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REAL Centre Blogs

REAL Centre Blogs

This page lists the REAL Centre blogs written by staff, students and partners. This includes blogs curated as part of a series reflecting on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on research work on international education and development. Research and policy papers, as well as other reports, can be found on our Publications page.

Secondary school students laugh in classroom in Ethiopia
(Credit: GPE/Translieu)

Spotlight on Ethiopia's secondary education challenges

Dawit T. Tiruneh and Tebeje Molla, Norrag, 18 April 2024

The education system in Ethiopia has been grappling with a substantial crisis, associated with quality, equity, and efficiency. Despite remarkable achievements in access, raising the quality of education amidst rapid enrolment growth has posed significant challenges. This blog highlights five issues affecting the secondary school system: an underfunded school sector, inadequate teacher preparation, narrow curricular provisions, abrupt policy changes, and widespread instability.

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Boy doing sign language in classroom
(Credit: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)

The “how to” of inclusive policy design

Hanna Alasuutari, Laraib Niaz and Kanae Watanabe, World Bank Blogs - Education for Global Development, 14 March 2024

Why are more children with disabilities being left out despite rising global interest in building more inclusive education systems? A focused approach is needed to ensure that every learner—including marginalised learners such as persons with disabilities—can participate and benefit from education.

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River of life process diagram
(Credit: Authors)

Elevating the perspectives of marginalised adolescent girls: Exploring education journeys using the River of Life participatory approach

Asma Zubairi, Pauline Rose, Monazza Aslam, Romanshi Gupta, Shenila Rawal, Catherine Jere, Participatory Methods, 22 January 2024

This blog presents some of the stories from out-of-school marginalised adolescent girls in Kenya, Ghana and Nepal, who took part in Girls' Education Challenge projects promoting agency and life choices in their livelihood journeys.  These stories were gathered using the River of Life visual story-telling approach.

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Destroyed buildings in Gaza
(Credit: hosny salah)

What does ethical solidarity look like for academic professional bodies in times of unfolding genocide?

Laila Kadiwal, Mario Novelli, Pauline Rose, Jee Rubin, Yusuf Sayed, Maha Shuayb and Arathi Sriprakash, BAICE, 17 December 2023 and UKFIET, 18 January 2024

This blog highlights the implications of academic and scholarly silence and inaction. It provides five clear recommendations for international academic solidarity.

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Young children sing in class, Zanaibar
(Credit: Robin Baptista)

Understanding research priorities and professional development needs of early years researchers in Africa

Samuel Asare and Pauline Essah, UKFIET, 14 December 2023

This blog discusses research priorities and professional development needs of early childhood development and foundational learning researchers in Africa. It draws on data collected from Africa-based researchers.

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Children study in class with masks on during Covid times, Ethiopia
(Credit: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency)

Ethiopia’s education system is in crisis – now’s the time to fix it

Tebeje Molla and Dawit Tibebu Tiruneh, The Conversation, 23 November 2023

Ethiopia’s secondary education sector is in crisis. Hundreds of thousands of children continue to complete primary school without grasping the fundamentals of literacy and numeracy. For the second consecutive year, more than 96% of students who participated in the national school leaving examination scored less than the mark required to pass. Now is the time to act, with a sense of urgency and purpose.

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Teacher helps young children in a classroom
(Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch)

Mapping research on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in sub-Saharan Africa contexts – where are the publications?

Hélène Binesse and Rui da Silva, UKFIET, 9 November 2023 (with French version on NORRAG, 23 November 2023)

To what extent are African researchers publishing on foundational literacy and numberacy? This blog concludes that research in languages other than English should be further supported to ensure diversity and equitable participation.

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Inclusion image
(Credit: NORRAG)

I AIN’T NO AFTERTHOUGHT: Challenging the non-prioritisation of the educational rights of children with disabilities

Basirat Razaq-Shuaib, NORRAG, 2 November 2023

This blog presents a poem that Basirat delivered at the 2023 UKFIET Conference. The poem draws attention to the non-prioritisation of children with disabilities in educational reform agendas.

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Desk full of locally made African toys
(Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch)

Mapping early childhood development research for local knowledge and global development: Evidence from sub-Saharan African-based researchers

Daniel Hawkins Iddrisu, UKFIET, 24 October 2023

This blog focuses on mapping sub-Saharan African-based ECD research and researchers. It aims to understand the landscape of ECD research, the challenges and opportunities available to ensure the visibility and application of locally-led evidence to inform policy, planning and practice in Africa.

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RISE blog poster
(Credit: RISE Programme)

Beyond academic learning loss: The effect of school closures on students’ socio-emotional skills

Tassew Woldehanna and Chanie Ejigu Berhie, RISE Programme, 24 October 2023

We know the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in academic learning loss, but what was the effect on school dropout and socio-emotional learning? Emerging data indicates that not all students have returned to continue their education even after schools have reopened, resulting in learning loss with lasting repercussions.

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Girl sits at desk in class writing
(Credit: Curt Carnemark/World Bank)

Celebrating 60 years of IIEP’s planning for gender equality and inclusion

Pauline Rose, UNESCO World Education Blog, 19 October 2023

As IIEP-UNESCO celebrates 60 years, this blog highlights how educational planning promotes gender equality and inclusion. Although much progress has been made towards gender equality and inclusion in education, there is still a lot to do. This blog highlights IIEP's achievements as well as areas that education planners can and must continue to engage with.

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Graphic from UNGEI to accompany blog - with paper
(Credit: UNGEI)

Leave No Girl Behind: Improves girls’ confidence in decision-making, but needs to be sustained to tackle gender social norms

Asma Zubairi , Pauline Rose , Monazza Aslam , Shenila Rawal and Romanshi Gupta, UNGEI, 9 October, 2023

A recent study engaged adolescent girls to understand their perspectives, through participatory research methods, in Kenya, Ghana and Nepal. This blog focuses on findings with respect to changes in adolescent girls’ decision-making and future aspirations as a result of their participation in the projects. It also focuses on what more needs to be done to sustain the momentum.

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Daniel Hawkins Iddrisu chats to another delegate at 2023 UKFIET conference
(Credit: UKFIET 2023 conference)

From a first-generation student to an early-career speaker in an international conference: A reflection of my UKFIET conference experience

Daniel Hawkins Iddrisu, UKFIET, 6 October, 2023

From a first-generation student to an early-career researcher, Daniel took the podium at his inaugural international conference at the UKFIET conference in September 2023. In this blog, he shares insights from the conference, recounting how this seminal experience has conferred lifelong benefits and, hopefully, offers valuable lessons to budding researchers.

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A young boy plays with a home-made tincan telephone in a rural classroom
(Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch)

The place of locally published and unpublished early childhood development research in sub-Saharan Africa

Eunice Mueni Williams, UKFIET, 3 October, 2023

Recent work to map early childhood development (ECD) research by African scholars from Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania found extremely few articles published in international journals. This raised the question of whether this research is more readily available within these countries from other sources. The article concludes that locally published or unpublished African research exists, but is largely invisible in international spaces and thus is maybe being excluded when developing international and local policies and development agendas.

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A student's hands reading Braille on paper
(Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch)

Notions around a “Successful Woman with Disabilities”: Exploring voices of girls in Nepal, Malawi and Uganda

Nidhi Singal and Laraib Niaz, World Bank Inclusive Education Initiative, 24 July 2023

For girls with disabilities, socially constructed beliefs on gender and disabilities may negatively impact attributes such as self-efficacy, aspirations for the future and conceptualisations of success. Yet, few studies have explored the aspirations of girls with disabilities themselves. A new study of Girls’ Education Challenge projects in Nepal, Malawi and Uganda spoke to teenage girls with disabilities, currently enrolled in secondary schools, and asked them how they perceived “success”.

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Photos taken by girls with disabilities in rural Malawi
(Credit: Girl with disability, Malawi)

Centring the voices of girls with disabilities: A Photovoice exploration of school life and challenges

Nidhi Singal and Laraib Niaz, UNGEI, 13 July 2023

A recent REAL Centre study used participatory methods to understand how educational interventions of Girls’ Education Challenge projects impacted the lives of girls with disabilities and their families. The research engaged with girls with varied disabilities in Malawi to understand what they valued about secondary schooling and the challenges they faced. All photos were taken by Malawian girls as part of the research.

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Nairobi city skyline with surrounding national park
(Credit: Murad Swaleh, via Unsplash)

From Cambridge to Nairobi: Insights from fieldwork

Naomi van Rijn, FERSA, 28 June 2023

For many researchers, carrying out their fieldwork is the pinnacle of their research process. However, culture shock, no matter how prepared individuals are, is a reality. The author reflects on how important it is for a researcher to be prepared to deal with this particular kind of loneliness and all the feelings that go with it.

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Boys playing cricket in India
(Credit: Prasannapix)

All work and no play? Busting the binary in Majority World settings

Stephen Bayley, PEDAL, 19 June 2023

A recent report on measuring playful learning in several international contexts found the distinction between work and play was not clear-cut. Drawing on data from Colombia, Ghana and Kenya, the authors describe the ‘porous’ boundary between work and play, with adults engaging children in chores, responsibilities and ‘work-like play’ at home and in school.

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Children playing outside in a poor village, Malawi
(Credit: Girl with disability, Malawi)

Centring the voices of girls with disabilities: A Photovoice exploration of school life and challenges

Nidhi Singal and Laraib Niaz, Girls' Education Challenge, 6 June 2023

This blog presents views from six girls with disabilities who participated in a Photovoice activity in rural Malawi. They were asked to take photos about their experiences and challenges relating to school life. The girls all emphasised the value of education for a better future. Their experiences showed the need for basic infrastructure and facilities (not just targetted assistive resources), which have a positive impact on all children, not just girls with disabilities.

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Silhouette of muslim girl walking into her classroom with a walking stick
(Credit: Al-Baraa Mansoor/Save the Children)

Focused interventions for girls with disabilities builds ‘life-changing’ self-esteem and aspirations

Nidhi Singal and Laraib Niaz, World Education Blog, 31 May 2023

Interventions targetting girls with disabilities improved learning outcomes, yet the most striking results concern the broader social and emotional impact. Girls expressed greater confidence and self-esteem, improved social interactions and more positive aspirations for their own futures. The authors stress that measures to provide additional resources or adaptations must be accompanied by more basic improvements to schools.

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Secondary school girls at youth group, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
(Credit: Tim & Annette Gulick)

Free secondary education in African countries is on the rise - but is it the best policy? What the evidence says

Rob Gruijters, The Conversation, 31 May 2023

The abolition of secondary school fees in resource-constrained contexts is still a subject of debate. Free secondary education can be costly and inequitable in the short run, especially if it diverts resources from primary education. Based on new findings, this blog argues for a policy of “progressive universalism”: free education should be introduced gradually, starting with the lowest levels.

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Pre-primary mentor with children
(Credit: Theirworld/Mara Mambo Media)

G20 leaders need to step up to the mark in investing in early childhood education for the world’s poorest children

Pauline Rose and Justin van Fleet, World Education Blog, 17 May 2023

International aid for pre-primary education has fallen further behind spending agreed targets since the outbreak of Covid-19. Some of the world’s least-advantaged children have little prospect of receiving any pre-primary education. The G20 urgently needs to review and revitalise its commitments to early childhood education at its meeting in September 2023 in New Delhi.

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Three early career researcher authors
(Credit: Pat Kwok)

Early Career Research: Making our world a more welcoming place for education

Pat Kwok, Dawit Tibebu Tiruneh and Mesele Araya, Homerton College, 11 May 2023

The three authors are all post-doctoral researchers with the REAL Centre and share similar passions for improving equitable access to quality education for all children and adolescents particularly in low-income contexts. Their endless conversations have revolved around the causes of inequalities in education, and how research might contribute to addressing those issues.

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UKCDR poster with blog title
(Credit: UKCDR)

A new Dimension for understanding international collaboration: Mapping as a tool for assessing equitable partnerships

Anthony Bridgen and Pauline Rose, UKCDR, 3 May 2023

The pursuit of equity in research partnerships is crucial for addressing the power imbalances characteristic of collaborations in recent decades. The mapping of research collaborations, especially between Global South and North researchers, can be a valuable tool for measuring a partnership’s extent. This blog summarises a mapping of publications from 2022 in peer reviewed, international journals co-authored by the University of Cambridge and researchers based in low- and lower-middle income countries.

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PEDAL slide with blog title
(Credit: PEDAL)

Play in South African autism schools: why are formalised ethical processes important?

Stephanie Nowack, PEDAL, 2 May 2023

This blog considers how to ethically conduct research in Global South settings. The author has identified three steps: Engage in bottom-up, exploratory, and participatory research approaches; Engage in genuine collaborative partnerships with South African organisations from the very beginning of research; Respect local data ownership and rules of ethics.

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Two people shaking hands in partnership
(Credit: Cytonn Photography via Unsplash)

Navigating uncertainty: The role of north-south research partnerships in Ethiopia’s education response to COVID-19

Louise Yorke, Janice Heejin Kim, Belay Hagos Hailu and Chanie Ejigu Berhie National Centre for Research Methods 27 April 2023

This blog shares key learning from two Ethiopia research projects to help achieve equitable north-south partnerships, and achieve greater policy impact. Strong relationships helped to adapt the research during COVID-19 to consider changing policy priorities in response to the crisis, implement careful research practices, and generate timely and quality evidence for government, schools and parents.

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Youth protest in Durbar Square, Nepal
(Credit: Binaya Photography via Unsplash)

Is development a new channel for youth activism?

Phoenix Kenney Cambridge Peace and Educatoin Research Group 19 April 2023

While it appears youth have become integrated in Nepal’s political structure and there are now platforms centered around ‘youth voice’, young people still feel they aren’t being heard, encouraging them to look to other means.

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Young girl clapping in classroom, Sierra Leone
(Credit: GPE/Ludovica Pellicioli)

Combining monitoring and advocacy for a 10 per cent spending target on pre-primary education

Pauline Rose and Asma Zubairi UKFIET 12 April 2023

Aid spending on pre-primary schooling remains abysmally low, despite growing recognition of the importance of a child's first five years of life. Theirworld has been campaigning for 10% of education aid budgets to be spent on pre-primary education. This blog shows we are still a long way from seeing this as a reality.

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A class full of primary school students, Rwanda
(Credit: GPE/Dan Petrescu)

Deficit-oriented teacher beliefs inhibit poor students’ learning and wellbeing

Rob J. Gruijters and Nomisha Kurian UKFIET 3 April 2023

Low learning outcomes, especially among poor and marginalised students, are a pervasive problem in many low- and middle-income countries. Negative teacher beliefs and expectations may contribute to low learning outcomes among the poor, especially if they are reflected in classroom practices and interactions. This blog summarises findings from a literature review to identify the mechanisms that link teacher beliefs to the wellbeing and educational achievement of marginalised students.

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Sunset on the streets in Rwanda
(Credit: Michael Muli via Unsplash)

Gaining research permissions in Rwanda and Tanzania: Engaging locally and building integrity as an ‘outsider’

Emma Carter and Manuel Kernan FERSA 9 March 2023

While not necessarily the most enjoyable aspect of a research project, due to the time and paperwork involved, gaining research clearance is vital, and has a number of additional benefits for the research itself. This article discusses the research permission process for Rwanda and Tanzania.

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Digital storytelling
(Credit: Joseph Mucira via Pixabay)

‘My digital dreamkeeper’: Using technology-enhanced learning and human-centred design to support refugee learners’ wellbeing

Nomisha Kurian REACH 27 February 2023

It has been well-documented that trauma-affected students often thrive when given more time to think and process. For refugee youth who have experienced trauma and loss, narrative expression through digital diaries creates space to process and make meaning around their experiences.

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Young girls plays in the sand, India
(Credit: Jakob Owens via Unsplash)

Combatting a poverty of play: revisiting the global landscape of post-pandemic play and learning

Sabilah Eboo Alwani BAICE 23 February 2023

A year on from the March 2022 virtual Global Symposium on Post-Pandemic Play, this blog is an opportunity to reflect on what has changed and where we are at now. Two of the speakers share updates on their work and perspectives on the status of play’s adoption as a post-Covid tool for returning to learning.

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Girl uses an electronic tablet in class, Kenya
(Credit: GPE/Deepa Srikantaiah)

Building bridges, not barriers: 5 takeaways from innovations in disability-inclusive technology

Nomisha Kurian Cambridge Wellbeing & Inclusion SIG, 13 February 2023

‘We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.’ The way we design technology needs to include historically overlooked groups of people, such as elders, women and girls, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities. This blog focuses on the world’s largest minority: people with disabilities. It highlights 5 takeaways the author has learned from studying disability-inclusive technology.

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Youth Ambassador for Girls' Education
(Credit: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development)

Advancing the agenda in girls' education research

Benta Abuya, David Evans, Selim Gulesci, Nicole Haberland, Susannah Hares, Rabea Malik, Alessia Mortara
and Pauline Rose Center for Global Development, 8 February 2023

This note was written by a group of researchers who have come together to outline some crucial next steps to advance the research agenda on girls’ education. They propose five areas where researchers can better collaborate to advance the field, and call for better coordination among researchers—and better collaboration among researchers, policymakers, and funders—to keep advancing our knowledge and action for girls' education and women’s empowerment.

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Boy writes English letters on the blackboard in Ethiopia
(Credit: GPE/Carolina Valenzuela)

What have we learned from Ethiopia’s national quality education reform programme: Lessons for the Ministry of Education

Mesele Araya, Tassew Woldehanna, Pauline Rose and Ricardo Sabates RISE Programme, 30 January 2023

This blog outlines key messages from a workshop held in Addis Ababa in December 2022 to celebrate the end of the six-year Research for Improving Systems of Education (RISE) project. The blog summarises three main takeaways from RISE Ethiopia’s research with lessons for the continuation of the Ethiopian Ministry of Education’s quality education reform process in going forward.

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Girl sits at her desk in a primary school classroom, Ethiopia
(Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch)

Lessons from Ethiopia for the global education community on large-scale education reforms with equity

Pauline Rose, Ricardo Sabates and Tassew Woldehanna UKFIET, 29 January 2023

As the RISE Ethiopia programme comes to an end, the research team has been encouraged to see how the research has been influential in not only informing national policy change, but also global education policy debates. This blog looks back at some of the key messages from the research, and shares a few examples of how the work has had an impact.

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3 qualities for effective research and policy partnerships
(Credit: The Impact Initiative)

Working at the confluence of research and implementation to support girls’ education: Reflections on the REAL Centre – CAMFED partnership

Luisa Ciampi and Lilla Oliver, BAICE, 15 December 2022

This blog highlights key lessons from the partnership between the REAL Centre and CAMFED working at the confluence of research and implementation with the aim of supporting girls’ education.

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Ceilidh dance at the BAICE conference in Edinburgh
(Credit: Basirat Razaq-Shuaib)

BAICE OR REPLACE? My Experience of the 2022 BAICE Conference as a PhD Student

Basirat Razaq-Shuaib, BAICE, 30 November 2022

This blog relates the experiences of a PhD candidate in participating at and helping to organise the first in-person BAICE conference since Covid. "Overall, it wasn’t perfect but it was insightful, beautiful and memorable."

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Conference building at the University of Edinburgh
(Credit: Sandra Baxter)

Sharing experiences of youth partnership in conflict contexts: Reflections from the BAICE conference

Phoenix Kenney, BAICE, 24 November 2022

This blog provides reflections from a PhD candidate on her experience of participating at the September 2022 BAICE conference as part of a panel on ‘partnerships in conflict contexts.’ The panellists emphasised the importance of listening to youth voices in times of emergency.

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Map of African from the African Education Research Database
(Credit: African Education Research Database)

Evidence on education in the early years needs greater prioritisation in sub-Saharan Africa

Samuel Asare, Priscilla Bretuo, David Izuogu and Ronald Omuthe, Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), 11 November 2022

ESSA and the REAL Centre have been updating the African Education Research Database. Between 2018 and 2021, the number of new publications per year more than quadrupled. Almost half of all publications were on higher education, with a notable decline in those on primary education. Not only is early childhood education a tiny proportion of overall publications, but an extremely small proportion of these publications receive external funding.

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Panel presentation at September 2022 BAICE conference
(Credit: Sandra Baxter)

Lessons learned from a North-South research partnership in Rwanda

Lydie Shima and Emma Carter, UKFIET, 18 October 2022

While literature recommends partnerships which are equitable, a number of challenges and power imbalances can emerge. Another factor which is typically overlooked is the important role that methodology can play in supporting equitable partnerships. This blog reflects on lessons learned from a partnership through the Leaders In Teaching programme.

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Workshop to share research findings with teachers, Kigali June 2022
(Credit: Laterite)

Bringing teachers’ voices into the discussion about teaching and learning in Rwanda

Laterite and REAL Centre, UKFIET, 5 October 2022

Engaging research participants in the findings they have contributed to can help to identify rich evidence-based solutions.This blog outlines how the Leaders In Teaching programme shared findings with teachers who then made recommendations which were shared directly with policy-makers in Rwanda.

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Boy sits doing homework on carpet, India
(Credit: GPE/Deepa Srikantaiah)

Parental involvement continues to be central for reducing school dropout: Evidence from India during the pandemic

Subhasree Sarkar, Suman Bhattacharjea and Ricardo Sabates, UKFIET, 26 September 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the closure of schools and lockdowns in India. What can we learn about the role of parents during school closures and their influence on reducing the likelihood of school dropout?

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Example graph of attrition rates
(Credit: Authors)

Modelling sample attrition in "value-added" models of learning

Mesele Araya, Dawit Tibebuh Tiruneh and John Hoddinott, RISE, 22 September 2022

As primary school enrolment rates continue to increase in low-income countries, attention is shifting away from factors that affect attendance and towards those factors that affect learning. This blog introduces a 9-step approach to adjust for dropout while calculating learning gained by a cohort over a school year.

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Male teachers gives a class to students outside on a carpet, India
(Credit: GPE/Deepa Srikantaiah)

Involving the community in raising children’s foundational learning outcomes: Evidence from India

Suman Bhattacharjea, Deepak Kumar and Ricardo Sabates, UKFIET, 18 July 2022

Achieving basic literacy and numeracy skills is fundamental for successful learning through the schooling cycle. Supporting children to achieve these foundational skills requires not just teachers, but the whole community working together to enable meaningful understandings and applications of these skills. How can multiple stakeholders work together to ensure that children achieve their full learning potential?

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Professor Eugene Ndabaga from University of Rwanda gives presentation
(Credit: Cambridge Africa)

Transitioning to an unfamiliar medium of instruction: pedagogical strategies used by Rwandan primary school teachers to enable learning

Eugene Ndabaga, Cambridge Africa, 15 July 2022

This blog reflects on strategies used by teachers in classrooms as they aim to engage children with learning concepts outlined in the national curriculum. The research investigates the classroom pedagogical strategies used by primary school teachers to support the transition from Kinyarwanda to English as language of instruction.

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UNGEI graphic of children united against gender inequality
(Credit: UNGEI)

It's not girls versus boys, it's ALL children against gender inequality

Luisa Campi, Pauline Rose and Antara Ganguli, UNGEI, 29 April 2022

It is important to contextualise enrolment, learning and completion data within the larger situation of girls and boys. Girls’ education remains a compelling entry point to tackle deep-seated inequalities in the education system. This blog proposes that gender equality in and through education is a more productive banner than boys’ education or indeed, girls’ education.

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Profile of teenage girl against the sun, Pushkar, India
(Photo: Arvind Shakyar/

‘My teachers didn’t notice’: Nurturing the well-being of internally displaced children through trauma-informed education

Nomisha Kurian, UKFIET, 2 February 2022

How can we prioritise the well-being of displaced children in educational policy and practice? This blog attempts to understand children's struggles and histories with the aim of helping them feel seen and heard.

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CAMFED girl students walk to school in Zomba, Malawi
(Photo: CAMFED/Eliza Powell)

Honoured to partner on evidence to promote girls’ education internationally

Pauline Rose, UKFIET, 10 January 2022

In response to being awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List for 2022, Pauline Rose summarises her work and that of the REAL Centre team and partners on evidence promoting girls' education internationally.

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Happy girls in school playground at Hidassie School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
(Photo: GPE/Midastouch)

Adopting a holistic approach to examining learning loss as a result of school closures in Ethiopia: Including socio-emotional learning

Stephen Bayley, Darge Wole Meshesha, Paul Ramchandani, Pauline Rose, Tassew Woldehanna and Louise Yorke, RISE Programme, 8 December 2021

Research has begun to quantify the extent of learning loss following school closures, with many studies focusing on academic learning. However, evidence often overlooks the effects of the pandemic on children’s learning more broadly, including the effects of socio-emotional learning and the link with mental health and wellbeing.

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Teachers creating signs in classroom, Adamawa, Nigeria
(Photo: Kenechukwu Nwagbo)

Education in the context of multiple crises: reflections from the field

Kenechukwu Nwagbo, PEER Network, 25 November 2021

As a development practitioner working to provide education in the Adamawa region in Nigeria between 2016 and 2021, the author worked under two overlapping emergencies: Conflict and COVID-19. Here, she briefly discusses the primary issues facing education in emergencies, and how the intercalated crisis of the pandemic exacerbated the education challenges in one of the poorest regions of the world.

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Pauline Rose, Lucy Lake and Julia Gillard at Yidan Prize conference
(Photo: Chris Loades/Yidan Prize Foundation)

A ‘revolution in data’ is needed to create an equitable future through education

Pauline Rose, CAMFED, 3 November 2021

This blog summarises some of the issues discussed at the October REAL Centre and CAMFED conference, including advancements and challenges in girls’ education in the context of COVID-19 and climate change disruptions. Drawing on data and evidence emerging from low- and lower-middle income countries, the blog also highlights the key effects of school closures on education in these countries.

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Primary school children singing in a circle, Rwanda
(Photo: GPE/Alexandra Humme)

Framing ecosystems for childhood resilience

Stephen Bayley, UKFIET, 1 November 2021

Recent events on a global scale have highlighted the importance of nurturing children’s resilience to cope with adverse life events. As part of the ‘Resilience, Protection and Wellbeing’ theme of the 2021 UKFIET conference, a group of education researchers and practitioners had the opportunity to share their findings and experiences regarding different systems for promoting resilience. This blog shares highlights.

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Sticker on a road sign saying 'Keep Calm and Decolonize'
(Photo: Paul Sableman)

Provoking conversations around power, positionality, and bias in quantitative research

Laura Cashman, Deborah Spindelman and Charlotte Allen, BAICE, 27 October 2021 

Earlier this year, the student-run Quantitative Methods Group began discussing the implications of power, positionality and bias in quantitative research. They felt that work by quantitative researchers has not benefitted from the kind of critical reflexivity at the same scale as that done by qualitative researchers. This blog summarises some of the lessons learned from the discussions.

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Children putting their hands up in class in Ethiopia
(Photo: GPE/Midastouch)

Strengthening the education system for equitable learning during COVID-19 in Ethiopia

Louise Yorke, Pauline Rose, Tassew Woldehanna and Belay Hagos Hailu, NORRAG, 25 October 2021 

In the context of COVID-19, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality learning has become even more challenging due to the unequalising effects of the crisis. In Ethiopia, the significant gains made in education in recent decades are now threatened. Strengthening education systems for equitable learning is imperative and much focus has turned to “building back better” and more efficient education systems, resilient to future shocks.

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Image of the African Education Research Database on a computer screen
(Photo: Interface of the African Education Research Database)

Listening to African Researchers: Making sure evidence informs education policy and practice

Samuel Asare, Pauline Rose, Sandra Baxter, Pauline Essah and Izel Kipruto, Association for the Development of Education Africa (ADEA), 14 October 2021 

As education stakeholders increase their efforts to address low learning outcomes for students in sub-Saharan Africa, drawing on context-specific evidence to inform education policy and practice is imperative. To identify recent trends in the availability of evidence from African researchers, the REAL Centre and ESSA have updated the African Education Research Database and this blog summarises some new analysis.

Read the full blog post - Also published in French

A teacher helps a student with their studies Uganda
(Photo: @Uwezo Uganda)

Access to and learning outcomes from early childhood education: equity considerations for refugees and non-refugees in Uganda

Bea Simpson, Mary Goretti Nakabugo and Ricardo Sabates, UKFIET, 8 October 2021 

This blog explores the learning realities of refugee children in Uganda, within the globalised context of early childhood education (ECE). It examines levels of access for refugees and non-refugees and how this impacts learning outcomes.

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Rwanda Education Board elearning site
(Photo: @Rwanda Education Board)

Motivating learners in learning: lessons from the implementation of competence-based curriculum in Rwanda

Pui Ki Patricia Kwok and Theophile Nsengimana, BAICE Blog, 6 October 2021 

In Rwanda, reform efforts have come to form the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC) implemented in 2016. The researchers examine what can be learned from CBC and make recommendations for future teacher training.

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Teacher and students in classroom, Rwanda
(Photo: @GPE/Alexandra Humme)

World Teachers’ Day: Addressing teaching quality in Rwandan secondary education

Laterite and the REAL Centre, UKFIET, 5 October 2021 

This blog draws on a synthesis of publications and highlights five key factors associated with teaching quality in secondary education in Rwanda. These are essential to consider in programming, research and policy decisions.

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Sign on teacher training college wall: Teaching is a work of the heart
(Photo: @GPE/Ludovica Pellicioli)

Adapting interventions to strengthen teaching quality during the COVID-19 pandemic: Experience of the Girls’ Education Challenge in Afghanistan, Ghana and Sierra Leone

Monazza Aslam, Phoebe Downing, Romanshi Gupta, Shenila Rawal and Pauline Rose, UKFIET, 5 October 2021 

This blog highlights key findings from four Girls' Education Challenge projects and how they have engaged teachers and sought to improve teaching quality, whilst supporting girls to continue learning during school closures.

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Girl looking into classroom window
(Photo: @Mansi Nanda)

Contrasting teachers’ expectation and practices of interactions with parents in rural Sitapur, India

Mansi Nanda, UKFIET, 4 October 2021 

As schools start to reopen, it will be increasingly important for teachers to interact more with the parents. Therefore an understanding of the behaviours and structures that drive teachers to interact with parents could play a key role in strengthening school community partnerships to improve children’s learning.

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Face mask hanging behind chair in classroom
(Photo: @Marco Feliccia)

Supporting student teacher education during COVID-19 in Mexico

Israel Moreno Salto and Artemio Arturo Cortez Ochoa, UKFIET, 22 September 2021 

How have student teachers been affected by COVID-19 school closures? After all, they are the next generation of educators, and their development might equally impact prospects on children’s and young people’s well-being and learning. This study looks at teacher training college students in North Mexico during the first lockdown.

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Portrait painting of feminist Fahmida Riaz
(Photo: Portrait of Fahmida Riaz @Hafsa Zubair)

Exploring ‘Spaces’ of Learning: Girls’ Education during COVID in Pakistan

Aliya Khalid and Musharfa Shah, Mahbub Ul Haq Research Centre at LUMS, 23 July 2021 

This blog explores difference concepts of 'space' for girls and women in contemporary Pakistan. The learning 'space' is generally a culturally respected space. When young girls cannot access a school space, they not only lose access to formal teaching, but the social advantages that they gain from school.

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Assessment paper
(Photo: @GPE/Deepa Srikantaiah)

Expanding understanding of the use of Large-Scale Assessments for educational improvement

Israel Moreno Salto and Ricardo Sabates, PAL Network, 24 May 2021

This blog reflects on issues raised by a new World Bank book and a recent study of large-scale assessments in Mexico. Four broad issues are discussed: the socio-cultural context, which is not neutral; the nuanced understanding of different audiences; communication mechanisms of assessment data; and learning from both failures and successes.

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Abstract of concentric circles
(Photo: @Dimitry Zub via Unsplash)

Putting the collective impact of global development research into perspective – What we learned from six years of the Impact Initiative

Pauline Rose and Elizabeth Tofaris, LSE Impact Blog, 20 May 2021

At the end of the Impact Initiative programme, the REAL Centre reflects on providing support to 30 education-focused grants. Four main approaches are identified: valuing different types of impact; a collective approach to research engagement; facilitating engagement to inform policy actions; and supporting Southern-led influence for national policy change.

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Students in Ethiopia learn together in class
(Photo: @GPE/Midastouch)

Disability and learning in Ethiopia: What has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Dawit Tibebu Tiruneh, Nidhi Singal, Ricardo Sabates and Tirussew Teferra, RISE Programme, 12 May 2021

Learning during the prolonged school closures has been particularly challenging for children with disabilities, and significant concerns are being raised in relation to the impact on children’s learning and emotional wellbeing. This blog provides preliminary analysis of data collected from school personnel and parents of children with disabilities in Ethiopia.

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Teacher in a rural classroom Ethiopia
(Photo: @GPE/Alexandra Humme)

Learning inequalities widen following COVID-19 school closures in Ethiopia

Janice Kim, Pauline Rose, Dawit Tibebu Tiruneh, Ricardo Sabates and Tassew Woldehanna, RISE Programme, 4 May 2021

Pandemic related school closures in Ethiopia have disproportionately hit the most disadvantaged, particularly students from rural poor households, according to emerging evidence from RISE Ethiopia.

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Teacher in a rural classroom
(Photo: @GPE/Kelley Lynch)

As it assumes leadership of the global education agenda, the UK slashes its own aid to education

Susannah Hares and Pauline Rose, Center for Global Development, 23 April 2021

It’s devastating that, instead of demonstrating its commitment to education during its year in the spotlight for leadership, the UK government has chosen to cut education spending by more than 40 percent, compared with overall aid cuts of around 25 percent.

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Rural school during Covid closures
(Photo: @GPE/Alexandra Humme)

Practical and ethical challenges of doing distance research in the Global South during a global pandemic

Louise Yorke, Janice Kim, Belay Hagos Hailu and Chanie Ejigu Berhie, RISE Programme, 16 April 2021

This blog reflects on some of the practical and ethical issues that arose during implementation of two related research projects that took place in Ethiopia during the COVID-19 school closures and aimed to understand the impact of the crisis on the education system.

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Ethiopia mental health support
(Photo: @GPE/Stefan Bachenheimer)

Supporting students' socio-emotional learning, mental health, and wellbeing during and after COVID-19

Louise Yorke, RISE, 15 March 2021

Socio-emotional learning could be the key to unlocking students’ full potential in a post-COVID world, but there is a need for more evidence focused on socio-emotional learning in the context of the Global South. A new study by the RISE Ethiopia team aims to start filling this gap.

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Girls in science class, Bangladesh
(Photo: @Ricci Coughlan/DFID)

Adolescent women are being left behind in international efforts to end poverty

Pauline Rose, Tom Kirk and Sandra Baxter, UKFIET, 11 February 2021

A new report is urging for adolescent women to be given more of a priority within international efforts to end poverty and achieve other development targets by 2030. It argues that there is an urgent need to do more to support marginalised, adolescent women in low- and middle-income countries, many of whom leave education early and then face an ongoing struggle to build secure livelihoods.

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New publication announcement

Effects of school closures on secondary school teachers and leaders in Rwanda: results from a phone survey

Laterite and REAL Centre, UKFIET, 12 January 2021

In August, during the COVID-19 school closures, phone interviews were conducted with secondary school head teachers and teachers in Rwanda to assess their experience of supporting students during school closures, and issues to consider when schools reopen. This blog highlights some of the key findings from the phone surveys.

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Girls in school yard, Sierra Leone
(Photo: @GPE/Stefan Bachenheim)

UK Government’s foreign aid cuts put girls’ education at risk

Pauline Rose, The Conversation, 26 November 2020

The UK government’s 2020 spending review suggests a cut in international aid, from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This will have severe effects on the lives of girls worldwide. Even before the pandemic, 130 million girls were out of school. This number will have increased as inequality gaps have widened. Even if the UK Government stands by its commitment to protect girls’ education directly, it will still be put in danger by cutting budgets elsewhere.

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Girls in classroom looking at a book Niger
(Photo: GPE/Kelley Lynch)

Humanitarian aid funding still failing education

Asma Zubairi and Pauline Rose, Global Partnership for Education, 18 November 2020

Alongside the many positive developments in relation to the ever-increasing visibility of education in emergencies, a new flagship report from INEE presents sobering findings on trends in humanitarian aid to education. Written in collaboration for INEE’s 20th anniversary, the report also highlights the huge neglect of education in humanitarian responses.

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Animator with children at a workshop
(Photo: INEE)

20 years of INEE: Achievements and challenges in education in emergencies

Dean Brooks, Silvia Montoya and Pauline Rose, INEE, 9 November 2020

The REAL Centre collaborated on INEE’s 20th Anniversary report focusing on achievements and challenges in education in emergencies. New data show that, even prior to COVID-19, 127 million primary and secondary school-age children and young people living in crisis-affected countries were out of school. This is equivalent to almost half of the global out-of-school population, even though only around 29% of children and young people in this age group globally live in crisis-affected countries.

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Children writing on small blackboards Madagascar
(Photo: Mohammad Al-Arief/The World Bank)

Tackling the COVID-19 education emergency through a progressive universalism approach to public financing

Pauline Rose, Global Partnership for Education, 27 October 2020

Due to additional pressures on domestic resources from the pandemic and the costs of additional measures to respond to COVID-19 education challenges, the Save Our Future campaign, supported by nearly 200 organisations around the globe, reminds us that the risks caused by the pandemic need to be averted with urgency and financing protected. Education is the solution to the longer-term recovery from the pandemic.

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school based mentor for teachers in Rwanda
(Photo: @VVOB/Etienne Ntawigira)

It’s time to learn together and get education right for all children

Pauline Rose and Sven Rooms, Global Partnership for Education, 21 October 2020

From separate silos to close collaborations: the COVID-19 pandemic is giving us an opportunity to build and strengthen the links between education programme implementers and researchers, to ensure that we learn from this crisis and use robust evaluations to improve learning results for children.

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Two children in school uniform on a bike in India
(Photo: Chelsea Aaron, Unsplash)

Engaging schools and communities to support children’s learning

Ricardo Sabates and Suman Bhattacharjea, Oriel Square Publishing, 7 October 2020

Ensuring that education objectives continue to be achieved during and after the pandemic involves multiple stakeholders and diverse partnerships. With new educational needs arising, and roles changing for all involved, the central question of accountability is unpacked through lessons learned from Pratham’s PAHAL intervention: how can we all work to ensure that children achieve their full learning potential?

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Teacher at the blackboard Rwanda
(Photo: Laterite)

Celebrating World Teachers Day: Reflections from Leaders in Teaching initiative in Rwanda

Laterite and REAL Centre, Laterite, 2 October 2020

As learning partners on the Mastercard Foundation’s Leaders in Teaching initiative, Laterite and the REAL Centre gather evidence on how teachers are coping with the COVID-19 crisis, and how implementing partners are pivoting their programmes to best support teacher and student learning. This blog shares how evidence-based ways can support teachers.

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Secondary school classroom Rwanda
(Photo: Laterite)

Using the Teach classroom observations tool in Rwanda

Laterite and REAL Centre, Laterite, 2 October 2020

This blog highlights lessons learned from using the World Bank’s Teach tool and video recordings to observe classroom activities in over 100 Rwandan secondary schools. The team used the tool to capture classroom observations in mathematics, with the aim of finding an empirical and scalable way to understand the impact of interventions to improve teaching quality.

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Wollayta sisters Ethiopia
(Photo: @Rob Waddington/Flickr)

Implications of COVID-19 for pre-primary education in Ethiopia: Perspectives of parents and caregivers

Janice Kim, Pauline Rose, Tassew Woldehanna, Belay Hagos Hailu and Mesele Araya, UKFIET, 30 September 2020

This blog highlights some of the key messages from a phone survey carried out with parents and caregivers of pre-primary school-aged children in Ethiopia during COVID-19 school closures. The surveys aimed to identify how parents and caregivers were responding to the crisis; what information and resources they had access to; how they were able to engage in supporting their children’s learning at home; and their perspectives on schools reopening.

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outdoor classroom under a tree Ghana
(Photo: Henry Donati/DFID)

The centrality of language for learning

Ricardo Sabates Aysa, The Tony Little Centre, 23 September 2020

What is the impact of school closures on children’s learning in multilingual environments in the Global South, where resources are constrained and many children lack basic foundational skills? Providing resources and activities in a language that is unfamiliar to learners does not benefit these children, and indeed can be detrimental to their learning. Restarting education in a language that children are unable to understand, whether fully or partially, is likely to exacerbate existing inequalities in literacy acquisition faced by children from linguistic minorities.

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Grade 9 student who travels 2.30 hours to school
(Photo: ©The Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University)

What are the challenges for reopening schools in Ethiopia? Perspectives of school principals and teachers

Louise Yorke, Pauline Rose, Tassew Woldehanna and Belay Hagos Hailu, Cambridge Africa, 18 September 2020

This blog summarises some of the key findings from phone surveys carried out with school principals and teachers during COVID-19 school closures in Ethiopia. The surveys aimed to identify how school principals and teachers were responding to the crisis; if and how they had been able to support parents and students; and their priorities once schools reopen.

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training secondary school teachers in Rwanda
(Photo: Laterite)

Improving teaching quality in Rwanda during COVID-19: Emerging opportunities for learning and research

Laterite and REAL Centre, Laterite, 15 September 2020

The Mastercard Foundation’s Leaders in Teaching programme supports secondary school teachers throughout their careers and prepares them to deliver high-quality, relevant education in STEM subjects. This blog highlights key points from discussions with implementing partners on emerging implications of COVID-19, with the aim of contributing to evidence of improved teacher quality and student learning through the programme.

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children reading on the floor of a classroom
(Photo: ©Asad Zaidi/Save the Children)

‘Coalitions for change’: The potential of a global coalition of parliamentarians to push for progress in girls’ education

Pauline Rose, IPNEd, 27 August 2020

Research shows that it will be vital for the International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNEd) to adopt a transformative leadership approach. This needs to tackle patriarchal norms and structures that create resistance to change, to enable all girls to access 12 years of quality education. Motivated and committed leaders need to work individually and collectively to convert political commitment into meaningful action.

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Disability teaching aids in classroom
(Photo: Hannah Gaffey)

Why we need to listen to asylum-seeking students

Hannah Gaffey, INEE, 25 August 2020

Based on Hannah’s MPhil research, which documented the post-compulsory educational experiences and aspirations of three young asylum seekers in the UK, she demonstrates the importance of listening to the voices of those who have been displaced. This blog outlines issues learnt from each participant in order to illustrate how we as educators and academics can better understand the reality of people’s lived experiences if we take enough time to sit and listen.

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Disability teaching aids in classroom
(Photo: Yisak Tafere)

Reflections on support available for vulnerable students in Ethiopia

Yisak Tafere, RISE, 6 August 2020

As part of RISE Ethiopia’s research, a qualitative study was designed to document the implementation of the General Education Quality Improvement Programme for Equity (GEQIP-E) reforms in selected schools and the impact of the reforms as perceived by school and community stakeholders. Data was collected in early 2020 and this blog provides some initial reflections on available support, the delivery process and challenges faced by children with disabilities and girls.

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India Disability Education policy
(Photo: Tanushree Sarkar)

Examining disability inclusion in India’s new National Education Policy

Tanushree Sarkar, CaNDER, 19 August 2020

India’s National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) has been hailed as a new era in educational reform. However, disabled children in India rarely progress beyond primary school, and only 9% complete secondary education. This blog examines the implications of the NEP for children with disabilities around four key aspects: school choice; teacher and special educators; assessments and curricula; and terminology of inclusion and disability.

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Girl talking in parliamentary debate
(Photo: Plan International/Roger Harris)

Transformative political leadership for girls’ education

Pauline Rose and Rebecca Gordon, Developmental Leadership Program, 29 July 2020

Marginalised girls are likely to be most affected by COVID-19. The UK Government committed to supporting 12 years of quality education for all girls, in collaboration with Commonwealth Heads of Government, when they met in London in 2018. Given the gap between progress and intention, it is important to consider how political leaders can translate statements into real change for marginalised girls.

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Assessment using sticks
(Photo: GPE/Deepa Srikantaiah)

More than the sum of its parts: Internationally-comparable citizen-led assessments to ensure no child is left behind

Pauline Rose, PAL Network, 8 July 2020

The PAL Network has been at the forefront of developing community-led approaches to assessing basic literacy and numeracy, in households rather than schools. A drawback has been that the data produced by each country survey, while similar in approach, has not been comparable at an international level… until now. The new assessment tool – International Common Assessment of Numeracy (ICAN) – provides data on early grades of primary school. Its availability couldn’t be more timely in the light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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Farmers gathering under a tree
(Photo: Kevin Martin)

Challenges and opportunities for mobile technology supported dialogue in East Africa

Kevin Martin, UKFIET, 30 June 2020

Kevin Martin is collaborating with adult subsistence farmers across central Kenya, who face the myriad challenges of poor infrastructure, poverty and varied levels of literacy. His research looks at how mobile technology can and should be used to support the existing small group dialogic education, which is the primary means of continuing education for these farmers. For those fortunate enough to own a mobile phone and have reliable network access, chances are the phone is an older ‘feature’ phone, incapable of little more than SMS and voice calls. To address these access challenges, Kevin’s research has pivoted to investigate educational platforms built entirely on SMS capabilities.

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Math exercise
(Photo: Muktangan Education Trust)

‘Education for All’ under lockdown: The path ahead for inclusion of children with disabilities

Seema Nath, UKFIET, 9 June 2020

The current pandemic situation is disproportionately affecting those within marginalised communities in India and across the globe. In education, these disadvantages are amplified for learners with disabilities belonging to low socio-economic backgrounds. Seema held interviews with educators in Mumbai about their experience and challenges, in order to try and learn lessons from schools that are incorporating the principles of inclusion and social justice while approaching these challenges.

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A child in India working at a laptop computer
(Photo: ©NDTV)

The new normal: Prioritising child wellbeing in India

Nomisha Kurian, Tanvi Sethi and Angana Das, UKFIET, 8 June 2020

As children in India face unprecedented stressors, this seems a timely moment to consider their wellbeing. In this article, the authors highlight factors that threaten their emotional health and suggest measures to protect and nurture it; they discuss experiences and insights as graduate researchers and development practitioners within India’s complex social, cultural, and economic milieu. Their analysis operates at three levels: society, home, and school.

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Empty classroom
(Photo: Screenshot of educational channels)

Traffic to educational YouTube channels and Google Classroom during COVID-19 shows the stark digital divide between nations

Vijay Siddharth Pillai, UKFIET, 2 June 2020

Amidst school closures, governments across the world are trying to ensure continuity of learning through various means, including instructional videos and online tools like Google Classroom. However, its effectiveness depends on proximal factors like its accessibility and consistent use. Analysis of the extent and profile of traffic to educational YouTube channels and Google Classroom shows that the barriers are stacked up against children of less developed and fragile nations when it comes to accessing these online tools and platforms.

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Empty classroom
(Photo: Girls’ school in Kasur, TEACh project, 2015)

Challenges and opportunities for Pakistan education systems in the COVID-19 response

Rabea Malik, UKFIET, 1 June 2020

As a result of global school closures, it has become immediately clear that the children at risk of dropping out, and those who are likely to experience the most significant learning losses, are the ones from marginalised backgrounds. Poverty, gender and location are intersecting to entrench exclusion for already-marginalised children. What do government policies and guidelines around education during the COVID-19 pandemic mean for Pakistan’s large, diverse, federated education system? Given the scale of operations and the nature of entrenched inequities, the key guiding principles should be to address inequalities and to strengthen decentralised governance and service delivery.

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Students in Zoom meeting
(Photo: Buyung Alfian Sudrajat)

Adapting to the times: Student experiences of rethinking research under lockdown

Kayla Malone and Richa Sharma, UKFIET, 29 May 2020

Education around the world has been disrupted as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic – from pre-primary level in Ethiopia, to basic education in Ghana, to higher education in Syria. Higher education in the UK has also been affected – a group of students from the MPhil Education, Globalisation and International Development course at the University of Cambridge reflect here on how their fieldwork has been affected and how they are adapting to their new realities.

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Empty classroom
(Photo: Henry Donati/DFID)

Estimating learning loss by looking at time away from school during grade transition in Ghana

Ricardo Sabates and Emma Carter, UKFIET, 27 May 2020

During the current school closures, several methods for reaching children at distance have been implemented, including the use of radio and television, as well as off-line resources. How much children will learn during this time remains unknown, although it is expected that the poorest will be hit the hardest. In an attempt to shed some light on these unknown factors, they provide an estimate of the potential learning loss which happens when children transition from one school year to the next after undergoing the Complementary Basic Education programme in Ghana. 

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Empty classroom
(Photo credit: Vicki Francis/Department for International Development)

Stop. Pause. Reflect. Rethinking teacher engagement during lockdown

Camilla H Chaudhary and Annya F Niaz, UKFIET, 22 May 2020

The current lockdown has positioned home schooling and remote learning, previously outliers of mainstream education, as the new normal. Are teachers engaging with their students using these new ways of learning? If so, how can they be supported in this effort and to prepare for when schools will reopen? The authors look at teacher training during lockdown in Pakistan and make recommendations for repositioning priorities that could be applied in other contexts.

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Empty classroom
(Photo credit: USAID Afghanistan)

No-tech solutions to continue learning: an example from Afghanistan

Vijay Siddharth Pillai, UKFIET, 12 May 2020

Afghanistan is developing print-based, self-instructional materials for learners to ensure a more inclusive response to the COVID-19 crisis. Vijay Siddharth Pillai discusses the purpose and structure of self-instructional material for children who don’t have access to the internet or the necessary devices for accessing this content.

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Empty classroom
(Photo credit: RISE Programme)

Education response to COVID-19: How can basic education be implemented in Ethiopia?

Belay Hagos Hailu, UKFIET, 11 May 2020

How can basic education be implemented in Ethiopia during the COVID-19 pandemic? Due to the school closures, there could be significant learning loss in general and huge inequalities against disadvantaged segments of the population. This blog outlines five strategies for implementing basic education: availability of devices; providing a coordinated response; monitoring engagement and learning; inclusion of pre-school children; and coping emotionally with the effects of a pandemic.

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Empty classroom
(Photo credit: UKFIET)

Connect and adapt to learn and live: Deaf education in Sri Lanka

Thilanka Wijesinghe, UKFIET, 7 May 2020

During the pandemic crisis, an area that has been instantaneously dropped, lost or completely invisible is the education of children with disabilities. This article aims to provide visibility to the field of disability in education. An online survey was carried out with educators in two residential, semi-government schools for the Deaf in Sri Lanka.

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University of Aleppo
(Photo credit: University of Aleppo, Basma Hajir)

COVID-19 and conflict: Challenges and hopes for an alternative future in higher education in Syria

Basma Hajir and Hiba Salem, UKFIET, 6 May 2020

COVID-19 highlights limitations that Syrian teachers and students have faced for years, while offering new opportunities. Basma Hajir and Hiba Salem highlight the complex challenges of Syria’s higher education system and open up debate to help envisage an alternative future for the country’s university situation.

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Empty classroom
(Photo credit: Mother and child at Megab Health Centre, Hintalo Wajirat woreda, Tigray Region, UNICEF Ethiopia/2019/Mersha)

The threat of COVID-19 on Ethiopia’s recent gains in pre-primary education

Janice Kim and Pauline Rose, UKFIET, 4 May 2020

The current school closures in Ethiopia place at risk improvements to date in access for many students who were previously excluded from education. With increased government involvement, the gross enrollment rate in pre-primary education surged from 4 to 46% over a six-year period. This article highlights the challenges of distance education for early childhood level, where there are wide inequalities by household wealth and urban-rural locations.

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Empty classroom
(Photo credit: RISE Programme, Ethiopia)

COVID-19 school closures may further widen the inequality gaps between the advantaged and the disadvantaged in Ethiopia

Dawit Tibebu Tiruneh, UKFIET, 21 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic could have a lasting impact on increasing inequality in low-income countries such as Ethiopia. This blog outlines three areas for attention: introducing evidence-based interventions to recover lost learning; putting strategies in place to ensure children return to school when they reopen; and preparing teachers, students, and parents in advance of future crises.

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Empty classroom
(Photo credit: Education Partnerships Group)

Rethinking education in the time of COVID-19: Getting dizzy from all the pivoting

Julie Bélanger, UKFIET, 17 April 2020

With the global situation changing daily and an exponentially growing proportion of children out of school, governments have been scrambling to find ways of ensuring some continuity in learning now, while planning for the medium- to longer-term consequences of the pandemic. This blog discusses how this has required so much pivoting that it is not surprising that we are all feeling somewhat dizzy… It outlines three key areas: learning from the evidence, governments adapting quickly and knowledge sharing in a time of global crisis.

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Empty classroom
Photo credit: creative commons licensed (CC) Flickr photo by tmorkemo

Think local: Support for learning during COVID-19 could be found from within communities

Ricardo Sabates, UKFIET, 16 April 2020

Although Ricardo Sabates advocates for the use of educational technologies (EdTech) as an aid to learning, he outlines important lessons from ongoing REAL Centre research which should unleash the potential of communities to tackle this crisis. These include: supporting volunteers to serve their communities; engaging with locally-trained facilitators; engaging with parents; measuring learning; and support through off-line methods.

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Empty classroom
(Photo credit: GPE/Livia Barton)

Rethinking education in the time of COVID-19: What can we contribute as researchers?

Pauline Rose, UKFIET, 7 April 2020

This blog was written by Professor Pauline Rose, Director of the REAL Centre. It highlights some of the efforts to support the continuation of education during the current COVID-19 pandemic and asks what researchers can contribute towards an evidence base that will be relevant for policy now and in the future.

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