EXAMPLES of excellent students, excellent teachers, and excellent schools can be found worldwide. The challenge for public education, however, is to create school systems where all children experience success; where all teachers have the capacity for excellence and where the evidence of school-wide effectiveness is not limited to a few exemplary schools.
To make this happen, educators, policy makers, researchers, and others with a keen interest in improving the quality of education need to pay attention to what can be learned from past experiences about effective ways to organise and deliver high quality teaching and learning. This is the intention of a newly published book about the Aga Khan Foundation-sponsored school improvement projects in East Africa. The book, entitled Improving Schools Through Teacher Development: Case Studies of the Aga Khan Foundation Projects in East Africa (Swets & Zeitlinger Publishers, 2002) is edited by Dr. Stephen Anderson of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.
It portrays six multi-school improvement projects undertaken between 1985 and 2000 in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and offers critical commentaries on project outcomes and lessons for educators and others involved in efforts to improve schools in Africa and around the world.
The education projects highlighted in the book are based on the belief that the chances for improving the quality of teaching and learning in schools are greater when improvement efforts (1) are school-based; (2) involve the whole school; (3) emphasise the on-going professional development of teachers; (4) attend to school management and other organisational conditions affecting the capacity of teachers to implement change; (5) use data on local conditions and performance in decision-making for school improvement; (6) prepare for the sustainability of support for continuous school development beyond a project phase of implementation and funding and (7) evolve through genuine partnerships among education stakeholders, such as teachers; school administrators; school district personnel; parents and community organisations; teachers' colleges and education donor agencies such as the Aga Khan Foundation.
The book illustrates how these principles were put into practice in different East African education settings; the challenges confronted by project personnel and what has been learned about using these principles and associated strategies for change as an way to improve schools.
The editor of the book, Dr. Stephen Anderson, is visiting Kampala this week and will be taking part in the book launch on Friday November 15, 2002 at 6:00 p.m. at Hotel Africana.Ends