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REAL: News & Events

REAL Centre Seminar Series, Lent Term - Caroline Brooks, Syria Projects Manager

Caroline Brooks images
Monday 25 February
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the next seminar in our Lent seminar series: 

Caroline Brooks, Syria Projects Manager, International Alert


In collaboration with CPERG (Cambridge Peace and Education Research Group)

Date: Tuesday 26th February

Location: Room GS1, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 13:00-14:00

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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Lent Term - Panel discussion.

Panel discussion
Tuesday 19 February
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the final seminar in our Lent seminar series:

Panel discussion with Leon Tikly, Arathi Sriprakash, Sharon Walker and Pauline Rose

In collaboration with the Race, Empire and Education Research Collective

Racism, education and international development

REAL Centre

Date: Friday 22nd February

Location: Room 1S3, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ

All welcome - please join us 14:00-16:00

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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Lent Term - Dr Matthew Jukes

Dr Matthew Jukes Seminar
Wednesday 13 February
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the next seminar in our Lent seminar series: 

Dr Matthew Jukes

Senior Education Evaluation Specialist, Research
Triangle Institute


REAL Centre

Date: Tuesday 19th February

Location: Room 1S3, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 13:00-14:00

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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Lent Term - Dr Elena Schmidt, Sightsavers

Dr Elena Schmidt Seminar
Monday 11 February
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the next seminar in our Lent seminar series: 

Dr Elena Schmidt

Sightsavers


REAL Centre

Date: Tuesday 12th February

Location: Room 1S3, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 13:00-14:00

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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Lent Term - Professor Erin Murphy-Graham, University of California Berkeley

REAL Seminar Professor Erin Murphy-Graham
Monday 4 February
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the next seminar in our Lent seminar series: 

Professor Erin Murphy-Graham

University of California Berkeley


REAL Centre

Date: Wednesday 6th February

Location: Room GS5, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 14:00-15:00

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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Lent Term - Rona Bronwin Education Research Team, DFID

Research relationships for impact:A donor perspective
Tuesday 22 January
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the next seminar in our Lent seminar series: 

Rona Bronwin

Education Research Team, DFID


REAL Centre

Date: Tuesday 5th February

Location: Room 1S3, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 13:00-14:00

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Stronger political leadership needed to close global gender divide in education

Faculty of Education News
Sunday 20 January
The poorest girls in many Commonwealth countries spend no more than five years in school, with the global target of 12 years of quality universal education remaining “a distant reality” for many, according to a new report charting global inequality in girls’ education.

The study, commissioned by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and produced by the REAL Centre at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, reveals that the most disadvantaged girls rarely reach high levels of education, beyond primary, that benefit most from national and aid funding. In Nigeria and Pakistan, girls from poor rural households average just one year at school, while rich urban boys enjoy 11 or 12 years of study.

National governments and donor countries must show greater political commitment if global goals on gender equality in education are to be reached, according to the report, 12 Years of Quality Education for All Girls: A Commonwealth Perspective.

Barriers to access

The study highlights an array of barriers that prevent girls accessing education, including gender-based violence within and on the way to school, and absenteeism during menstruation because of a lack of availability of sanitary protection. For marginalised girls, cost is also a key barrier in sending girls to school, with poverty leading some girls to have sex with men who provide them with the essentials of secondary schooling that their family cannot afford. Schools must be made “safe spaces” for girls, particularly in areas affected by conflict, say the authors, while cash support for the poorest families may help ease financial pressures and free up daughters to go to school.

Professor Pauline Rose, Director of the REAL Centre and author of the report, said: “Evidence shows us what works to address barriers that marginalised girls face in their access and learning. Much more needs to be done to implement these interventions at far greater scale. It is vital that current political uncertainties do not jeopardise the prioritisation of investment in girls’ education to enable this to happen.”
 
The report was commissioned by the Platform for Girls’ Education, co-chaired by the UK Foreign Secretary and Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Education. The platform, a group of 12 influential figures across the Commonwealth, was created after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018 affirmed the importance of 12 years of quality education for all, particularly marginalised girls. Achieving that target by 2030 is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals signed up to in 2015 by leaders across the globe.

Equality a “distant reality”

The study finds that, over the past 20 years, considerable progress has been made in increasing access to primary schooling in the 53 countries of the Commonwealth. There are now equal proportions of boys and girls primary enrolled in 31 out of 44 Commonwealth countries with data. But despite this progress, “12 years of schooling remains a distant reality for many of the most disadvantaged girls residing in Commonwealth countries,” the report says. Gender parity in enrolment has sometimes been achieved even though primary schooling is still not universal: in 2017, 137 million primary-and-secondary school aged children were out of school in these countries, approximately half of them girls.

In 15 out of 21 Commonwealth countries with available data, poor rural girls spend no more than five years in school, and so have little chance of making the transition to secondary school. In six countries, they spend only one or two years in education. Children and adolescents affected by conflict are most likely to be out of school, and refugee girls are particularly at risk: they are half as likely as their male counterparts to be in secondary school.

Poor learning in school

Even those children in school are frequently not learning the basics, researchers found. The recently launched Human Capital Index shows that girls’ education fares far worse when years in school is adjusted for whether or not children are learning. In 14 out of the 26 countries with data, girls who are in school are learning only for the equivalent of six years or less. The picture is likely to be even starker for girls in rural areas and those facing other forms of disadvantage.

Disadvantage starts early, the study says, with many girls denied early years investment that is proven to boost educational achievement later. In eight of 14 Commonwealth countries with data, no more than 40 percent of poor rural girls have access to pre-primary education, and in three out of these eight countries, fewer than 10 percent are enrolled.

Governments should do more to target funding on lower levels of education and marginalised groups, the report argues. In 33 out of 45 Commonwealth countries with data, governments are spending far more on post-primary levels of education than on primary schooling, even though the probability of the most disadvantaged girls reaching these levels of education is extremely low. Of the 35 Commonwealth countries with data on pre-primary spending, 25 governments are spending less than five percent of their education budgets on pre-primary education.

Early years not prioritised

The same failure to prioritise the early years is seen in education aid spending. Funding for primary education fell from around two thirds in 2002 to under a half (47%) by 2016, and a mere 0.4 percent of education aid to Commonwealth countries was spent on pre-primary education. By contrast, 10 percent is spent on scholarships to allow students from aid-recipient Commonwealth countries to study in donor countries, even though only the most privileged benefit from such schemes.

In addition, only around five percent of total education aid appears to be spent with the main objective of achieving gender equality. The UK alone bucks the trend, with all but 2% of education aid targeting gender equality directly or significantly affecting it.

To tackle discrimination and work towards gender equality in education, governments of Commonwealth countries must show visible high-level political commitment backed by resources, the study concludes. Funding towards early childhood education and early learning should be prioritised.
 
Support for girls at puberty

There must also be steps to address the particular challenges marginalised girls face at puberty, such as provision of sanitary pads in schools, and moves to keep girls safe and secure in school, including providing female staff, secure buildings and door-to-door transport between school and home. More broadly, gender-sensitive teaching practices and materials are needed to ensure discriminatory stereotypes are not enforced, says the study.

The report sets out three priorities for further action, including “high-level, visible political leadership” towards gender equality in education, backed up by sufficient resources to reach the most marginalised girls. Investment in early years education is also vital, together with making girls’ education a priority in wider national development planning.

Notes

•    For more information, contact: Professor Pauline Rose or Faculty of Education Communications Manager Lucy Ward on lw528@cam.ac.uk, tel +44 (0)7788567707

•    The report will be launched at the Education World Forum, the world’s largest gathering of education and skills ministers, in London on Monday 21 January 2019.

•    The report was commissioned by the Platform for Girls’ Education, co-chaired by the UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Education Amina Mohamed. The Platform, a group of 12 influential figures across the Commonwealth, was launched by the UK government after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018 affirmed the importance of 12 years of quality education for all, particularly marginalised girls. In response to the CHOGM commitment to “leave no girl behind”, the platform aims to drive forward action in the run-up to the organisation’s next meeting in 2020.

•    Quality education for all is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2015, leaders across the globe committed to ensuring that, 2030, all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.

•    Image credit: Eliza Powell/Camfed

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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Lent Term - Professor Tony Onwuegbuzie, Wednesday 16th January, 12.30-13.30

16 January Lent Seminar
Wednesday 9 January
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the first seminar in our Lent seminar series: 

Professor Tony Onwuegbuzie

Sam Houston State University


REAL Centre

Date: Wednesday 16th January

Location: Room GS1, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 12.30-13.00

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Dr Nidhi Singal was invited to presents at the 5th International conference on Inclusive Education

Nidhi Singal Presenting
Monday 10 December
Dr Nidhi Singal was invited to present at the 5th International

conference on Inclusive Education (November 28-30, 2018). ‘Fostering 

Excellence through Inclusive Education"

The title of her presentation:

Possibilities and challenges for inclusive teaching and learning in Indian classrooms:critical reflections.

The conference was attended by national policy makers, national and international practitioners and researchers, and non governmental organisations working in the field of inclusive education. Both the Minister of Human Resource Development and the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment participated in the conference.

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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Michaelmas Term - Dr Leda Kamenopoulou, Tuesday 20th November, 13.00-14.00

Dr Leda Kamenopoulou
Wednesday 14 November
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the final seminar in our Michaelmas seminar series: 


Dr Leda Kamenopoulou

Senior Lecturer, Special and Inclusive Education,

University of Roehampton



REAL Centre

Date: Tuesday 20th November, 2018 

Location: Room 1S3, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 13.00-14.00

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Wrigley Company Foundation supports Indian education scheme evaluated by REAL Cent

Faculty of Education News
Monday 12 November
The Wrigley Company Foundation is supporting a project being assessed by researchers at the Faculty of Education to explore how schools in north India can work more closely with their communities to improve children’s learning.

The Centre for Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) is evaluating the impact on students of community-based education initiatives run by the Indian charity Pratham in Uttar Pradesh and funded by the Foundation. The aim is to ensure that all children are not only attending school but also thriving and learning.

The evaluation will cover 800 government-run primary schools across 400 villages in the Indian state. Set to take place over two years, it will assess the foundational reading and arithmetic skills of students in grades 3-5. The REAL Centre team will aim to clarify and quantify the overall impact of Pratham’s educational interventions on pupils’ early learning, and, consequently, the perceptions and attitudes of guardians, teachers and others.

Dr Ricardo Sabates of the REAL Centre, leading the evaluation project, said: "Our research seeks to inform the potential that community-based programs have for enhancing the relationships between schools and their local communities. The goal is to improve foundational learning outcomes for all children."

Anne Vela-Wagner, executive director of the Wrigley Company Foundation, said: “We are excited for the opportunity to increase the impact of Pratham’s work through the outcomes of this research, which will enable more communities in India and around the world to thrive.”

The Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Mars Wrigley Confectionery, will cover the cost of implementing the educational programming over a two-year period. The REAL Centre evaluation study will be funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the UK Department for International Development.

“As we enter the next stage of our partnership with the Wrigley Company Foundation, we continue to be committed to improving the quality of education in India,” said Devyani Pershad, head of program management at Pratham. “The research project has enormous potential to help guide and shape our future strategy for working with children and communities, and we look forward to working with our partners in ensuring its success.”


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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Michaelmas Term - Professor Mario Novelli, Friday 16th November, 15.00-17.00

Dr Mario Novelli seminar
Monday 12 November
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the next seminar in our Michaelmas seminar series: 


Professor Mario Novelli, Centre for International Education, University of Sussex

REAL Centre

Date: Friday 16th November, 2018 

Location: Room GS4, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 15.00-17.00

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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Michaelmas Term - Dr Ricardo Sabates and Dr Emma Carter, Tuesday 13th November, 13.00-14.00

Dr Emma Carter and Dr Ricardo Sabates seminar
Monday 12 November
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the next seminar in our Michaelmas seminar series: 


Dr Ricardo Sabates and Dr Emma Carter

REAL Centre

Date: Tuesday 13th November, 2018 

Location: Room 1S7, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 13:00-14:00

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Professor Anna Vignoles named the UK’s most influential researcher on higher education policy.

Professor Anna Vignoles
Tuesday 6 November
Professor Anna Vignoles of the Faculty of Education has been named the UK’s most influential researcher on higher education policy.

The higher education policy website Wonkhe awarded Anna, Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge, its “Wonk of the Year” title for 2018 in her recognition of her contribution to improving policy-making. The category is the most high-profile in a series of annual awards, with this year’s winners announced last night at the Wonkfest18 conference in London.

Anna studies inequalities in education access and achievement and has published widely on widening participation into higher education, social mobility and on the socioeconomic gap in pupil achievement.

She said: “I am delighted to receive this award: it’s a lovely recognition of the importance of good data and analysis to inform debate and policy.”

Wonkhe’s citation notes that Anna’s work, which uses large-scale data sets to study achievement and outcomes, is “often controversial” with the website’s own audience, but said her research was “compelling and demonstrates the value that data and metrics can bring to debates about the value and purpose of higher education”.

The increasing dominance of data and measurement in policy-making is often resisted by in higher education, Wonkhe noted in a recent editorial. But, it added, “real wonks know that data and metrics are tools – just like committees and strategies. They have strengths and weaknesses, and have been used both to the benefit and the detriment of sound policy making – which does remain a purely human preserve”.

Anna has advised numerous government departments, including the Department for Education, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and HM Treasury. She provided advice to the Browne Review of Higher Education Funding, the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee investigation of higher education funding, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee, as part of their inquiry into education and training opportunities for young people, and Lord Leitch's Review of Skills.

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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Michaelmas Term - Dr Rob Jan Gruijters , Tuesday 6th November, 13.00-14.00

Dr Rob Jan Gruijters seminar
Monday 5 November
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the next seminar in our Michaelmas seminar series: 


Dr Rob Jan Gruijters

REAL Centre

Date: Tuesday 6th November, 2018 

Location: Room GS5, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 13:00-14:00

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Who benefits from abolishing secondary school fees in Malawi, and what are the costs?

Global Monitoring Report logo
Wednesday 31 October
Esme Kadzamira, Centre for Education Research and Training, University of Malawi, Pauline Rose, REAL Centre and Asma Zubairi, REAL Centre have written a blog for the Global Education Monitoring Report which has been written as Malawi prepares for Presidential elections next May. 

The Minister of Education Bright Msaka has announced the abolition of secondary school fees with immediate effect. The move is being presented as removing barriers preventing all children accessing secondary education, but the speed of the change could end up increasing the marginalisation of children from the poorest households.

To read the blog click here.

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Access to early childhood education (ECE) in rural India

Children learning
Tuesday 30 October
Dr Ben Alcott and Mansi Nanda, a doctoral candidate within the REAL Centre, have published an article on access to early childhood education (ECE) in rural India.

The article, which appears in Compare, was co-authored with colleagues at ASER Centre (Suman Bhattacharjea, Manjistha Banerji, and Punima Ramanujan) and was supported by a Seed Corn grant from the British Association of International and Comparative Education (BAICE). Focusing on the states of Assam, Rajasthan, and Telangana, the authors find that:

1. Transitions between ECE and primary school are far less predictable than is commonly appreciatde: many children are ‘ahead’ for their age, many are ‘behind’, and few simply move straight through the grades in a linear fashion.

2. This seems to be driven by tremendous demand, even among the poorest families, for private providers, who then dictate whether children get sent back, repeat, or jump a grade.

3. In Telangana though, when anganwadi/ECE staff visited parents, this seemed to help them understand the value of developmentally appropriate ECE over the English language provision and ‘discipline’ offered in private ECE.


The article can be accessed here and a pre-proofed (open access) version of the accepted manuscript here.

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Faculty experts to advise on global drive for girls' education

Faculty of Education News
Wednesday 3 October
Experts from the Faculty of Education are to provide evidence to inform the Platform for Girls' Education, a new high-level international group aiming to secure quality education for all girls worldwide.

The group of 12 influential global figures, co-chaired by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Education Amina Mohamed, will promote the goal of 12 years of quality education and learning for every girl.

The campaign will continue throughout the UK’s 2018-2020 term as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, and will focus primarily on the needs of developing countries where marginalised girls are most likely to be missing out on a quality education.

Researchers from the REAL Centre at the Faculty, which pioneers research into overcoming barriers to education, have been chosen to provide reports presenting evidence on the constraints to girls’ education, and on what works to tackle these constraints. The focus will be on on Commonwealth countries, which are home to around half the children out of school globally.

Following the announcement of the campaign by Prime Minister Theresa May at the UN General Assembly, the first meeting of the new Platform took place in New York last week. The initiative will seek to galvanise political will to deliver on commitments to girls’ education made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018.

Using evidence from the REAL team and elsewhere, it will highlight examples of best practice to showcase success in girls’ education in order to promote further commitments and action in the run-up to the next CHOGM meeting in Rwanda in 2020. The REAL Centre will produce a report ahead of CHOGM 2020 setting out progress achieved and further action required to meet relevant commitments under the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Professor Pauline Rose, Director of the REAL Centre, said: “It is exciting to see the global momentum around girls’ education, with the Platform represented by influential advocates of education including Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia and current Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, as well as key female leaders in Commonwealth countries including the President of Trinidad and Tobago, Paula-Mae Weekes, and Ministers of Foreign Affairs from countries such as Ghana and Rwanda.

We hope our reports will give Platform members the evidence they need to translate their strong political commitment into real change for the most marginalised girls who are currently being denied a good quality education.”

•    Find a full list of members of the Platform and their biographies here.


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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Michaelmas Term - Professor Lant Pritchett, Tuesday 23rd October, 13.00-14.00

Professor Lant Pritchett seminar
Tuesday 2 October
The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the first seminar in our Michaelmas seminar series: 


Professor Lant Pritchett

Center for Global Development and Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

Date: Tuesday 23rd October, 2018 

Location: Room GS5, Faculty of Education, Donald McIntyre Building, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ 

All welcome - please join us 13:00-14:00

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REAL Centre Seminar Series, Lent Term - Caroline Bro...

25 February 2019

The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the next...

REAL Centre Seminar Series, Lent Term - Panel discus...

19 February 2019

The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the fina...

REAL Centre Seminar Series, Lent Term - Dr Matthew J...

13 February 2019

The REAL Centre welcomes you to join us for the next...