It’s 8.30 am as we arrive at Tiling’wa Primary School, in the East Pokot region of Kenya. Expecting to find children finishing the first lesson of the day, we find them just leaving their morning assembly. We quickly meet the acting head teacher and introduce ourselves. He tells us that the head teacher is currently on maternity leave. Mr. Kitur is responsible for teaching Class 1. However, due to severe teacher shortages in their school, he also pops in Class 3 during the morning as they currently do not have a teacher.
We listen to the same music.
We watch the same movies.
We eat the same food.
We farm the same land.
Tanzania is the first country on the agenda as RISE launches its international research programme to find ways of improving learning on a large scale throughout the developing world.
Using the Education for All (EFA) global movement as the setting, this book surveys the complex labyrinths of international education policy making, the design and implementation of system-wide educational reform, and the assessment of learning outcomes in the African context.
According to a review undertaken by Charlotte Waters at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), the citizen-led approach being used in India, Mali, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda is yielding reliable information about children’s basic learning levels, measuring change in these levels and raising awareness of local issues.
“What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation?” Asks Marcus Cicero in praise of teachers. The Economist magazine recently acclaimed the contribution of teachers in not just educating children and nurturing the future, but even in shaping the economy.
Meet Naisiae. Naisiae is about 28 years old, although she is not sure because, in her community, they do not celebrate birthdays on a calendar. Naisiae lives in a small manyatta (hut made from sticks, cow dung, and grass) on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, with her four children
It is not every day that people from 17 countries come together to learn, share and think about how to broaden the scope and reach of citizen-led efforts like the ASER survey. Since its inception, ASER has inspired parallel efforts in 12 countries.
Despite marked progress in increasing access to education in recent years, Uganda has not fully met its commitments under the Education for All Goals. And the improved national average figures conceal stark contrasts between the different districts and wealth classes of Uganda.
Somewhere in a village in Nigeria, a young girl is sitting in school today, just like she does every day, packed onto a crowded wooden bench in a faded school uniform.