The theme of the 2014 American Educational Research Association Conference is “The Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy.” What do you see as the most promising educational change innovations and what role does/should research play in relation to such innovations?
In many states across India, children have just moved into a new class. The excitement of a new school year is still in the air. New textbooks are being distributed; notebooks and stationery are being bought. Summer vacations have begun. On the eve of these new beginnings, hopes run high for all that children will learn in another year of school. But how much can we expect that they’ll actually learn?
A new report demonstrates the connection between maternal and child education, finding that mothers’ literacy programs boost their children’s math scores and their own sense of empowerment. The international community is on track to reach the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education by 2015. Currently, over 90 percent of primary school age children are enrolled in school worldwide. Unfortunately, the quality of children’s education in the developing world has not grown in line with enrollment rates.
For the last ten years, the major focus of the global education community has been on getting children into school. And that effort has been a success: most of the world’s children live in countries on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary completion by 2015. But behind that progress is a problem—one that grows with each additional child that walks through the classroom door. Some children in those classes are learning nothing
Following the final meeting of the U.N. secretary general’s High-Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Bali, Indonesia from March 25-27, panel members are now engaged in drafting a report that will recommend the vision and shape of a post-2015 development agenda that responds to the global challenges of the 21st century.
The issue of education in Pakistan rocketed to front page news after the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old girl who was targeted by Taliban assassins last October. Unfortunately, violence and attacks against education persist. At the end of March, Shahnaz Nazli, a 41-year-old teacher, was killed on her way to work at a girls’ school near the town of Jamrud in the Khyber tribal district.
From Kenya to India to the United States, world leaders are realizing the global learning crisis that threatens to rob millions of children of the fundamental human right to education, and the knowledge and skills required for well-being and prosperity in the 21st century. Well before Education for All (EFA) was endorsed in 1990, educators recognized that providing access to schooling without also ensuring student learning is an empty promise.
During the 2012 academic year, the Nuru Education Program conducted classroom outreach in nine primary schools in Isibania Division, Kuria West District, Kenya. Nuru’s Education Program aims to increase child literacy to the Standard 2 (class 2) level among rural public, primary school students through intensive student-centered teaching and literacy-focused interventions.
“Only one third of the children in East Africa have acquired the expected basic skills at the required level.” A colleague once narrated an incident that took place in one of the schools where her organisation has a programme aimed at improving teachers’ pedagogy skills. This programme targets a small number of teachers in the early Grades by offering continuous on-the-job training to teachers, aimed at improving their basic teaching skills.
“Our responsibility doesn’t end when a young girl or boy walks through the doors of a classroom. In fact, it’s at that moment our greatest responsibilities begin.” For the first time since the world rallied around the idea of universal access to education, the global community is coming together to confront the reality that we’re still far from our goal of achieving quality education for all. Even as we have seen record numbers of children enter classrooms, education continues to be out of reach for many.