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    Interventions for Girls Education - Part 5: Improving Quality Education

    “In Kenya, grade 6 teachers scored only 61% on tests of grade 6 mathematics material.”

    - EFA MR 2013/14

    what works girls education

    We continue our series addressing interventions that work in girls education as outlined in What Works in Girls Education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment [click on the title to download a free pdf of the book!]. The authors present a list of seven intervention areas which are critical to increasing the number of girls who enroll and stay in school:

    1. Making schools affordable

    2. Helping girls overcome health barriers

    3. Reducing the time and distance to get to school

    4. Making schools more girl-friendly

    5. Improving school quality

    6. Increasing community engagement

    7. Sustaining girls’ education during emergencies

    So far we have explored the importance of making schools affordable, the link between health and girls’ education, reducing the time and distance to get to school, and making schools more girl-friendly. This month we look at how improving quality education is a critical feature of girls academic success.


    sdg 4 quality educationImproving Quality Education

    This goes right to the core of SDG 4, Quality Education for All. In Chapters 4 and 5, the authors Gene B. Sperling and Rebecca Winthrop outline the importance of teachers in ensuring quality education to achieve academic success and discuss the critical role appropriate curriculum and of teaching both hard and soft skills.

    “A major lesson learned during the last decade is that improving access is not enough to achieve sustainable gains in girls’ education; assuring that a girl has a high-quality learning experience and a high-quality education while in school may be equally if not more important.” - Page 160

    There are an estimated 263 million children and youth still out of school globally, and according to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, the world needs to recruit almost 69 million new teachers to reach the 2030 education goal of universal primary and secondary education. This ‘teacher gap’ is more pronounced among vulnerable populations – girls, children with disabilities, refugee and migrant children, and poor children living in rural or remote areas. - Teachers for EFA 2030

    EFAMReport video

    1. Hire Good Teachers Who Attend School and Engage Students

    “Teachers are a key component to improving the quality of education. Extensive evidence exists linking good teachers to the schooling success of both girls and boys. For example, in the United States, researchers have found that having a good teacher is equivalent to an average gain in learning of one school year; and having a great teacher is equivalent to 1.5 years of learning; but having a weak teacher means mastering less than half of the expected subject content (Hanushek and Rivkin 2010, in King and Winthrop 2015). The same policies and interventions that focus on hiring good teachers are best for both girls and boys. In other words, recruiting well-trained teachers and providing them with support inside and outside the classroom help provide a high-quality education to all children. Indeed, evidence suggests that good teachers matter even more for girls’ learning success, whose average years of schooling is fewer than boys’. Good teachers help to ensure that girls acquire basic competencies and foundational skills during their limited number of years in school.

    One persistent challenge in developing countries is not only hiring more teachers, many of whom are not well educated themselves, but also getting teachers to attend school regularly. In some countries, teachers have been recorded to miss nearly a quarter of the school year (Glewwe, Ilia, and Kremer 2003; Kremer et al. 2005). In many places, teachers have multiple roles in the community or have multiple jobs, all taking them away from class time.” - Page 160-161

    World teacher Day 2018


    In addition to recommending strengthening teacher governance, The 2013/14 Education For All Global Monitoring Report (EFA MR 2013/14) outlines a four-part strategy on how to provide the best teachers in Chapter 6:


    1. EFAMReport 2013.14 chapter 6Attract the best teachers

      1. Get entry requirements right

      2. Recruiting a balance of male and female teachers from a wide range of backgrounds

    2. Improve teacher education so all children can learn

      1. Initial teacher education must promote equitable learning

      2. Improving teachers’ skills through ongoing education

      3. Trainers also need training

      4. Distance education can boost countries’ capacity to train teachers

    3. Get teachers where they are most needed

      1. Planned deployment needs to be well-managed

      2. Incentives to rebalance uneven teacher allocation

      3. Recruiting teachers locally

      4. Getting teachers with strong subject knowledge to disadvantaged schools

    4. Provide incentives to retain the best teachers

      1. Pay teachers enough to meet their basic needs

      2. Ensuring that teaching is as attractive as similar professions

      3. Performance-related pay needs to send the right signals

      4. Motivating good teachers by providing a career path

    “Policy-makers need to understand why teachers miss school days. A wide range of teacher, school and community characteristics affects attendance, including their salary, workload, work environment and professional development, as well as school location and various aspects of school management (Guerrero et al., 2012).” - Page 267, EFA MR 2013/14

    2. Improve How Teachers Teach

    In Chapter 4, the authors discuss the importance of improving teacher performance.

    “Training teachers and providing them with continued support for improving how they teach can be effective in improving quality learning opportunities for girls and boys. Multiple studies show that it is important to complement teacher training with initiatives that remove possible barriers that prevent teachers from implementing what they have learned.” - Page 168

    Above we see that The EFA MR 2013/14 includes this as part of their four-part strategy for providing the best teachers. Let’s look a little closer: 

    Improve teacher education so all children can learn

    EFAMReport 2013.14 Teacher

      1. Initial teacher education must promote equitable learning

        1. Initial teacher education should make up for weak subject knowledge

        2. Training teachers to teach, particularly in early grades

        3. Preparing teachers to support learners from diverse backgrounds

        4. Initial teacher education needs to provide classroom experience

      1. Improving teachers’ skills through ongoing education

        1. Upgrading knowledge and skills of untrained and undertrained teachers

        2. Tailoring teacher education to improve learning in the early grades

        3. Mentors offer valuable support to new teachers

        4. Ongoing training to adapt to new teaching and learning approaches

      1. Trainers also need training

      2. Distance education can boost countries’ capacity to train teachers

    “Good quality education depends on giving teachers the best possible training, not only before they start teaching but also throughout their careers. Initial teacher education should prepare teachers to help students from a wide range of backgrounds and with different needs, including those with inherited disadvantage, especially in the early grades. It should go beyond the theory of teaching to include classroom experience, and ensure that prospective teachers know enough about the subjects they are going to teach.

    Initial teacher education also needs to lay the foundations for ongoing training that reinforces skills and knowledge. In-service training is especially important for teachers who may be untrained or undertrained. In addition, teachers need ongoing training to adapt to new teaching and learning methods, and trainers themselves need ongoing education. For countries with limited capacity to train teachers, technology that enables training from a distance is one way to reach larger numbers of trainees more effectively.”- - Page 236, EFA MR 2013/14


    3. Align School Curriculum with Students’ Needs and Cultivating Soft Skills

    EFAMReport 2013.14 chapter 7 contentIn Chapter 5, the authors cite the importance of proper curriculum which accommodates the gap between what is expect of students and what students can actually do, while also developing noncognitive skills like communication, teamwork and leadership. Chapter 7 of the EFA MR 2013/14 addresses these matters in much more detail.

    Soft Skills / Transferable Skills for Global Citizenship

    Soft Skills
    “A high quality education ensures that girls are truly learning both hard and soft skills” - Page 195 


    Further Reading:

    Teachers Task Force 2030

    Advocacy Toolkit for Teachers

    EFAMReport 2013.14 cover













    Next in Let’s Get Schooled, we explore the importance of “Increasing Community Engagement”.




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