Link’s approach to school improvement received recognition in Westminster this week when it was cited as a key example of how 'participatory governance' can improve the quality of education in developing countries.
The ‘Gladwyn Lecture’ was organised by the Council for Education in the Commonwealth at Portcullis House, Westminster on Tuesday 4 December. It was given by Mr Vijay Krishnarayan, the Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, and attended by Link’s CEO Mr Steve Blunden.
Mr Krishnarayan (pictured) explained how Commonwealth Education Ministers have long championed inclusive school management and community participation as the key to improved quality of education, and described how Link’s approach is an excellent illustration of how this can be practically applied.
School Performance Review
Link’s School Performance Review (SPR) measures school performance and allows schools to compare how they are doing against the best standard achieved in a district. This not only provides the school with a benchmark but also produces data that can inspire open dialogue and, ultimately, change.
Parents and local community members are encouraged to respond to the data themselves and engage in the process of planning how the school can use available resources to bring about meaningful change. This, in essence, is how ‘participatory guidance’ can work.
Mr Krishnarayan called SPR "the type of leadership that creates spaces and makes information available [...] to contribute to improvement. That is what education is about and it is at the heart of what the Commonwealth stands for."
Mr Blunden said “the Commonwealth Foundation has supported key Link activities in the past, including our facilitation of the Zimbabwe Ministry of Education's strategic planning in 2010 and the Achievable Education for All conference in Kampala earlier this year. The fact that the Foundation has drawn on Link's approach to community participation as a case study to define its new approach to participatory governance is very encouraging.”
Link’s work continues to make a real difference to the quality of education in sub-Saharan Africa but we need long-term support in order to keep it up.