Tagged: Global Education

  • Study tours address school violence prevention in El Salvador

    Violence is one of the greatest challenges facing youth in El Salvador today. By 2011, gang activity and organized crime had entered more than 300 schools across the country, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). To prevent school violence, FHI 360 has conducted a series of week-long study tours as part of the USAID Education for Children and Youth Program, which has been working in El Salvador since 2013.

    To date, three tours have brought approximately 50 principals, Ministry of Education officials and other education stakeholders to Washington, DC, to explore best practices for improving the educational opportunities for Salvadoran youth living in areas with high rates of violence. The tours promote positive relations between the U.S. and El Salvador and specifically aim to strengthen Salvadoran society through secondary education reform. Participants have explored models for combating high education dropout rates, preventing school violence and creating safe spaces for youth.

    The large Salvadoran population in Washington, DC, provides a unique opportunity for the participants to learn how youth from El Salvador and of Salvadoran descent are faring in U.S. schools.

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  • Perspectives on global education: FHI 360 experts at the 2014 CIES conference

    This week, FHI 360’s experts on global education are joining other education researchers, practitioners, leaders and partners in Toronto, Canada, for the 2014 Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society. The conference, which will take place March 11–15, will explore the theme, “Revisioning Education for All.” FHI 360’s education team will present on six panels on topics such as the value of integrated approaches to education systems strengthening, technology, literacy and providing access to quality education with sensitivity to gender and fragility. Follow our live coverage throughout the conference! Check here for our blogs, videos and photographs.

  • Preceding the opening of the CIES conference in Toronto, Patrick Fine, Chief Operating Officer of FHI 360, calls education “one of the great victories of development.” He offers his thoughts on future education trends and challenges.

  • How many children enroll in school, stay in school and gain basic reading skills?

    The last decades have seen an impressive growth in school participation in developing countries. As countries have made remarkable progress toward universal primary school completion, the focus in the development community has shifted to reaching the most disadvantaged children and improving the quality of education. It has been recognized that even though universal primary completion is a major milestone for many countries, the quality of an education system cannot be assessed only by its ability to enroll and retain students. Most importantly, school should teach valuable skills that will help children achieve their full potential in life.

    FHI 360’s Education Policy and Data Center (EPDC) has released a research brief, “Long Path to Achieving Education for All: School Access, Retention, and Learning in 20 countries,” which uses learning pyramids as a visual tool to show cumulative achievement of education systems and demonstrate how many children enroll in school, whether they remain enrolled until they reach a certain grade, and what percentage of them learn how to read. The report finds that although access to education is close to universal in most countries, not all of the students who enter school reach upper primary grades. Grade repetition is a common experience for many primary students, creating inefficiencies in education systems. Finally, a large number of those who reach the upper primary grades never gain basic literacy skills, defined as the lowest benchmark of a standardized learning assessment.

    Pyramids: starting from access, through retention, to learning

    The pyramids provide a snapshot of a country’s progress in providing universal school entry (access), keeping students in school (survival), and finally, teaching them at least minimum reading skills (learning). To measure school access, EPDC uses the percentage of 14-year-olds who have ever entered school. Retention is described by school survival rates — the percentage of enrolled students expected to reach a given grade. The level of learning is determined by using data from standardized learning assessments, including SACMEQ, PIRLS, SERCE, and PASEC.

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  • Celebrating International Literacy Day: FHI 360’s comprehensive approach

    Today’s celebration of International Literacy Day 2013 is an opportunity for the international development community to reflect upon and reinvigorate its approach to ensuring that all children are able to read and write. In recent years, a shift from focusing primarily on access to an increased focus on learning, particularly foundation skills such as reading and writing, has been an important step for children worldwide. At the same time, the desire for quick fixes to reduce childhood illiteracy may be contributing to the development of approaches that are too narrowly focused and do not consider all of the factors that shape a child’s ability to learn to read and write.

    Currently, the global education team at FHI 360 is implementing seven educational projects funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) or Hess Corporation that focus on improving reading for children in early grades, in countries as diverse as Kosovo, Ethiopia and Peru. Although these projects differ according to their contexts, they are all rooted in the understanding that systems, schools, environmental and individual factors all play a role in creating a reader. This understanding is reflected in FHI 360’s approach to literacy improvement in primary schools: Literacy 360°. (See figure.)

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  • With funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and under Project AIDE, FHI 360 has been improving the quality of education with a focus on early grade reading in Djibouti for the past four years. This video describes a component of the project which has transformed the national education information environment, initially at the Ministry and regional levels, and now at the school level.

    As a result of this component, Djibouti now has a world caliber, internationally and locally responsive Education Management Information System that has been almost entirely operated by the local Ministry for the last two years. Although a small country, Djibouti has a fairly complex internal system of public and private schools that are now accommodated with 21st-century information systems.

  • The importance of including healthy habits in education programs

    Why is it important that education programs include lessons on healthy lifestyle habits?

    We talk so much about reading and literacy in global education, but that is just one part of a child’s life. If we want to look at development in a holistic way, we have to look at a child in his or her entirety, not just his or her academic ability. There is plenty of evidence out there that shows that schools with better sanitary conditions attract more children. Parents vote with their feet, and if they see a school that is clean, has food and has hand-washing facilities, they are more likely to enroll their child in that school.

    How do you see this kind of integration playing out in global education programs?

    My dream is that we can inject health messages into teachers’ daily lesson planning, especially in primary education. Four major areas of concern are oral hygiene, handwashing and sanitation, malaria prevention and nutrition. Handwashing and proper use of latrines should be part of every school’s daily routine. Research shows that promoting handwashing in students, especially when they first arrive at school, greatly reduces the number of sick days among children.

    In Latin America, proper nutrition is a major issue. Children are eating, but they are not getting the proper nutrients. They tend to eat a lot of junk food that is easily accessible in their neighborhoods.

    Other than teachers, who else can help promote healthy habits in education?

    Part of the magic of FHI 360’s active learning methodology is that we integrate parents’ participation in very specific ways. We have done this by asking parents to help schools provide children with breakfast each morning, and we have engaged parent associations to improve sanitation in schools. By actively engaging parents in daily school routines, they not only participate in the success of the schools, but also learn healthy habits themselves. This takes some of the burden off of teachers.