1.1. OUR VISION
A world where ALL children acquire foundational skills1 that equip them to become citizens who contribute to a better society.
1.2. OUR MISSION
To bring children’s learning to the centre of education policy and practice through citizen-led assessment of learning outcomes, and action for improved learning.
1.3. OUR OBJECTIVE
By 2025, to grow into an active global civil society network providing evidence on the status of children’s literacy and numeracy skills through citizen-led assessments in at least 25 countries.
2. Purpose of the Charter
This Charter establishes a governance framework as well as operational procedures and processes that will guide the smooth functioning of the PAL Network.
3. Governance and Structure
3.1. The PAL Network is comprised of country-based institutions that conduct citizen-led household-based assessments of basic learning competencies, worldwide. The current governance structure of the PAL Network is as follows:
a) The Assembly of Members
b) The Steering Committee
c) Working Groups and Committees
d) The Secretariat
3.2. The highest governance body of the PAL Network shall be the Assembly of Members.
3.3. The Network’s Steering Committee shall comprise ONE representative selected/elected from each member organization2 . The Steering Committee is charged with the responsibility of making all strategic decisions on behalf of the members.
3.4. The Working Groups and Committees shall support the Steering Committee in attaining the mission, vision and mandate of the Network.
3.5. The Secretariat shall ensure the execution of strategic and programmatic decisions made by the Steering Committee, in addition to advocating for the Network, coordinating its activities, and managing its administrative affairs.
4. Membership Categories
There shall be four categories of members, who abide by the Network’s principles, and who contribute to the Network’s development and expansion:
|Full Members||Full members comprise country-based organizations that are currently implementing household-based citizen-led assessments. They comprise the nine (9) original members and any subsequent provisional members whose application is approved by the Steering Committee. Full members have one vote per member organization|
|Provisional Members||Provisional Members comprise country-based organizations that have shown an interest in undertaking citizen-led assessments. These organizations need to demonstrate readiness to join the Network, based on agreed criteria, and shall express an intention to join the network in writing at least two months prior to a Steering Committee meeting. The Steering Committee shall deliberate on their Application for Membership before approving or declining them as members. Once their application is approved, provisional members have one vote per member organization.|
|Special Members||Special Members shall serve the interests of the Network on an advisory, honorary, expert, financial or funding capacity. Special Members shall be nominated in writing by full members at any time and approved by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee shall deliberate on their nomination before approving or declining them as members. Special members are non-voting members.|
|Patron||A Patron shall be a prominent individual who is internationally recognized in the area of citizen-led assessment or who possesses any other form of expertise relevant to the growth and expansion of the PAL Network. As a non-voting member of the Steering Committee, he or she will offer “moral support”, expert advice, or fundraising assistance. The Patron is expected to participate in the Annual Assembly of Members.|
5. Roles and Responsibilities
The general terms, conditions, roles and responsibilities of each group of members will be as follows, guided by the principle of ‘Distributed Leadership’3
Network members actively contribute to the realization of the vision and mission of the Network by:
a) Serving on Working Groups or Committees
b) Communicating and sharing regularly with the Steering Committee, other Network members, and the Secretariat.
c) Promoting the adoption and recognition of citizen-led assessment methodologies and approaches
d) Introducing and guiding potential members who would like to start conducting citizen-led assessments in their respective countries
e) Representing the Network at international and regional meetings and fora.
f) Contributing content to the Network’s website on a regular basis
g) Engaging in learning events organized within the network
h) Participating in the Annual Assembly of Members
i) Supporting fundraising efforts for the Network
j) Availing their own in-house expertise to other network members or to the Secretariat.
5.1 The Assembly of Members
5.1.1 The Assembly of Members comprises de facto full members and provisional members of the Network and shall meet annually. Special members, patrons, as well as guests, can attend the Annual Assembly of Members on a non-voting basis.
5.1.2 The Annual Assembly of Members is a gathering of the PAL Network Family that provides an opportunity for the Steering Committee to inform members, partners and key stakeholders of the Network’s past, current and future activities.
5.1.3 As the highest decision-making body of the Network, the Assembly of Members is required to:
a) Deliberate on the governance and policy-related matters of the Network
b) Fulfil electoral duties related to the Network’s membership
c) Provide guidance on the Network’s current and future direction
d) Receive and approve the reports of the Steering Committee about the programmatic, financial and administrative status of the Network
e) Foster exchanges of ideas and experiences among members and nurture a collaborative spirit across the Network
5.2 The Steering Committee
5.2.1 The Steering Committee shall comprise heads of member organizations or their designated representative, who shall act as the voting member for their organization.
5.2.2 At any given moment, the Steering Committee shall comprise between nine (9) and eleven (11) members, ensuring that membership is representative of the geographical and language diversity of the Network.
5.2.3 The inaugural Steering Committee will include all nine (9) member organizations. The key responsibility and functions of the Steering Committee are:
a) To oversee the PAL Network’s Secretariat
b) To provide strategic and programmatic guidance for achieving the mission and mandate of the Network
c) To support the implementation of the Network’s work program through a variety of activities and inputs
d) To oversee the financial governance and fiscal responsibility of the Network
5.3 The Chairperson
5.3.1 Inaugural Steering Committee Members shall designate a Chairperson from amongst them.
5.3.2 Subsequent Chairs shall be elected by a two-thirds majority vote.
5.3.3 The Chair will be responsible for:
a) Chairing Steering Committee and Annual meetings.
b) Guiding communication and decision making between Steering Committee meetings
c) Communicating with the Secretariat for planning and preparation of Steering Committee meetings
d) Representing the Committee as necessary
e) Participating in fundraising efforts
5.4 The Treasurer
5.4.1 The inaugural Steering committee shall select a Treasurer from amongst its members.
5.4.2 Subsequent Treasurers shall be elected by a two-thirds majority vote.
5.4.3 The Treasurer will be responsible for:
a) Supporting the development of financial and audit policies
b) Reviewing and presenting financial reports of the PAL Network to the Steering Committee and the Annual Meeting of Members
c) Serving as the Chair or a member of the Finance and Audit Committee, if applicable, to ensure proper financial oversight.
5.5 Working Groups and Committees
5.5.1 Working Groups and Committees will provide the opportunity for all network members to contribute to the realization of the Network’s mission, vision and mandate
5.5.2 Working Groups and Committees contribute specialist technical expertise to the network
5.5.3 Each Working Group and Committee will have a Chair, who shall be selected and mandated by the Steering Committee.
5.5.4 Each Working Group Chair will be a member of the Steering Committee, and may serve two-year terms with the possibility of renewal twice.
5.5.5 Working Groups can coopt outside expertise if they deem that their contribution can benefit the Working Group and the PAL Network.
5.5.6 A nominated expert shall be confirmed by a majority of Working Group members prior to joining a Working Group.
5.5.7 The current Working Groups are:
a) Assessment for Action
b) Communication and Advocacy
c) Data and Design
d) Fundraising and Partnerships
f) Training and Capacity Building
5.6 The Secretariat
5.6.1 The Secretariat serves as the coordination arm of the PAL Network.
5.6.2 It ensures the execution of strategic, programmatic, and governance decisions made by the Steering Committee and manages the day-to-day affairs of the Network.
5.6.3 The Secretariat is also responsible for providing administrative and logistical support to Network members in general, and to the Steering Committee, and the Working Groups in particular. Its main roles and responsibilities include:
a) To execute the strategic and policy decisions made by the Steering Committee
b) To implement the Network’s annual work program and budget, as approved by the Steering Committee
c) To report on the implementation of the Network’s annual work program to the Steering Committee and Annual Assembly of Members
d) To support Working Groups to carry out their own action agendas
e) To advocate regionally and globally for the adoption and recognition of citizen-led learning assessment
f) To coordinate a range of communication activities including maintaining the PAL Network website, producing Network reports and publications, branding, and promotional materials seeking to increase the visibility of the Network.
g) To respond to, and accompany, potential individuals or organizations interested in conducting citizen-led assessments
h) To lead resource mobilization efforts for the Network
i) To organize and coordinate Network-related events and activities
j) To maintain accurate records of meetings, minutes and decisions of the Network so as to preserve its historical and institutional memory.
5.7 Provisional Members
5.7.1 Provisional members shall have voting rights in the Assembly of Members
5.7.2 Provisional members shall attain full membership prior to seeking a seat in the Steering Committee
5.7.3 Provisional members shall endeavor to take all the necessary steps, within one (1) calendar year of receiving membership, to pilot the citizen-led assessment process.
5.7.4 If, for any reason, provisional members are unable to complete the piloting process within one (1) year of obtaining membership, the organization shall write to the Steering Committee, via the Secretariat, to explain the reason for not piloting and shall request additional time (not to exceed six (6) calendar months) to undertake or complete the pilot phase and related activities.
5.7.5 Provisional members that have completed a pilot assessment shall provide evidence of completion when formally applying for full membership through the Secretariat.
5.7.6 Requests for full membership shall be tabled at the next immediate Steering Committee meeting for approval by a two-thirds majority vote and shall be confirmed at the next immediate Annual Assembly of Members by acclamation upon presentation by the Steering Committee.
5.8 Special Members
5.8.1 Special members shall be a person or institution with a specific expertise, resource or experience whose intellectual input, competencies, experience, or financial contribution will benefit the PAL Network as a whole or its individual member organizations.
5.8.2 A special member shall be nominated and accepted as an Advisor or an Honorary Member without voting rights either by the Steering Committee.
5.8.3 A special member shall be well versed in, or adhere to, the principles of the citizen-led assessment.
5.8.4 A special member shall extend promotional and fundraising support to the PAL family and shall support the growth and expansion of the Network in various capacities.
5.8.5 A special member can be coopted as a non-voting member the Steering Committee and is expected to attend the Annual Assembly of Members.
6. Membership terms, conditions and Procedures
6.1. Full and Provisional Membership
6.1.1. All country-based organizations interested in joining the PAL Network as provisional or full members shall submit a written application to the Steering Committee following guidelines provided by the Secretariat.
6.1.2. The Steering Committee shall review provisional or full membership applications, which shall be approved by a two-thirds majority vote.
6.1.3. Approved membership applications shall be submitted to the Annual Assembly of Members who shall confirm, by acclamation, acceptance of the applicant as a provisional or a full member of the Network.
6.1.4. Provisional membership shall be granted for one (1) calendar year and could be extended for an additional six (6) months following a written request by the provisional member
6.1.5. Once obtained, full membership does not expire as long as the member-institution continues to contribute to the achievement of the PAL Network’s goals and objectives
6.1.6. Any member institution that is inactive4 for a period of one (1) full term will be considered dormant and will need to re-apply to the Steering Committee for consideration as a new member.
6.2. Membership to the Steering Committee
6.2.1. The nine (9) founding member institutions of the PAL Network constitute the de facto Steering Committee, which shall comprise between nine (9) and eleven (11) members, at least two of which may be nominated Special Members.
6.2.2. Steering Committee members, including the Chairperson and the Treasurer, shall serve a two-year term, renewable twice.
6.2.3. Special membership terms shall be two years, renewable twice.
6.2.4. At least two thirds of the inaugural Steering Committee shall serve a second term.
6.2.5. At the meeting preceding the expiry of the second year term each SC member must inform the Steering Committee on whether they wish to continue serving in their current capacity.
6.2.6. If there are members who do not wish to continue, the Steering Committee shall direct the Secretariat to inform all full member institutions about the upcoming seat vacancies at least four (4) months prior to the next Annual Meeting of Members.
6.2.7. Once seat vacancies are announced, member-institutions that wish to sit on the Steering Committee shall apply in writing via the Secretariat, which will table their application to at the Annual Assembly of Members.
6.2.8. Applicants shall be elected by a two-thirds majority vote at the annual meeting of the Assembly of Members.
6.2.9. The newly recomposed SC shall be confirmed by the Annual Assembly of Members, by acclamation, at the Annual Assembly of Members.
7. Voting Procedures
7.1. Full membership to the PAL Network and membership to the Steering Committee are subject to voting.
7.2. The vote for full membership to the network will take place during a Steering Committee meeting after review of prospective members’ application.
7.3. Full membership shall be granted to applicants by a two-thirds majority vote of SC members.
7.4. Voting of new SC members shall be conducted at the Annual Assembly of Members.
7.5. Special Members are nominated by full members in writing and approved by a two-thirds majority vote of SC members.
8. Ratifying and Amending the PAL Network Charter
A quorum is reached when two-thirds of the Steering Committee full members are present in person or online at a meeting.
8.2. Approval of Original Charter
The original Charter of the PAL Network will be passed with a two-thirds vote of approval by the inaugural Steering Committee. Thereafter, the approved Charter will be posted on the Network’s website and circulated to all members.
8.3. Amendment of the Charter
The Charter can be amended through a two-thirds majority vote of the full members during the Annual Meeting.
1Foundational skills include the basic academic knowledge and competencies a learner acquires as a result of participation in formal schooling or sometimes in non-formal and informal learning. These include basic literacy and numeracy, which are an essential foundation for further learning, advanced skills acquisition, as well as readiness to obtain a decent livelihood and live a meaningful life. Source: UNESCO Bangkok 2014 through UNEVOC
2The organization can designate an alternate in case the nominated representative is not available.
3Distributed leadership is defined as a concept and approach through which “activities tied to the core work of an organization are designed by organizational members to influence the motivation, knowledge, or practices of other members and can be undertaken by anyone within the organization”. Thus, a leader is anyone who engages in these activities based on tasks, not on position.
4A member organization that has not conducted any activities in its country and has not contributed to the life of the network in any form for an entire year shall be considered inactive.