Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Qatar. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Qatar. Mostrar todas las entradas

Girls' education: Lessons from BRAC (Bangladesh)

Rosa María Torres




I learned about BRAC and got in contact with its education programme while working as a senior education adviser at UNICEF's Education Cluster in New York, in the early 1990s. From the start, I became fascinated with BRAC's 'non-formal primary school' concept. This programme, initiated in 1985 with 22 schools, attempted to address the needs of the poorest sectors in Bangladesh, especially in rural areas. The specific aim was to attract girls, who were mostly absent from schools.

I visited Bangladesh twice, in 1993 and in 1995, and had the opportunity to see BRAC's non-formal primary schools in action. Together with Manzoor Ahmed, UNICEF Programme Director at the time, we wrote a dossier called Reaching the Unreached: Non-formal approaches and universal primary education, (UNICEF, 1993). BRAC's non-formal education programme was one of the experiences included in the dossier. BRAC's programme was also included in Education for All: Making It Work - Innovation Series organized jointly by UNICEF and UNESCO right after the Jomtien Conference on Education for All (1990). Dieter Berstecher (UNESCO Paris) and I (UNICEF New York) coordinated the project. (In 2000, 10 years after the Jomtien conference, the series was transferred from UNESCO Headquarters to PROAP, in Bangkok. See issue No.14 dedicated to Lok Jumbish, in India).

One thing that astonished me was the basic and pragmatic wisdom with which BRAC was developing the programme. The first step was conducting a survey to find out why parents were not sending their daughters to school. Three major reasons came out: 1) the school journey was too long (they needed girls to help at home with domestic chores); 2) teachers were mostly men (parents expressed they would feel more comfortable if there were female teachers in the schools); and 3) the school - when available - was too distant from home.

Acknowledging parents' expressed needs, BRAC acted accordingly. The design of the programme adopted three key measures:

1) shortening the school journey (3 hours a day), rethinking the entire school calendar (more months in school, no long holidays), and adjusting the curriculum to fit those time arrangements (the idea is to complete the nation's five-year primary school cycle in four years);

2) identifying women in the local communities and providing them with some basic initial training so that they could act as teachers; and

3) building schools that were closer to home. 

BRAC's non-formal primary schools were the simplest and nicest schools I had seen in poor rural areas. One-room schools built with local materials, with the help of the community. Bright, clean, colorful. Small mats on the floor for the children, a medium-sized chalkboard, posters and visual aids all around.

Children walked shorter distances to school and remained there only for 3 hours a day, so they could continue to help at home.

There were few women in the communities with a teacher certificate, so BRAC selected in each community women with the highest school level (often primary education) and interested in teaching, and trained them. Initially with a 12-day course, later complemented with monthly refresher courses and yearly orientation courses.

This is how BRAC managed to include girls who would otherwise have never attended school. By the time I visited BRAC the NFE programme was already a 'success story' attracting attention not only in Bangladesh but worldwide. Since then BRAC has continued to grow - it is today "the worlds' largest development organization" - and its education programme became a full education system. It remains free of charge. It reached also urban slums, it incorporated e-learning and it includes now a university and a network of mobile libraries. In terms of learning results, BRAC's NFE schools do not lag behind government formal schools; on the contrary, their results are ahead of the country average.
Some data for BRAC's  non-formal primary schools (January 2017):
14,153 schools
389,910 students, of whom 62.17% are girls
5.3 million students completed courses, of which 60.43% are girls
5.55 million students transferred to formal schools to date, of which 60.12% are girls
14,153 teachers
BRAC's education programme has received numerous international awards, one of them the prestigious WISE Prize from the Qatar Foundation in 2011. I was happy to be in Doha, attending the WISE event, when Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, BRAC's founder and director, received the prize.

Girls' education remains a major issue worldwide, starting with early childhood and primary education. The problem continues to pose old and new challenges. Diagnoses and studies multiply, debates and fora repeat often what is already known, there is hunger for more data. In the middle of all that, I often remember BRAC's long and fruitful experience, its pragmatic wisdom, its short, medium and long-term vision, its consultation with families and communities, its permanent interest to connect with local needs and realities.

In times when everything seems to start from scratch and anything can be considered an innovation, it is essential to look back and learn from experience.

Related texts in this blog
» Aprender a lavarse las manos
» WISE Prize for Education Laureates: Bottom-up Innovators
» Kazi, the graceless | Kazi, el sin gracia
 
 

Los Laureados con el Premio WISE a la Educación


"El Premio WISE a la Educación es la primera distinción en su clase en reconocer a una persona o a un equipo de hasta seis personas, por una contribución destacada a la educación en el mundo. Establecido en 2011 por Su Excelencia Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Presidenta de la Fundación Qatar, el Premio fija su estándar de excelencia en educación, confiriéndole el mismo estatus que otras áreas para las cuales existen premios, tales como literatura, paz y economía. Los Laureados reciben un premio monetario de USD 500,000 y una medalla de oro. El Laureado con el Premio es considerado un modelo y un embajador de la educación a nivel global." (Nuestra traducción del original en inglés).


¿Cuáles son las innovaciones educativas que llaman la atención de la comunidad educativa global en el momento actual? Los cuatro primeros ganadores del Premio WISE a la Educación (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) y sus respectivos programas comparten varias características. Una de ellas: son innovadores e innovaciones de abajo hacia arriba, que empezaron pequeñas y locales, se hicieron nacionales y luego se han expandido a nivel internacional a lo largo de un período sostenido de tiempo. Mi conocimiento personal de dos de estos programas - BRAC y Escuela Nueva - a través de visitas, investigación y seguimiento por varios años, me permite un mejor acercamiento a la naturaleza y al proceso seguido por estos modelos educativos. 


BRAC - Bangladesh
El Premio WISE 2011 a la Educación fue otorgado a Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, fundador y director de BRAC, "la organización de desarrollo más grande del mundo".

Creada en 1972 en una aldea rural remota, BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee- Comité Bangladeshi para el Desarrollo Rural) llega hoy a cerca de 135 millones de personas en 11 países en Asia y Africa, así como en Haití, en el Caribe. 

BRAC es una ONG no vinculada únicamente a la educación. Su enfoque holístico y multifacético de desarrollo abarca varias áreas y temas: microfinanzas, educación, servicios de salud, servicios legales, empoderamiento comunitario, y empresas sociales. La educación ha sido un área clave y muy exitosa.

Las llamadas Escuelas Primarias No-Formales del BRAC, que se hicieron internacionalmente famosas en los 1990s, se han expandido como un modelo viable y replicable de educación primaria. En todos estos años, BRAC ha desarrollado un sistema educativo completo, que incluye hoy la Universidad BRAC.

WISE Jury and Committee


Pratham - India
El Premio WISE 2012 a la Educación fue otorgado al Dr. Madhav Chavan, co-fundador y director de Pratham, la ONG más grande de la India dedicada a la educación.

La misión de Pratham se resume como "Cada niño en la escuela y aprendiendo bien". Fue creada en 1994 con el fin de asegurar educación pre-escolar a niños que viven en tugurios de Mumbai. Voluntarios comunitarios fueron reclutados, capacitados, provistos de materiales de enseñanza, y alentados a organizar clases en cualquier espacio disponible en la comunidad (templos, oficinas, domicilios particulares, etc.). Pratham Balwadis (clases de pre-escolar) se multiplicaron en otras localidades.

Hoy, Pratham llega a millones de niños y niñas en áreas rurales y urbanas en 19 de los 28 estados del país, con desarrollo infantil, apoyo escolar para niños dentro y fuera de la escuela, reinserción de niños en el sistema escolar, clases de computación, capacitación vocacional para jóvenes y programas especiales para niños trabajadores y vulnerables. En 2002-2003, Pratham adoptó un enfoque de área (intervención en toda la comunidad).

La Técnica Aprender a Leer (L2R) de Pratham es una técnica de aprendizaje acelerado destinada a enseñar a leer en 4-8 semanas a niños que están tanto dentro como fuera de la escuela. El Informe Anual de Estado del Arte de la Educación (Annual Status of Education Report - ASER), facilitado por Pratham, es la encuesta más grande realizada en la India por personas externas al gobierno. Registra matrícula así como niveles de lectura y artitmética en niños de 6 a 14 años.   

WISE Jury and Committee

Escuela Nueva - Colombia

El Premio WISE 2013 a la Educación fue otorgado a Vicky Colbert, fundadora y directora de la Fundación Escuela Nueva, y co-creadora (junto con el profesor Oscar Mogollón) del modelo Escuela Nueva (EN) en sus inicios. EN se inició como proyecto local en 1975 (inspirada en la Escuela Unitaria de la UNESCO), cubriendo unas pocas escuelas públicas en áreas rurales, y pasando luego a ser un programa regular dentro del Ministerio de Educación de Colombia.

En 1985, EN fue adoptada por el gobierno colombiano como política nacional para universalizar la educación primaria en las áreas rurales.  EN ha mostrado que la escuela multigrado o unidocente (uno o dos profesores a cargo de todos los alumnos y niveles en una sola aula de clase), si se le dan condiciones apropiadas y es tratada como sistema multigrado, puede convertirse en una alternativa de calidad antes que en una "solución temporaria para los pobres".

De hecho: Colombia ha sido el único país en América Latina en que los estudiantes en áreas rurales han logrado mejores resultados escolares que en las areas urbanas, según las pruebas aplicadas por el Laboratorio Latinoamericano de Evaluación de la Calidad de la Educación (LLECE) coordinado por la oficina regional de la UNESCO. EN también ha mostrado que, incluso con muchos problemas y altibajos, es posible desarrollar una innovación significativa dentro de las estructuras gubernamentales y de la educación formal.

La Fundación Escuela Nueva fue creada en 1987 a fin de ayudar a fortalecer el programa, adaptarlo a las áreas urbanas, y expandirlo fuera de Colombia (el modelo EN se ha experimentado en 16 países). A lo largo de los años, EN ha recibido numerosos premios internacionales, incluido un Premio WISE en 2009.

WISE Jury and Committee


CAMFED - Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania y Malawi

El Premio WISE 2014 a la Educación
fue otorgado a Ann Cotton, ciudadana británica fundadora de CAMFED.
"Cuando se educa a una niña en Africa, todo cambia. Ella tendrá tres veces menos posibilidades de adquirir VIH/SIDA, ganará 25 por ciento más y tendrá una familia más pequeña y saludable".
Camfed es una organización internacional sin fines de lucro que trabaja en las comunidades rurales más pobres de Africa SubSahariana. Se propone romper con el círculo vicioso de la pobreza y la enfermedad en zonas rurales, apoyando a las niñas para que vayan a la escuela y tengan éxito en ella, y empoderando a mujeres jóvenes para que puedan convertirse en agentes y líderes de cambio.

Desde 1993, Camfed viene trabajando en Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania y Malawi apoyando a más de 1.202.000 estudiantes para que asistan a educación primaria y secundaria. Más de 3 millones de niñas se han beneficiado del programa. Las niñas son seleccionadas por la comunidad, de entre las más necesitadas. Camfed las apoya a lo largo de su desarrollo, desde la escuela primaria hasta la vida adulta.

En cada país, Camfed trabaja a través de los sistemas nacionales y locales - con padres de familia, profesores, autoridades del gobierno y autoridades tradicionales. No crea un sistema paralelo. Los programas son pensados, administrados y monitoreados por la comunidad, y en todas las oficinas de Camfed en Africa el personal es nacional de cada país. 

La Asociación de Alumnas de Camfed (Camfed Alumnae Association - CAMA) es hoy una red pan-Africana con a 24.436-miembros. Ellas reciben capacitación en salud, finanzas y manejo de tecnologías, así como en desarrollo de negocios y emprendimiento. A su vez, ellas ayudan a niñas vulnerables para que permanezcan en la escuela, y enseñan salud y finanzas a más de 150.000 estudiantes y miembros de la comunidad en sus respectivos países. Los valores de Camfed son: 1. Foco en la niña, 2. Involucrar a la comunidad, y 3. Operar programas transparentes y responsables. El modelo de Camfed ha sido reconocido como buena práctica por la OCDE, por establecer estándares de gobernanza, sustentatbilidad y desarrollo en una innovación a escala.

WISE Jury and Committee



¿Qué tienen en común estos programas educativos? 


Dos de ellos están en Asia, en dos de los "países más populosos del mundo", donde los problemas educativos son masivos y extremadaente complejos. Otro está en América Latina, en la comparativamente pequeña Colombia, conocida por su historia de violencia, inequidad social y conflicto. Otro en Africa Sub-Sahariana (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania y Malawi), posiblemente la subregión con más desafíos sociales y educativos en el mundo. Todos ellos "países en desarrollo" muy diferentes, cada uno de ellos único y muy específico dentro de su propia región. 

Los cuatro programas: 

» Tienen una larga historia y un largo proceso detrás
: BRAC se inició en 1972, Escuela Nueva en 1975, Camfed en 1993, Pratham en 1994.

» Empezaron como proyectos locales y pequeños antes de expandirse y convertirse en modelos nacionales y luego internacionales. El enfoque de abajo hacia arriba, junto al esfuerzo de largo plazo, han sido claves en su éxito y sustentabilidad.

» Emergieron como alternativas educativas para los pobres y para algunos de los grupos más desaventajados en sus respectivas sociedades. BRAC, Escuela Nueva y Camfed echaron raíces en las zonas rurales. Sus modelos fueron diseñados para las condiciones específicas de las áreas rurales.

» Sirven a la infancia, con escuela primaria en BRAC y Escuela Nueva, desarrollo infantil y educación inicial en Pratham, y educación primaria y secundaria en Camfed. BRAC empezó centrándose en las niñas, dada la gran brecha de género en la matrícula y la asistencia a la educación primaria en Bangladesh en ese momento. Camfed se centra en niñas y mujeres jóvenes.

» Se expandieron gradualmente
más allá de sus visiones, misiones y alcances originales, prestando atención a las necesidades mostradas por la realidad y por el propio proceso de aprendizaje. Se aventuraron en nuevos campos, cubrieron otras edades y niveles. Todos ellos tienen clara la importancia de involucrar a los padres de familia, a las familias y a las comunidades, y han trabajado consistentemente en esa dirección.

» Se centran en asegurar lo básico:
lectura, escritura y cálculo, supervivencia, habilidades sociales y para la vida, empoderamiento familiar y comunitario.

» Dan gran importancia a la pedagogía y a la transformación pedagógica,
mucho más que a la infraestructura, la administración o las tecnologías.

»
Han sido desarrollados por ONGs, a excepción de Escuela Nueva, que fue desarrollada dentro de las estructuras del Ministerio de Educación. En este caso, la ONG ha jugado un papel fundamental de acompañamiento, sostenimiento y promoción de la innovación. Camfed es una ONG internacional.

» Bajo costo:
Aprovechan las ventajas de todos los recursos humanos y materiales disponibles en la escuela, en la familia y en la comunidad. 

» Han recibido apoyo de varias agencias internacionales, especialmente de las Naciones Unidas, así como del Banco Mundial y otros bancos y organismos regionales. También del sector privado.

»
Han recibido gran reconocimiento tanto a nivel nacional como internacional. 

» Tienen un perfil tecnológico bajo. Las tecnologías no son el factor clave. Las personas, la participación, el voluntariado, la relación escuela-comunidad, y la transformación pedagógica están en el centro. 

Ver también en este blog
Rosa María Torres and Manzoor Ahmed, Reaching the Unreached: Non-formal Approaches and Universal Primary Education  
Rosa María Torres, Escuela Nueva: An innovation within formal education (Colombia)
Rosa María Torres, "Antes, aquí era Escuela Vieja" (Colombia)
Rosa María Torres, On Innovation and Change in Education 
Rosa María Torres, Un día en la vida de un niño rural (Colombia)
Rosa María Torres, Escuela multigrado, ¿escuela de segunda?  

WISE Prize for Education Laureates: Bottom-up Innovators


Rosa María Torres


(Texto en español: Los Laureados con el Premio WISE a la Educación)


2011 WISE Prize for Education Laureate:
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed (Bangladesh)

2012 WISE Prize Laureate:

Dr. Madhav Chavan (India). Interview.
 
2013 WISE Prize for Education Laureate:

Vicky Colbert (Colombia)
. Interview.

2014 WISE Prize for Education Laureate:
Ann Cotton (UK) - Interview

"The WISE Prize for Education is the first distinction of its kind to recognize an individual or a team of up to six people working together for an outstanding, world-class contribution to education. Established in 2011 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, the WISE Prize for Education sets the standard for excellence in education, giving it similar status to other areas for which international prizes already exist, such as literature, peace and economics. The Laureate receives a monetary prize of $500,000 (US) and a gold medal. The WISE Prize for Education Laureate is honored as a global role model and ambassador for education."


What are the educational innovations that draw the attention of the global education community at this point in time? The first four winners of the WISE Prize for Education (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) and their respective education programs share several common characteristics. One of them: they are bottom-up innovators and innovations, that have started small and local, have become national and later expanded internationally over a long and sustained period of time. My personal knowledge of two of them, BRAC and Escuela Nueva, through study visits, research and follow up over many years, provides some insights into the specific nature and process of these inspiring educational models and experiences.   


BRAC - Bangladesh

The 2011 WISE Prize for Education was awarded to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairman of BRAC, "the largest development organization in the world." Created in 1972 in a remote rural village, BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) reaches today nearly 135 million people in 11 countries in Asia and Africa, and also in Haiti in the Caribbean.

BRAC is not only an education-related NGO. Its holistic and multifaceted approach to development covers various areas and issues: microfinance, education, healthcare, legal services, community empowerment, and social enterprises. Education has been one of its key and most successful areas.

So-called BRAC Non-Formal Primary Schools, which became internationally renowned in the 1990s, have spread as a viable and replicable primary school model. Starting with ver modest primary schools, BRAC has developed a whole education system, that includes today BRAC University.

WISE Jury and Committee
 

Pratham - India

The 2012 WISE Prize for Education was awarded to Dr. Madhav Chavan, Co-founder and CEO of Pratham, the largest education NGO in India. Pratham's mission is "Every child in school and learning well". It was created in 1994 to provide pre-school education to children living in the slums of Mumbai. Community volunteers were recruited, trained, provided basic teaching-learning materials, and encouraged to organize classes in any space available in the communities (temples, offices, people’s houses, etc.).

Pratham Balwadis
(pre-school classes) multiplied in other locations. Today Pratham reaches millions of children in rural and urban areas in 19 of the country’s 28 states, through early childhood education, learning support to in-school and out-of-school children, mainstreaming of out-of-school children, computer literacy, vocational training for youth and special programs for vulnerable and working children.


An area approach (whole community interventions) was adopted in 2002-2003. Pratham’s Learn to Read (L2R) technique is an accelerated learning technique targeted at teaching both in-school and out-of-school children how to read in 4- 8 weeks. Facilitated by Pratham, The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is the largest survey undertaken in India by people outside the government. It measures the enrollment as well as the reading and arithmetic levels of children in the age group of 6-14 years.

WISE Jury and Committee


Escuela Nueva - Colombia

The 2013 WISE Prize for Education
was awarded to Vicky Colbert, founder and director of Fundación Escuela Nueva, and co-creator (together with Prof. Oscar Mogollón) of the Escuela Nueva (EN) model from its start.


EN was initiated as a local project in 1975, covering a few public schools in rural areas, and grew as a regular program within Colombia's Ministry of Education. In 1985, EN was adopted by the Colombian government as a national policy to universalize quality primary education in rural areas.

EN has shown that the multigrade school (one or two teachers in charge of all levels in a single classroom), if given appropriate conditions and treated as a multigrade system, can become a quality alternative rather than a "poor temporary solution for the poor". In fact, Colombia has been the only country in Latin America where students in rural areas have shown higher learning achievements than children in urban areas when UNESCO's LLECE tests were applied. EN has also shown that, even with many problems and ups and downs, radical and meaningful innovation can be developed within government structures and within formal, mainstream education.

The Escuela Nueva Foundation was created in 1987 in order to help strengthen the program, adapt it to urban areas, and expand it to other countries (the EN model has been experimented in 16 countries). Over the years, EN has received numerous international awards, including a WISE Award in 2009.

WISE Jury and Committee


CAMFED - Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi

The 2014 WISE Prize for Education was awarded to Ann Cotton, a UK citizen founder of CAMFED.
"When you educate a girl in Africa, everything changes. She’ll be three times less likely to get HIV/AIDS, earn 25 percent more income and have a smaller, healthier family."
Camfed is an international non-profit organisation that works in the poorest rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. It wants to break the cycle of poverty and disease in rural areas by supporting girls to go to school and succeed, and empowering young women to step up as agents of change. Since 1993, Camfed has been working in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi, supporting over 1,202,000 students to attend primary and secondary school. Over 3 million children have been benefited. They are selected by the community as being the most in need. Camfed supports them throughout their development, from primary school until adulthood.

In every country, Camfed works through national and local systems - with parents, teachers, government officials, and traditional authorities. It does not set up a parallel system. Programs are devised, managed, and monitored by the community, and all of Africa offices are staffed by nationals of that country.

The Camfed Alumnae Association (CAMA) is a pan-African network of Camfed graduates, currently with 24,436-members. They receive training in health, financial literacy and ICT, as well as business development and entrepreneurship. They, in turn, support vulnerable children to stay in school, and deliver health and financial literacy training to over 150,000 students and community members in their own countries.

Camfed's values are: 1. Focus on the Girl, 2. Involve the community, 3. Operate transparent, accountable programs. Camfed’s model has been recognised as best practice by the OECD for setting the standard for governance, sustainability and development innovation at scale.

WISE Jury and Committee

What do these four education programs have in common? 

Two of them are located in Asia, in two of the "nine most populous countries" on earth, where education issues and problems are massive and extremely complex. One is located in Latin America, in comparatively small Colombia, affected by long-term violence, social inequity and conflict. One works in Sub-Saharan Africa - Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi - where social and education challenges are extremely big. Very different "developing countries", each of them unique and specific within their own regions.

The four programs:

» Have a long history and process behind: BRAC started in 1972, Escuela Nueva in 1975, Camfed in 1993, Pratham in 1994.

» Started local and small
, before expanding and becoming national and later international models. This bottom-up approach, plus the long term effort, have been key to their sustainability and success.


»
Emerged as educational alternatives for the poor and some of the most disadvantaged groups in their respective societies. BRAC, Escuela Nueva and Camfed were rooted in rural areas. Their respective education models were tailored for the specific conditions of rural areas.


» Serve children, through primary education in the case of BRAC and Escuela Nueva, early childhood and pre-school education in the case of Pratham, and primary and secondary education in the case of Camfed. BRAC started targetting girls, given the huge gender gap in primary education enrollment and attendance in Bangladesh at that time. Camfed is devoted to girls and women.

» Expanded gradually
beyond their original visions, missions and scopes, paying attention to the needs revealed by reality and by the learning process itself. They ventured into new areas, covered new ages and levels. All of them were aware of the importance of involving parents, families and communities, and have worked consistently in that direction.


» Focus on ensuring the basics: reading, writing and numeracy, survival, life and social skills, family and community empowerment.

» Give great importance to pedagogy and to pedagogical transformation,
much more than to infrastructure, administration or technologies. They all adopt learner-centered pedagogies.

»
Have been developed by NGOs, with the exception of Escuela Nueva, which was built within the existing ministry of education structure. In this case, the NGO has played an indispensable role in accompanying, sustaining and promoting the innovation. Camfed is an international NGO.

» Are low cost
: they take advantage of all human and material resources available in the school, the family and the community.

»
Have been supported by several international agencies, especially from the United Nations as well as from the World Bank and other regional banks and organizations. Also by the private sector.

»
Have received much recognition both at national and international levels.

»
Curiously enough and worth noticing: all of them have a rather low technological profile. Technologies are not the driving force. Human beings, participation, volunteering, school-community relationship, pedagogical transformation, are the key.



See also:
Rosa María Torres and Manzoor Ahmed, Reaching the Unreached: Non-formal Approaches and Universal Primary Education  
Rosa María Torres, Escuela Nueva: An innovation within formal education (Colombia)
Rosa María Torres, "Antes, aquí era Escuela Vieja" (Colombia)
Rosa María Torres, On Innovation and Change in Education 
Rosa María Torres, The Green, the Blue, the Red and the Pink Schools
Rosa María Torres, On Learning Anytime, Anywhere (WISE 2011)
Rosa María Torres, Knowldedge-based international aid: Do we want it? Do we need it?

On Learning Anytime, Anywhere (WISE 2011)


Jaume Piensa
 Rosa-María Torres

This is a compilation of my interventions at the "Learning Anytime, Anywhere" session held at the World Summit on Innovation in Education (WISE 2011) in Doha, Qatar, 1-3 Nov. 2011.

The format adopted by WISE for the debates required no presentations by the speakers but individual questions posed by the Chair of the session as well as questions coming from the audience and through Twitter. This format favors flexibility and dynamism, but it also limits a more contextualized and holistic understanding of the speakers' viewpoints and backgrounds.

The text below is a reconstruction of the oral interventions. It may not reflect the exact words of such interventions, which were interspersed with those of the other speakers.

Four people participated in this debate #WISED34
:

 ▸ Graham Brown-Martin, Chair (Learning Without Frontiers, UK)
 ▸ François Taddei (Centre for Research and Interdisciplinarity at Paris Descartes University, France)

▸ Rosa-María Torres del Castillo (Fronesis, Ecuador)

▸ Ruth Wallace (Centre for Social Partnerships in Lifelong Learning, Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia)


What is Lifelong Learning (LLL)

Many people continue to associate LLL with adult education or to use it as equivalent to lifelong education or continuing education. The term itself, however, is selfdescriptive and should provide no room for confusion: Life Long Learning means learning throughout life, "from the cradle to the grave." This is, in the first place, a fact of life: learning is a continuum, lifelong and lifewide. Adopting LLL as a principle for policy formulation implies introducing major changes to the conventional education and training paradigms.

Awareness on LLL challenges the school-centered mentality. It looks beyond the school system and acknowledges the many other learning systems where we learn throughout life: home, community, the media, play, work, art, sports, social participation, the Internet and the virtual world, etc.

LLL also challenges the traditional focus on education and on teaching. Learning is the main concern, in and out of school. The main failure of the school system is precisely that there is lots of teaching but little learning taking place.

▸ See: Rosa María Torres, Lifelong Learning in the South: Critical Issues and Opportunities for Adult Education, Sida Studies 11, Sida, Stockholm, 2004.

What do international agencies understand as LLL? 

Most of the agencies that use this term continue to associate LLL with adults and adult education, rather than with a lifespan perspective.

In OECD countries, and specifically in Europe, LLL emerged as an education and training strategy to ensure the necessary "human resources" for economic development.

Beyond definitions and glossaries, it is important to look at the content of policies and programmes labelled LLL. In the case of the European Commission, for example, in spite of the rhetoric on informal learning, four out of the five benchmarks established in the LLL Programme 2000-2010 (see below) were related to formal education, from early childhood to higher education. "The decreasing levels of low-achieving 15-year olds in reading and falling levels of adult participation in learning are among the largest concerns."

The goals were not met, as acknowledged by the
evaluation released in Sep. 2011. Not only "developing" countries (the South) but also "developed" ones (the North) have problems to accomplish agreed education and learning agendas.


European Union: Lifelong Learning benchmarks for 2010
1. EU average rate of early school leavers to be no more than 10%;
2. Total number of graduates in mathematics, science and technology in the EU to increase by at least 15% (achieved in 2004), with a decreased gender imbalance in these fields;
3. At least 85% of 22-year-olds to have completed upper secondary education;
4. Percentage of 15-year-olds who are low-achieving in reading to have decreased by at least 20% compared to the year 2000;
5. Average participation in lifelong learning to be at least 12.5% of the adult working age population (age group of 25–64 year).

Poverty, creativity and innovation 

There is lots of talk about innovation, creativity and problem-solving as qualities and skills of the 21st century. Currently, innovation in education tends to be strongly associated with modern technologies -- as if there was no innovation before the emergence of ICTs! Visions of innovation are rather futuristic and sophisticated, requiring specialists, experts, etc.
However, the most creative and innovative people in the world are the poor. They are born problem-solvers. Otherwise, they would not be able to survive. Surprisingly, we do not see this mentioned. If we want to learn about innovation and creativity, we should get out there, observe and live with the poor for a while.

The challenge is how to make schools and other learning institutions places where the poor can enhance - rather than inhibit - their innovativeness, creativity and problem-solving skills and expand them to other domains beyond survival and daily life.

See: Rosa María Torres, On Innovation and Education

Testing does not necessarily reflect learning

Tests and testing are not necessarily the best ways to capture learning. Additionally, standardized tests deny diversity, assume the classical "one-size-fits-all" approach.

PISA
(Programme for International Student Assessment) tests, proposed by OECD and for OECD countries, do not match the realities, needs and aspirations of most young people in the South. Often, these and other tests tell us what our children and youth don´t know rather than what they know and are able to do.

"Developing countries" are very diverse and face very different realities than "developed countries", also heterogeneous. If PISA tests were prepared in non-OECD countries, reflecting our cultures and realities, how would 15-year-olds in OECD  countries do in such tests? Underprivileged children and youth develop strong survival skills - essential for life and increasingly important in today's world - that wealthy children and youth often do not need to develop, at least at an early age.

▸ See: Rosa María Torres, Repensando el entusiasmo evaluador y las pruebas PISA (Spanish)

The "global banking education model"

Paulo Freire characterized the conventional school system as "banking education": learners who are considered to know nothing and teachers who think they know everything, and who deposit knowledge in their heads like checks in a bank.

That banking education model has now become global, among others thanks to the expansion of ICTs. Global teachers located in the North and eager learners located in the South, mere consumers of information and knowledge produced elsewhere and whose only knowledge credited is "local wisdom".

Since it decided to become a "Knowledge Bank", the World Bank acts as a global teacher offering ready-to-use knowledge and strategies for "development". All we have to do in the South is get trained and assimilate that information.

The global banking model is such because it reproduces the traditional teaching model at a global scale - the world as a global classroom is a usual metaphor - but also because it is incarnated by a bank and its international partners.


Neuroscience and pro-age education and learning

Over the past years, neuroscience is contributing key new knowledge on topics we had only vague ideas of. A better understanding on how the brain works, at different ages and in different circumstances, shows the need to review many conventional stereotypes on education and learning.

Now we are confirming that all ages are good to learn, and that each age has its own cognitive possibilities and limitations.

Within a LLL framework, and based on ongoing results from neuroscience research, I am developing the concept of "pro-age education and learning": let us allow each person - children, young people, adults, the elderly - to learn according to their age, rather than fighting against their age.

Unfortunately, neuroscience research and results are not reaching the population at large, not even teacher education institutions, policy makers, journalists, etc. 

▸ See: Rosa María Torres, Child learning and adult learning revisited 

The Basarwa in Botswana

I would like to tell you a story from Botswana. While working there with the Ministry of Education, back in the 1990s, I heard about an indigenous group called the Basarwa. They were well known because they rejected schooling. I got interested in understanding why. The explanation was simple: the Basarwa have seen or heard that schools punish children. In their culture, children's punishment does not exist. Adults relate to children through dialogue, not through fear. Parents love, take care and respect their children. Basarwa parents may be unschooled, but they are wise.

See: Rosa María Torres, Children of the Basarwa Niños Basarwa

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...