Tag Archives: Kenya

Curriculum and assessment in African countries

This week, we conducted a scan of education news published in the past month from countries in Africa. These articles highlight efforts to increase access and quality of education through the implementation of national curricula and assessments and through initiatives focused on teacher recruitment, salaries, and training.

South Sudan recently launched its first national curriculum. Gurtong.net quoted Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF Country Representative, as saying…

“For now the curriculum is complete, textbooks must be designed and published, teachers need to be trained to implement this curriculum, and school managers, inspectors and supervisors require training to provide the required management and oversight….”

Reports from South Africa (recently ranked “almost dead last in math and science” on this year’s World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness report, as News24 noted) show that even with curriculum and assessments in place, educators need to see their worth in order for them to be useful for instruction. The Daily Maverick recently reported that both the teachers’ union and the Department of Basic Education agree that the current national assessments are not effective, and some teachers’ unions have already promised to “opt-out” of administering the current assessments.

Tensions between teachers and the national government in Kenya also reflect something of a “Catch-22.” In a recent World Bank report, concern was expressed that the quality of education in the country was alarmingly inadequate. On the one hand, many critics of the government, including many teachers, argue that the reasons include the government’s failure to comply with a court order to increase teacher salaries by 50-60%. In response, teachers are engaged in a formal, long-term strike to protest inadequate salary, which they would like to see rise to the levels of other professions. On the other hand, supporters of the government suggest that the teacher strikes are contributing to the problems because they result in irregular access to classrooms for most students. In a stalemate, the Education Ministry ordered schools to close as of September 21st.

According to All Africa, Cameroon’s Education Ministry is taking steps to try to “professionalize” teaching by bringing in Dutch consultants to help refine teacher training, as well as curriculum. According to Roeland Monasch, the CEO of the Dutch NGO Aflatoun, the solution is simple: “He assured that once teachers are well trained, students will do well in class.”

Deirdre Faughey

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Scanning the education news from Africa

To provide links for our twitter feed, every week or ten days, we look for news, research, and other media reports on educational change and improvement from a particular part of the world (Africa and Middle East; Asia & the Pacific; Central & South America; The Nordic countries; Europe; or the UK and Canada). While it’s always hard to determine the “hot topics” through these “non-random” scans of traditional and new media, we’re going to start pulling together some of the links we find in these scans and posting them here a little more frequently. This time, the scan focuses on Africa and the Middle East, and over the past two weeks, we’ve noticed more stories about testing-related scandals than almost any other topic. Maybe it’s just exam season, but the stories have come from Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, and Ghana:

  • Helicopters, scanners no match for Egypt’s exam cheats – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East http://buff.ly/1J8lT8Z
  • allAfrica.com: South Africa: Basic Education On Progress in Group Copying Investigations http://buff.ly/1GnglQZ
  • الشروق أون لاين Education Unions: “Protected and not afraid of punishment… those behind leaked exam topics on Facebook” http://buff.ly/1IoO6Ts
  • Exam Leaks Are a Threat to Morocco’s Education System. Morocco World News http://buff.ly/1H3yQ3I
  • BECE cancellation was a collective decision – Minister of Education | General News 2015-06-18 http://buff.ly/1Gnp59M

Unfortunately, extremism, in this case in Egypt and in Kenya, also continue to be in the news:

  • ‘A trip to the farm’: Egypt canceled these school lessons to combat extremism | Al Bawaba http://buff.ly/1J8m9Fd
  • Education in Kenya Suffers at Hands of Shabab Extremists – The New York Times http://buff.ly/1J8vJI3
  • Kenya: Education crisis looms near border with Somalia as 2,000 teachers flee due to al-Shabaab attacks http://buff.ly/1J8vOLX

In addition to those stories, there were also frequent mentions of basic issues of rights and access to education in the Sudan and Algeria, education budgets and costs in Ghana and Ethiopia, teacher’s pay and teaching education in Uganda and Nigeria respectively. But no scan would be complete without a story or two on world rankings (Morocco) or educational performance (Nigeria):

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.