Improving primary education by advising local school authorities

Project description

Title: Capacity development of local school authorities
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Benin
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Primary Education
Overall term: 2017 to 2020

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Context

Benin has aligned its education strategy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It aims to guarantee inclusive, equitable, high-quality education for all and promote opportunities for lifelong learning. The Government is working to develop a coherent education architecture that gives all children and young people access to meaningful school qualifications and training opportunities. Benin is a stakeholder in the Global Partnership for Education, an alliance of donors and developing countries, international governmental and non-governmental organisations, foundations and the private sector.

Enrolment rates at primary school level have risen in recent years but the proportion of children who complete their primary schooling remains very low, at 65%. This affects girls in particular. The well-structured education programme for primary education places a focus on skills-based teaching. However, consistent implementation of this programme in schools by trained specialist staff remains inadequate. Teaching quality is in need of improvement.

Objective

The Government of Benin provides all girls and boys with age-appropriate access to primary school and guarantees a full-length primary education that is proficiently taught.

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Approach

GIZ’s partner is the Ministry of Pre-school and Primary Education of Benin in Porto-Novo, together with its local agencies. Four national GIZ advisors work with the regional school authorities for the departments of Atacora, Borgou, Mono and Ouemé. They support 70 teaching advisors in 34 school authorities with improving teaching and learning processes in primary schools. GIZ is applying lessons learned from the preceding project to improve school inspection and increase staff attendance in classes.

In their work with the teaching advisors from the local school authorities, the national advisors motivate school inspectors to become familiar with new teaching methods designed to improve teaching and learning. In particular, they support improved standardised testing and the development of lesson units and materials based on these. GIZ supports the agreement of school development targets between teaching advisors, school management and teaching staff. This has the effect of strengthening and increasing a commitment to and acceptance of responsibility for school quality by those involved.

The orientation framework for school quality developed with GIZ support enables teaching staff, school management and school inspectors to bring their teaching, school management and participation in school development systematically into line with quality criteria.

The consulting firms ECO Consult and GOPA are also providing expertise, in particular with updating data management systems in education administration.

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Results

Teaching staff have sharpened their observation skills and are more aware of the differentiated needs of children. They have adapted their teaching, choose appropriate materials from the range of prepared options or create the necessary materials themselves using simple resources.

Here is one example: A teacher carries out a standardised assessment that reveals that children are unable to conjugate the present tense of the auxiliary verbs ‘to be’ and ‘to have’. She gives the children a card game. The task is to match cards showing a personal pronoun and verb root with cards bearing a verb ending. Varying methods can be used to match the correct pairs of cards, and the game thus appeals to individual children’s differing approaches to learning. This intelligent learning environment has been shown to produce rapid and successful learning experiences, which in turn encourage children to want to learn more.

Managers in primary schools analyse complex problems that arise during school routine and find customised solutions. Teaching advisors create educational materials which they present to teaching staff at training workshops. Ministry departments evaluate best-practice examples and ensure that these are disseminated throughout the country’s primary schools.