School quality and attainment in developing countries / On school quality and attainment

School quality and attainment in developing countries / On school quality and attainment

Strategies for the improvement of schooing for displaced children

Most refugee camps and settlements of any duration provide access to some form of primary education. However, the quality of such programmes varies widely, with great differences in the quality of inputs provided and the attainment of children, and the extent of learning that takes place.

While varying contexts necessitate differing approaches to education, refugee education lacks an adequate knowledge base that would inform programme planners on promising approaches to meeting refugee children’s educational needs. Programmes vary greatly in goals as well as in their success in reaching those goals. There is little sharing of experience on which to build such a knowledge base.

This paper outlines what is known about school quality and attainment in developing countries. This material is provided as theoretical context and as background for the fieldwork it describes.

Paper suggests a set of questions and assessment tools to be developed collaboratively with educators in the community and with those with international experience, that can be used to begin the process of quality improvement:

  • are children suffering from health and nutritional problems? Can these problems be alleviated? Are they suffering from emotional problems?
  • do girls and boys enrol and continue to attend at the same rates throughout school? At what grade level and age are the differences significant?
  • are there significant numbers of under- or over-age children in school?
  • what are the reasons given for differences in participation for children at different ages and of different sexes?
  • who is not in school?
  • how do parents and community members feel about education?
  • have there been any adaptations to the organization of school, the curriculum or teacher training in order to accommodate the special needs of refugee children?
  • has there been an assessment of the needs of refugee children?

[adapted from author]

Paper prepared for presentation at a UNHCR workshop on ‘Refugee Education in Developing Countries: Policy and Practice’.

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.