Posted on 12 September 2019

This year's conference theme is Inclusive education systems: futures, fallacies and finance.

The Education and Development Forum, provides a proactive forum for universities, non-governmental organisations, consultancy groups and professional associations to share ideas, knowledge and expertise. Andy Brock is on the Board of Trustees and Sharon Tao, one of our senior education advisers, is a member of the Executive Committee.

Cambridge Education is a lead sponsor of the conference and our colleagues and project partners will be taking part in a number of sessions and talks, highlighting some of our work worldwide and discussing key education issues such as teacher development, girls' education, and delivering sustainable programmes.

Two of our assistant project managers will be tweeting from the conference. Follow @chloebritt_ and @GracemApm for live updates.

You can find out more about the conference on UKFIET's website

Innovative thinking for complex educational challenges

Posted on 10 September 2019

The issues raised in these Think Pieces aims to broaden expertise and knowledge, stimulate dialogue and encourage new ways of thinking to address significant educational challenges facing the region.

Whilst rooted in evidence, these think pieces are not research papers, evidence briefs or literature reviews; instead, they are concise, engaging and provocative pieces that aim to stimulate debate and challenge the status quo.

This Think Piece series, developed in collaboration with Cambridge Education, provides sharp analysis and innovative, pragmatic and at times provocative strategies to address the following ten issues:

1. Girls’ education

2. Pre-primary education

3. Parents and caregivers

4. Teacher performance

5. Curriculum reform

6. Accountability and the Delivery Approach

7. Inclusive education

8. School improvement

9. Learner-centred education

10. Delivering education in emergencies


Getting the numbers right in Eastern Uganda

Posted on 06 September 2019

“The teachers were not coming every day,” recalls 14-year-old Claire Nandutu. “When we asked the headteacher where the teachers were, she said they were sick. I felt bad when they didn’t come. But when we entered the new term, they started coming back.”

In 2019, the Strengthening Education Systems for Improved Learning (SESIL) programme has supported 900 schools to improve data monitoring routines. Implemented by Cambridge Education, this four-year UK aid-funded education programme works with the government to improve the quality and equity of measurable learning outcomes at lower primary level in Uganda.

SESIL has trained 1,844 headteachers, school management committees chairpersons and senior assistant secretaries (Sub-County Chiefs) from the West Nile and Eastern Uganda regions to build a common understanding of the Managing for Results (M4R) approach.

M4R seeks to strengthen routine data collection around the five complementary core drivers for improved learning: increased time spent by the teacher in school, improved pupil attendance, increased time spent by pupils in learning, children are safe in and around school, and schools are effectively led as places of learning.

The participants were taken through data collection, analysis and visualisation techniques to help them set up routines for monitoring progress. They were supported to interpret the results, make decisions aimed at accelerating progress, and track actions taken in relation to the identified barriers.

Impact at scale

In the 2018 Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), Sironko district was ranked 109 out of 120 districts. Out of its over 4,500 candidates, 1.96% attained Division One while 67% failed mathematics and there was no pupil that excelled in English. The district leadership attributed this poor performance to lapses in school inspections and monitoring.

“For learning to take place it must be monitored and SESIL has several activities that ensure this,” explained Moses Nambalee, the District Education Officer (DEO) in Sironko. “You think teaching and learning are going on when it's not. But if someone goes there to check on what is happening and verify that an activity is going on, then learning will happen,” he added.

SESIL also introduced a diagnostics process that helps schools, districts and local government stakeholders to understand the causes of entrenched problems. They are then empowered to own the response.

The new methods included monthly line graphs that identify daily trends in teacher attendance and time-on-task. These were proposed as an alternative to the previous tabulated attendance charts used by the schools that were compiled annually, making it difficult to track performance in real-time.

“SESIL has impacted teachers positively,” said Sister Hellen Akongai, headteacher at Nampanga Primary School. “They now arrive on time by 8am in the morning. There was also a challenge around timetable compliance. But with the training that we received, teachers are now being monitored to adhere to the time table and engage pupils more.”

Nampanga recently registered an average of 95% teacher attendance. “Teachers are improving,” added Sister Hellen. “They know that if they don’t do it, the graph is waiting.”