Nepal, as other countries has not one but THREE education systems, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Each has differing problems, needs and solutions, but an almost identical organisational change process is needed in each case.
The education requirements for each system need clearly defining, and then the organisational system process applied to each.
The first stage for each system MUST be to define the end point, the goal of the transformation, and this surely can be initially stated as “Quality Education” but this needs further definition for clarity. These definitions can contain any components thought important, from inputs, to outputs, and both mediated by student needs.
But this has always been the problem in Nepal, that there is no clear vision of the final end point, just a list of problems and unconnected random solutions. This is NOT how systems work or are transformed and was the predicted failure of the SSRP articulated by some of us as early as 2010.
Once these end points are determined and defined as the desired position, the current position can be scanned and compared. The gap between the two is then identified which shows what what needs doing, simple! No it isn’t, because this gap analysis needs further consideration regarding the sequence and connectivity of tactics to change the system. A recent example: as part of the SSRP the MoE threw a bucketful of training at teachers in primary schools; did it work? No it didn’t. They conducted a “name and shame campaign”, also without result. The list of random interventions is endless with almost $3 billions spent on them.
Within the primary system teacher training is certainly a need, but only as part of a wider issue related to “teacher change” in terms of behaviour, attitudes and values. You can throw as much training as you like at an uncommitted teacher but you will be disappointed if you expect to see a change. Equally you can lay down a policy of English medium in primary schools, but if the teachers themselves are incapable or unwilling you are fighting a losing battle.
The real failure of education system change in Nepal though is at the highest level. Undoubtedly the same people who designed and blindly implemented the SSRP are now involved in developing the SSDP, so how can we feel confident of success? Do they have any globally acclaimed system transformation experts as part of the team? Have they looked at recent research into defining, measuring and developing Quality Education in Nepal specifically?
I end with a small offering, an outstanding piece of research conducted by a young woman in Kathmandu over 18 months and based on a wider 5 years experience of developing 200 primary schools. Sangita Bhandari worked full time on this research in many of these schools to propose a clear framework of Quality Education that should be the start point for any transformation. Processes, tools, training programmes, community workshops, pedagogy, and even student evaluations of teachers all emerged from it.
Do those involved in the SSDP have even the slightest inclination to look at it here Nepal Quality Education
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