In my years of working on Education for the United Nations (UNESCO and UNICEF), a common overarching theme was a push toward the realization of Education for All (EFA). Much has been written on this, so in short, the commitment to EFA was a commitment to improve the quality of learning opportunities while expanding access – to learners of all ages without exception. Quality and Coverage over all ages. In most countries, the reality is that the push for access has been so consuming that quality improvements have become secondary priorities – relegated to the time when all children are already in school. Getting at quality effectively is also a huge challenge.
The reality of course is that quality and participation (access) are forever linked. New policies and incentives may get children into the classroom, but students won’t stay in school for long if the education quality is low.
Reform is often required, but for many reasons, curriculum is very rarely on the table for discussion with international partners. Content can be sacred and off-limits. Educators are conservative in making change. However, it is clear that evolving teaching methods are paying dividends – to learning. Perhaps it is at the school level, where immediate change is required. Looking at best methods for the ’21st Century Learner’, I would put forward that the IB system, or something like it, to introduce broad, ‘non-partisan’ (read: more or less without cultural/national slant or bias) curriculum changes that offer a shift in the learning paradigm.
What do you think? Would IB work in the context of education in a developing country? If yes, how can we overcome the business model certainly limits wide-scale implementation? Comments and perspectives on these questions are most welcome!