Education is crucial to sustainable development, poverty alleviation and the rule of law. We have successfully undertaken projects at all stages of the education cycle, from advice on sector policy through to recruitment of students and teachers. Our work has covered the primary and tertiary sectors, vocational education and training and inclusive education. Recent projects have ranged from national policy on special needs in Namibia; research on educational under-performance in Jordan; tertiary education development in Trinidad and Tobago; to capacity development in Indonesia and Turkey.
Education is central to delivery of two of the eight Millennium Development Goals – achieving universal primary education by 2015, and ending gender disparity in primary and secondary education. Education also relates to improvements in child and reproductive health, nutrition, and environmental sustainability. Education is accepted as being a basic human right, but 75 million primary school age children, mostly living in sub-Saharan Africa or southern and western Asia, still remain out of school. Fragile and post-conflict areas are worst-hit.
The current rate of improving access to education is too slow to achieve the MDG target and a number of fundamental problems still need to be fully addressed:
During our decades of experience, HTSPE has developed a deep understanding of just how critical education is to achieving long-term, sustainable development objectives. We have developed an approach that moves beyond school education itself to include vocational training, and that is based on three principles:
Our work has been particularly successful in helping beneficiary governments to formulate costed education reform policies and helping donors, through programme identification, to decide on the technical assistance they should be providing. In addition, our work has included programme design, advice on specific education activities (such as help for under-performing students), analyses of the education sector at different levels (e.g. basic, secondary, tertiary) and numerous evaluations and audits.
Ukraine: Tertiary Education Assessment
The aim of this mission was to support the reform of the education and training sector as a key mechanism for promoting sustainable economic development, social inclusion and active citizenship in Ukraine. The HTSPE team provided support to the Government of Ukraine to make informed decisions on how to support reform processes in the area of human resource development in general, and tertiary education in particular.
A large number of stakeholders were interviewed for the overall policy and institutional background. A carefully selected sample of teachers were surveyed for their views on:
- How the autonomy of the universities is perceived.
- Whether all institutions have the same level of autonomy.
- What measures should be introduced to link autonomy and accountability.
- Attitudes towards Research and Development.
Also, a sample of students were surveyed for their views on:
- access, bribes;
- upper secondary education;
- attitudes towards received quality of instruction;
- social problems and inclusion;
- foreign languages training;
- careers expectations; and
The HTSPE team achieved their objectives providing clear and concise reporting on:
- the legal framework, finance policy, structure and institutional capacity of the tertiary education sector of Ukraine;
- recommendations for reform measures which will help adhere to the Bologna principles and lead to gradual integration into the European Higher Education and Research Area; and
- a Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) in the sector of education and training in Ukraine.
Sudan: Education Advice to the National Authorising Office (NAO)
The HTSPE team worked to reinforce the capacity of the EC Delegation, the NAO and the Federal Ministry of Education in the implementation and formulation of the EC Education programme.
The following tasks were implemented:
- Built up and maintained EC and NAO analysis of the education sector.
- Assisted in design/monitoring of specific studies in the sector that contributed to the available analysis and specifically assisted in further determining priorities for EC support strategy to the education sector.
- Contributed to policy dialogue with the Government and Development Partners within the Education Sector and assisted with following up on opportunities for development of a Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) in education - and supported the EC as necessary.
- Provided assistance to existing EC support implemented by UNICEF and assisted in promoting improved coordination/harmonisation among main education partners.
- Ensured linkages where appropriate with broader public service/governance reforms (Government and other donors), including in decentralisation, PFM, etc.
The project succeeded in:
- improving implementation of EC support to education, through enhanced dialogue with key partners, and advice on strategy/operational issues;
- assisting the EC Delegation and the NAO in identifying and formulating EC support to education under the 10th EDF;
- monitoring and assisting in the supervision of 9th EDF support to the sector; and
- providing the EC Delegation with reliable information on the education sector in Northern Sudan and enhancing coordination between EC, EU Member States and other donors regarding education
Jordan: Development of Programmes for Under-Performing Students
The project researched the impact of socio-economic conditions on the performance and achievements of under-performing students and prepared programmes aimed at improving and enhancing their performance as a component of maintaining the purpose and direction of education reforms in Jordan. HTSPE experts trained and worked with staff from the Directorate of Research and Development, devising approaches to support quality improvement. Based on current remediation methods and international best practice, implementation plans were recommended for promoting under-performing students’ capabilities and developing potential.
Capacity was built among Directorate staff to facilitate the planning and implementation of the Remedial Education Programme. A particular focus of this work was within operational development and planning, an area that was found to be weak among Directorate staff. Further support was given to improve staff data gathering and analysis skills (for example using established modelling techniques); to set remedial education policy (including understanding how remedial education fits into overall education policy); to assist schools to implement the remedial policy; to monitor results and achievements; to provide appropriate training for Directorate staff as well as for schools/teachers; and to improve the communication between all interested parties.
Tajikistan: National Education Strategy
The overall driver for this project was attainment of Millennium Development Goal No 2 on universal primary education and MDG No 3 on gender equality. The HTSPE team developed a fully-costed education strategy, with secondary education as the priority. It also encouraged foreign resources to feed into the Joint Country Support Strategy. The consultants assessed service delivery needs and available resources and estimated unit costs. Particular attention was given to setting priorities, removing bottlenecks and reconciling a needs-based approach with a resource-based approach.
An important aspect was that it is not only adequate financing that ensures success of an Education Strategy. Both the Government of Tajikistan and the donor community needed to first ensure that “other factors of production” were in place to accompany the funds to attain successful outcomes. Shortages of management and professional skills, lack of adequate planning and budgeting, and the lack of necessary procedures and regulations or excessive fragmentation necessitated pairing each financial support by donors with a strong capacity building TA. This approach also emphasised the need for local “ownership” i.e. ensuring that the relevant institutions were fully involved and indeed that they drove the programme for change and improvement, with the consultants’ role being to advise, guide and help implement but not to take executive decisions themselves.
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