Ad Hoc Working Group on Quality of Education

Background
The Ad hoc Working Group on Quality of Education was created in 2002 to support the efforts of the African countries striving to meet the goal of providing basic education for all. A study entitled, “The Challenge of Learning: Improving the Quality of Basic Education in Sub-Saharan Africa”, was conducted in order to address the issue of quality in the sub-continent. This study was used as core materials during the ADEA Biennial Meeting held in Mauritius (Grand Baie, 3-6 December 2003). 

Major Goals
Over and above the objectives of reinforcement of shared understanding and mutual learning, the major goals and challenges of this exercise was:

  • to foster a culture of quality among the main actors and partners involved in the development of education in Africa;
  • to provide them with a framework including concepts, policies, strategies, methodologies and effective and operational tools for implementation;
  • to facilitate ways in which the lessons learned at international and/or regional level can be applied to national contexts, where the action actually takes place.

Follow-up activities of 2003 Biennial / Preparations for 2006 Biennial
The discussions at Grand Baie has highlighted already the valuable and rich experience with quality improvement programs in Africa, the diversity of these experiences, reflecting the differences in history, culture and socio-economic conditions between countries and the importance of carefully documenting and effectively exploiting the lessons of this experience.

The main activity of the Ad hoc group in 2004 and 2005 will consist of follow-up activities to the 2003 Biennial Meeting on quality improvement policies and practices. These activities will be carried out in partnership with development agencies and African institutions and networks in the areas of research-experimentation, sharing-capacity building, publication-dissemination and policy dialogue-partnership. Furthermore, policy dialogue activities will take place within the Steering Committee Seminars partnerships with civil society will be sought.

As part of follow-up to the 2003 Biennial Meeting on improving education quality in sub-Saharan Africa, ADEA has invited all African Ministers of Education to take part in the activities described hereafter. It has been suggested that each Ministry make a commitment to be a pilot country with respect to one or two of the focus areas for the improvement of quality based on the priorities that it has set itself and the programs that it is already carrying out.

The ADEA is proposing to:

  • Network countries that express similar interests in order to facilitate the exchange of experience and share lessons on the issue addressed. The commitment of the Ministers and their Ministries to follow-up activities is considered to be essential if we want the lessons learned to have an impact on the policies, strategies and actions intended to improve education quality;
  • Mobilize regional and international expertise to support the networks of countries as they conduct research and trial programs and implement strategies to improve education quality;
  • Obtain the commitment of development agencies to support the countries in this process;
  • Promote policy dialogue and a better understanding of the expected changes;
  • Disseminate the relevant lessons drawn from this exercise.

Each country is expected to:

  • Choose one or at most two focus areas in which it wishes to be a pilot country;
  • Set up a competent national team in this area both to take an active part in exchanges between countries and to put to work the lessons learned from the changes taking place on the ground.

The following are the focus areas in which the countries can select their priorities:

  1. Professional development of teachers and pedagogical renovation
  2. Establishment of reforms in the school and classroom
  3. Decentralization/ Diversification of education
  4. Curriculums/Languages
  5. Equity / financing

For each theme, one or two thematic coordinators will be identified. Their role is to provide the national teams with technical support as they conduct their case studies and to guarantee the quality of the case studies. Furthermore they will produce thematic synthesis for each theme to situate the national case studies within a comparative context. The summary will examine the lessons drawn from the country case studies from an international perspective. All identified thematic coordinators are African nationals.

Background Documents
Various documents have been prepared in the framework of the Quality exercise of ADEA. They are available for consultation on the ADEA website at the following address: http://www.adeanet.org/