it was intended to improve. Donors and donor-country parliaments must take the long view and the political risks necessary to help put into place these critical demand-side factors.

Complete article in PDF


Citizenship Education in Egyptian Public Schools: What Values to Teach and in which Administrative and Political Contexts?

Pakinaz E. Baraka, Misr University for Sciences & Technology

The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) in Egypt has recently recognized the negative consequences of low political involvement of youth in public life. These have caused violence and instability. For this, the NDP has placed citizenship programs in the forefront of its political agenda. The latter acknowledges the roles of several societal institutions such as media, civil society, religion, and family. Nevertheless, it has neglected the role of educational institutions. This article claims that schools remain a main vehicle for the transmission of democratic values and focuses on the role of social studies curriculum to promote these values. It highlights the various issues that face Egyptian policy makers and educators in the preparation and implementation of a curriculum geared to promote democratic citizenship concepts.

Complete article in PDF


Creating an Opportunity to Learn through Complementary Models of Education

Audrey Schuh Moore, Academy for Educational Development
Joseph DeStefano, Center for Collaboration and the Future of Schooling
John Gillies, Academy for Educational Development

The challenge of meeting the goals of Education for All focuses on the fact that conventional approaches to primary schooling have little chance of providing a high proportion of out-of-school and/or hard to reach children with an opportunity to learn. Sixteen years after Jomtien, between 77 and 115 million children remain out of school and the challenges of meeting EFA are well documented. The rising costs of educational inputs, which increased the unit costs of conventional approaches to education, make it difficult to reach the rural poor in resource constrained environments. Teacher recruitment and retention impact the ability of Ministries of Education to staff isolated schools and the schools that do exist are often too far from communities for children to attend. The international donor community is beginning to recognize that without changing how educational opportunities are delivered in many developing countries, the goals of Education for All will not be achieved.

In 2004, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Educational Quality Improvement Program 2 (EQUIP2) began investigating community-based schools as a mechanism for providing underserved populations with an opportunity to learn. The team identified nine models that successfully organized schooling in regions least served by the formal education system. These nine models work in support of the formal public system, offering students an opportunity to learn by ensuring that teachers are present in the classrooms, communities are engaged in the learning and governance process; that materials are available to help students learn; and that the school is located within a short distance from where students live. Over time, the models have increased rates of attendance, completion, and learning among the populations they serve.

This paper draws on the findings from the nine case studies and its original synthesis paper of successful complementary education programs in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mali, and Zambia. The findings demonstrate why these programs are able to more effectively organize an opportunity to learn for these underserved through adjustments in school size and location, curriculum and language of instruction, school management and governance arrangements, and teaching staff and instructional support services. Detailed findings from each country as well as the results of the cost-effectiveness research are available in the EQUIP2 Meeting EFA Case Studies series.

Complete article in PDF


Improving Education Quality and Access in Colombia through innovation and participation: The Escuela Nueva Model

Vicky Colbert, Co author of Escuela Nueva and Founder and Director of Escuela Nueva Foundation

Lack of quality education is one of Latin America's great blights, however pockets of excellence exist that serve as inspiration for the future. The Escuela Nueva model, which has proven to be an effective model for primary education, now benefits over 5 million children in 14 countries.

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Educational Marginalization of Cham Muslim Populations: A Report from Cambodia

Kurt Bredenberg, Kampuchean Action for Primary Education

The present study was undertaken with support from Save the Children/Sweden and EQUIP 1 to assess the degree to which the Cham ethnic minority in Cambodia is able to access educational services from the state school system. The study recounts the enormous progress that Cambodia's educational system has made in recent years but also the difficulty for expectations to keep pace with what is actually happening in the country. This speaks to increasing pressures on the educational system, under resourcing, and the sensitivities that surround the issue of minority rights and bilingual education. The study also describes the situational context of the minority setting in Cambodia as well as specific problems in the formal education sector as they relate to the stated target group.

Because the state school system does not collect student data that is disaggregated by either minority or migratory status, researchers found it necessary to explore research questions relating to educational access by looking mostly at information provided by projects of limited scope that are active in the province, as well as data generated from attitudinal surveys among target groups. Thus, many conclusions are highly inferential in nature. For example, researchers found that districts with large Cham populations also demonstrate the lowest levels of educational efficiency. It was also found that Cham parents have clear expectations with regards to their children's education and that these frequently relate to instruction in and about their native language, the tenets of Islam, and the importance that attaches to the ability of teachers to be able to speak the Cham language; expectations that are not generally met by state schools. With selected survey data indicating that only about 1% of state teachers are of Cham ethnicity, even in heavily populated Cham areas, there is a potentially great problem in terms of disaffection between the Cham community and the state schools. This situation would explain the increasing prominence of Islamic schools in the province, which are not closely regulated by state authorities. Researchers expressed concern for what appears to be the emergence of a parallel school system for the Cham minority, which could threaten the nation-building function of state schools. At the same time, it was also found that attitudes of the Chams towards mainstream Cambodian society and their own culture are complex. On the one hand, the Chams want to blend into Cambodian society and pretend that they are actually Khmer in most respects except for their religion. Yet, the fact remains that they do not speak Khmer as a first language with their children so that when they attend state schools dominated by ethnic Khmer teachers and curriculum, they have to struggle; nor do most Chams prefer to live in Khmer villages, which mutes assimilation. Thus, the challenge for any program is to address distinct cultural and language needs while maintaining a fiction that they are not culturally different from the majority ethnic group.

Complete article in PDF

The opinions and findings presented in this publication are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID.