The 2001 ADEA Biennale on Education in Africa
Program of the 2001 Biennale
This year's theme "Reaching Out, Reaching All-Sustaining
Effective Policy and Practice for Education in Africa," takes the 1999
Biennial theme "What Works and What's New in Education-Africa Speaks!"
one step further. How can promising policies and experiences be extended
beyond local sites? How can they be sustained? How can education systems
be more supportive of such initiatives and reforms? These issues will
be explored in plenary sessions followed by breakaway sessions designed
to provide opportunities for smaller, more informal discussions.
The provisional agenda
of the Arusha Biennial Meeting is available in PDF format.
The Plenary Sessions
After the official opening of the meeting on October 8, 2001, there will
be six plenary sessions. Each session will focus on a particular topic
and will be animated by a panel of experts. The main topics explored will
- From pilot to scale: issues and experience
This session will develop conceptual and operational understandings
of the issues at hand when taking pilot experiences and innovations
to scale. The session will explore the history of taking pilot initiatives
and innovations to scale, giving special attention to the factors
that contribute to the success and/or failure of "going to scale".
In addition to a conceptual background paper, the session will have
a close look at specific innovations that have been generalized in
two countries: (i) teacher staff development through a small-grants
competition in Guinea; and, (ii) initial literacy in local languages,
which has been extended to all primary schools in Zambia.
- System-wide mobilization of latent resources
The main issue in this session is that education systems may have
resources that are underused. If mobilized to the full extent, they
could have significant, system-wide impact. Such latent resources
could include teachers who are not teaching and buildings that are
underused. This session will focus on two country experiences that
have demonstrated how large-scale, system-wide benefits for quality
and access can be achieved at little-to-no additional direct cost.
In South Africa, significant improvements in high school exams are
partially attributed to the minister's attempt to reward good teachers
and discipline poor ones and absentees. In Senegal, a program set
up to monitor school norms and standards has contributed to improve
success rates at the end of primary school exam that increased from
28% to 50%.
- HIV/AIDS: Promising approaches to the challenges faced
by education systems
HIV/AIDS is taking a heavy toll on education systems in Africa This
session will report on the ADEA "Identifying Effective Responses to
HIV/AIDS" initiative. At the Johannesburg Biennale, ADEA was challenged
to apply the "praxis approach" to the problem posed to education systems
by HIV/AIDS. Subsequently, case studies on promising approaches to
tackling HIV/AIDS issues were undertaken and are underway in 14 countries.
These studies will be presented, with a special focus on how and why
the programs show promise within the context of the education system.
In addition to this, the outcomes and findings of conferences on HIV/AIDS
and education that have taken place in the past two to three years
will be discussed.
- Communication strategies for combating HIV/AIDS and promoting
A novel experience of educational entertainment or "edutainment"--Soul
City--will be presented. The panel will draw lessons from this popular
South African television program designed to transmit HIV/AIDS-relevant
knowledge, attitudes, and life skills to the population.
Public awareness and support for education policies can only be
generated through an adequate flow of information and feedback between
policy makers and the population. This session will explore concrete
examples of the use of communication strategies to promote education.
It will be based on a paper entitled "Communication for Education
and Development: Enhancing Stakeholder Participation and Commitment,"
which includes information on recent attempts by countries to employ
communication strategies, techniques, and processes in support of
educational policies. The session will also update participants
on the Communication for Education and Development (COMED) program,
which is providing on-going training to journalists and communication
officers of ministries of education. ADEA will also launch an education
journalism award. The award seeks to encourage the production of
quality articles on education written by African journalists and
published in African newspapers.
- Networks: A potent vehicle for going to scale
How are networks and networking contributing to the development of
education in Africa? This session will: (i) demonstrate examples of
the power and the effectiveness of collaborative networking to mobilize
the resources (knowledge, expertise, financing, etc.) needed for education
systems to develop effectively; (ii) explore the processes by which
effective networks have developed and "gone to scale." ADEA Working
Groups and other networks (SAQMEQ, APNET, FAWE, etc.) will convey
how effective networking arrangements are as a means of moving innovative
ideas to scale.
- From innovation to scale: Lessons from elsewhere
This session will focus on experiences in Central America (Escuela
nueva), Bangladesh (BRAC) and India (decentralization) that have successfully
brought to scale innovations and reforms in basic education. The "presentations"
will consist of two video documentaries of study tours of senior officials
from African countries (including ministers) to become critically
acquainted with these experiences. The study tours yielded productive
reflections on alternatives strategies for providing cost-effective
quality education for all, as well as the limits of government action.
- Mainstreaming nonformal education: Moving from the margins
to the center
The ADEA Working Group on Nonformal Education will present a "grounded
theory" that will identify critical factors that promote or hinder
the mainstreaming of nonformal education. It will draw on case studies
from Africa, Latin America and Asia to formulate general principles
and guidelines for "doing mainstreaming".
In addition to the plenary sessions, small group discussions will
be organized to help participants deepen their understanding of the
topics explored during the plenary sessions. Six groups will cover
three to four topics; each group will have a chair, a resource person,
and a rapporteur. Each group will focus on a specific topic and aim
at producing a set of relevant thoughts, lessons, and recommendations.
A synthesis of the groups' discussions will be provided to the plenary
during the Biennale's closing session on October 11.
The Caucus of Ministers
As at previous Biennales, the Caucus of African Ministers of Education
will meet in Arusha (October 10, 2001). Meetings of the Caucus-facilitated
by ADEA-are central to the Association's efforts to strengthen policy
dialogue, promote African leadership, and create a climate of professional
exchange among ministers. The meetings are also a channel through
which the ministers make their concerns known throughout the development
agency community and influence ADEA's agenda so that it reflects their
needs. The Caucus of Ministers will report on its meeting to the plenary
during the closing session.