How to Reach Hard to Reach Children: Improving Access, Participation and Outcomes

DFID Education Policy
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In many countries, teacher pay is in decline and those in remote and rural areas often have to travel long distances to collect salaries. Many teachers take on additional jobs to support their families. Professional career paths are often lacking and professional support is weak.

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Thus teacher failures are both a cause and a symptom of failing education systems which can only be tackled through strong leadership from national to school levels. Number of new teaching positions needed to achieve universal primary and secondary education by Based on survey of teaching practices in government schools in Grade 4. We will support decision-makers in developing and conflict-affected countries who are ready to tackle the fundamental challenge of teacher performance head on, taking a fresh look at what kind of workforce they will need in the future, and exploring new approaches to training, recruitment and motivation of teachers and other staff.

Securing teacher reform will be politically challenging for national decision-makers. Yet without improvements to teaching quality, countries cannot make progress on driving up learning. Teacher training is critical to ensuring teachers teach well, particularly in countries with weak education systems where many candidates start with a deficit in foundation skills.

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However, much teacher training in developing and conflict-affected countries remains ineffective: research tells us that it is often too theoretical, delivered by trainers without practical experience and not sustained over time. We will support uptake of the following evidence-based approaches for quality teacher training, recognising that they will be implemented differently across contexts:. The Transforming Teacher Education and Learning T-TEL programme in Ghana has worked with teacher training colleges to transform the delivery of initial teacher education.

With DFID support, the Government of Ghana has endorsed an ambitious agenda of teacher training reforms which include introducing national standards for initial teacher education and a curriculum framework. English In Action EIA is a professional development programme reaching over 50, teachers and almost 8 million students in Bangladesh. Teachers are guided by short videos of simple teaching techniques, available on their mobile phones.

They complete initial training on pedagogy, using the videos to learn by doing, reflecting, and sharing with peers, and receive ongoing support. As mobile phone use has increased, costs have decreased, and reach has expanded to more rural communities. English in Action. Dhaka: English in Action. Improved teaching skills — while essential — will not be enough.

National decision-makers will also need to rethink how to boost motivation and reduce absenteeism through better recruitment and professional support and incentives.

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In Lebanon, a lack of private sector jobs has led to political and economic pressure to create and distribute public sector teacher jobs, resulting in a low pupil-teacher ratio and a high wage bill. With DFID support, the Government of Lebanon is ensuring all teachers meet national performance standards and is reviewing the financial sustainability of the teacher wage bill. Children learn best when they are free from the fear of violence Teachers play a role in school-based violence through use of corporal punishment and some perpetrate wider emotional, physical and sexual violence against children At the same time, teachers are essential partners in establishing schools as protective spaces where children can learn safely.

Teachers cannot succeed alone. Complementary education system reform across public and non-state provision is essential to their success. Many education systems remain focused on getting more children into school, rather than improving quality and learning Reform is needed to shift the central focus of education systems to ensuring children learn, starting with the basics.

We need to reach children before they decide university isn't for them

System incentives to ensure poor and marginalised children are learning the basics are weak. Often, curricula are aimed at high performers, textbooks are too difficult for most children to read and exams only test high learning levels. Schools and teachers are ultimately judged on how many people pass these high-level exams, not learn basic literacy and numeracy Parents of poor and marginalised children are often not well-organised for collective action and have limited influence relative to other powerful stakeholders To deliver on quality and learning, these incentives will need to change.

AIFS Secondary links

Many education systems lack coherence, with inputs, people and processes pulling in different directions Reform is needed to improve alignment around the common objective of ensuring children learn. An education system covers the full span of education provision across both public and non-state sectors.

It is made up of inputs, processes, people and politics, which together determine whether children are learning. We will help national decision-makers to establish a clear picture of how their education system is working through good diagnosis. We will then provide support to tackle key delivery challenges, strengthen accountability for learning and adopt and deliver on more inclusive policies. We will work in close partnership with national decision-makers committed to reform to improve learning. We will support efforts to increase domestic investment in education, including through strengthening tax systems to increase the public funds available and supporting better management of those funds so they have the greatest possible impact.

We will also support more effective spending, through cutting waste and ensuring resources are focused on improving learning, starting with the basics. This will ensure better value for money for citizens in developing countries and the UK. Making this assessment will require a good understanding of the political economy of education reform in the countries where we work, taking advantage of opportunities to improve learning when they arise.

We will take account of the particular challenges posed by conflict and crises, ensuring the education interventions we support are informed by a good understanding of the drivers of conflict and contribute to peacebuilding objectives. We will closely track changing context and progress achieved through our support. We will learn and adapt as we go — and support national decision-makers to do likewise System reform must be informed by good diagnosis of the main delivery challenges and data on how the system is performing.

Next steps for widening access: ensuring all students get a share of the spoils

This will have maximum impact where it is used well by decision-makers, shared transparently and interpreted effectively by media and civil society organisations to make it meaningful for parents and communities. The campaign produces national, district and constituency data to establish a clear picture of system performance.

Drawing on this data, the campaign builds parent networks, engages grassroots activists and convenes policy dialogue with politicians and government to build demand for better education outcomes. Once decision-makers have identified the key delivery challenges they must tackle to get more children learning the basics, we will stand ready to support.

In addition to teaching, we will provide access to relevant UK expertise in areas such as:.


The effects of incentives and research requirements on participation rates for a community-based preventive intervention research study. Multiple family therapy groups: A responsive intervention model for inner city families. Inequalities, Life Chances, and Gender. Greater national and global ambition is needed to get children learning — and ensure education is realising its full potential for development. Get to Know Us.

With DFID support, the Ethiopian government has implemented major system reform which draws on UK expertise on school inspection and education planning and financing. The government has made significant progress in strengthening accountability of schools for quality provision, introducing regular school inspection and providing grants for better management and learning. This has resulted in encouraging gains in learning outcomes.

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PEF provides a regulatory, monitoring and quality assurance framework to ensure partner schools meet performance standards. Through a voucher scheme, new schools programme and subsidies to existing low fee private schools, over 2. On average, PEF schools outperform similar government schools in regular learning assessments. The state is the guarantor of quality basic education for all, but need not be the sole financer or provider of education services.

Improving Participant Engagement, Motivation, and Participation

Non-state providers, including low-cost private schools, play an important — and growing — role in delivering education in low- and middle-income countries 1. Across sub-Saharan Africa it is estimated that around one in five children and young people are enrolled at a private education institution 2 , while in South Asia the figure is around 1 in 3 3.

Non-state actors are the dominant education provider in many urban settings in Asia and Africa. Many pupils attending private schools come from low-income families. Non-state education provision will play an important role in meeting the educational needs of growing populations.

NCD Policy Areas

It is essential that where DFID supports non-state providers and public private partnerships, they work for poor and marginalised children. Interventions need to be carefully designed, implemented and monitored to ensure they retain a strong focus on the intended beneficiaries and do not have unintended consequences.

We are building experience across DFID on how to achieve better outcomes through partnerships with non-state actors. UK domestic expertise around mixed market provision, finance, accountability and approaches to raise overall standards can provide valuable lessons for partner governments. We must remain conscious that how we invest in the non-state sector matters; we need to develop and be guided by the evidence base and to experiment and adapt to ensure our investments drive maximum impact. Ashley, L. Caerus Capital. The Business of Education in Africa. Swindon: Caerus Capital Group.

Dahal, M. Policy Research Working Paper. Washington DC: World Bank. We recognise EdTech as a vital source of innovation for education, but it is not a silver bullet and many interventions — particularly those focused on buying new hardware such as tablets and computers — have failed because of poor implementation or weak fit with the context 1.