In Ethiopia, as elsewhere, teachers are expected to deliver the grade-specific curriculum, set out in textbooks and teachers guides. The curriculum is designed to be cumulative in grades, with higher-order skills building on their respective foundations. However, due to slow learning progress in early primary grades, language-based transitions in upper primary grades and automatic promotion policies, many children reach grade seven or eight lacking prerequisite skills.
A fundamental tension in the design of education systems is that, historically, they have served three very different roles. First, they have sought to impart knowledge and skills that improve employment and earnings prospects (the human capital role). Second, they have aimed to create shared norms of behaviour, values, and identity (the socialisation role). Third, they have aimed to assess and classify students by educational ability and achievement to select students for higher education and skill-intensive occupations (the sorting role).
Thanks to more than a decade of ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) findings, the main headlines from the surveys are widely known.1 Even those who are not education experts or researchers can tell you that after five years of schooling, only half of all children in India can read at Grade 2 level. And that the results for basic arithmetic are even more worrying.
India is close to achieving universal enrolment for children of elementary school age. More and more children are coming to school and staying in school longer.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have recently come under attack for yet another reason: many (if not most) of the interventions that have been found successful in RCTs have not been adopted by governments, let alone taken to scale.
Weakest Part of Poorly-Performing Educational Systems: An Argument for Focus on "Teaching at the Right Level" and Improved Foundation-Year Performance
This blog is an accompaniment to a RISE “Insight” piece, Weakest Part of Poorly-Performing Educational Systems: An Argument for Focus on “Teaching at the Right Level” and Improved Foundation-Year Performance.