Implementing education quality in low income countries

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EdQual is a five year research programme consortium funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfID). It is one of three Research Programme Consortia in the field of education with the other two focusing on issues of access to education and outcomes from education. The aim of the RPC is to generate new knowledge to assist governments in low income countries, DFID and the international development community to implement initiatives that will improve the quality of education in ways that will benefit the poorest people in the world and will promote gender equity. The main focus for the programme is on the African continent. The consortium is led by the University of Bristol and other partners are the Universities of Bath (UK), the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (SA), Cape Coast (Ghana), Dar El Salaam (Tanzania) and the Kigali Institute of Education (Rwanda). Despite the African focus, the RPC is also intended to have a more global reach and this is reflected in the inclusion of two associate partners, namely, the Aga Khan University (Pakistan) and in the Universidad de La Frontera (Chile). There are five main research projects in the areas of school effectiveness, language and literacy, ICTs in basic education, implementing science and maths curriculum change and leadership and management for quality improvement with three smaller scale projects. Whilst the school effectiveness project uses multilevel modelling to perform secondary analysis of the SACMEQ II data set, the remaining projects are intervention studies based on action research methodologies.

Overarching findings from EdQual research includ the importance of:

  •  Suitably trained experienced and motivated teachers;
  •  Headteachertraining;
  • Appropriate textbooks and learning materials;
  • Investing in basic infrastructure and resources including ICTs;
  • School feeding, child health and early childhood development;
  • Effective assessment, monitoring and evaluation;
  • A relevant and inclusive curriculum and pedagogy;
  • Medium of instruction;
  • Effective school, Home and community links.
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