Post-2015 education framework: Net enrolment

Following mounting pressure and 2015 being just around the corner, the Global Campaign for Education has released its framework for the education sustainable development goal (SDG). The SDG’s have been proposed as a continuation/improvement on the flawed Millennium Development 2 (MDG2) and Education for All goals. The SDG framework for education post-2015 addresses some of the issues found in MDG2 but is not without its flaws. This blog series will seek to break down the proposed framework.

Net enrolment still being used as a target: Perhaps the most discussed and criticised indicator of MDG2 was its use of net enrolment into a course of basic education for all children globally as an indicator of success. We have seen time and time again that enrolment is not indicative of learning. While there are 57 million children globally out of education, 250 million cannot read or write, that means that there are almost 200 million children who are enrolled but are not learning.

The GCE has once again incorporated net enrolment into the SDG for education. Specifically, for all children globally to be enrolled in education by 2020. Beyond the aforementioned issues of using net enrolment as a target, it simply seems unfeasible to reach universal enrolment by 2020. When the MDGs were established in 2000, 102 million children were out of education, in 2011, 57 million remained out of education. While this may seem like significant progress, it is not representative of the entire world. The majority of this enrolment has been in Asia, specifically China and India while in Nigeria, 4.7 million children are still out of education.

With this in mind, it seems very unlikely that progress toward universal enrolment will continue at the same rate as it did for the first 11 years of MDG2. The unrealistic targets that continually keep being set for global education seem to act as more of a hindrance than as an impetus for action.

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Teacher Tuesday Week 10: Siti from Indonesia

The 10th and final Teacher Tuesday saw us speaking to Siti, a teacher from Indonesia who specialises in special needs education. Siti was moved into special needs teaching after meeting disabled street children in 2001, she qualified with a master’s degree in 2005.

Siti explains how she implements good teaching practice in classes with disabled children ‘I arrange the class in a U-shape so that all pupils receive an equal amount of my attention and focus’. Siti also mentioned in her TweetChat that ‘awareness-raising amongst staff, pupils and parents has helped remove the stigma of disability.’ Awareness-raising as a pre-emptive measure is essential for many aspects of global education.

Siti actively encourages students with disabilities to demonstrate their skills and talents which she says ‘boosts their self-confidence’ and allows other children to ‘see them as part of their group’. For example, Siti has Grade 2 pupils who have excelled at dancing and singing.

Siti has noted that the 2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all is one of her greatest resources. The report gives her a strategy for monitoring the progress of disabled children through assessment. This also acts as a diagnostic for how different children with disabilities react to particular teaching methods and whether are working/need re-evaluating.

Like all good teachers, Siti is constantly trying to develop her teaching style and methods. She says that at present, professional development is ‘independently organized by the school. It is training given by friends who have experience, a sort of network of other teachers. It’s very informal.’ The fact that professional development is externally delivered by volunteers demonstrates the level of commitment these teachers have to helping their pupils.

Siti believes that to truly eliminate barriers to teaching and stigma attached to disability, training needs to be provided at a governmental level, as done in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Recruiting, training and hiring teachers with disabilities is also an effective method of removing the stigma of disability as they ‘can better understand the needs of the children in their classroom. Mozambique, for instance, has been running training for visually impaired primary school teachers for more than 10 years. Communities have become familiar with their children being taught by visually impaired teachers, resulting in a positive change of attitude and helping create a more welcoming environment for teachers and students with disabilities.’

Through the efforts of individuals like Siti, education is improving not just for disabled children but for all children as they learn to see themselves and others without prejudice.