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Student-centred approaches in science and life skills education: what works in Cambodia (Educaid 2013)


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Overview of context, results, challenges and solutions from a teacher training programme in Cambodia.

Overview of context, results, challenges and solutions from a teacher training programme in Cambodia.

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  • Paris Peace Treaty in 1993
  • Progression to secondary school (%): Transition from primary (ISCED 1) to secondary (ISCED 2), general programmes (%). Total is the number of new entrants to the first grade of secondary education (general programmes only) in a given year, expressed as a percentage of the number of pupils enrolled in the final grade of primary education in the previous year. Source: UNESCO Institute for StatisticsYouth (15-24) literacy rate (%). Total is the number of people age 15 to 24 years who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement on their everyday life, divided by the population in that age group. Generally, ‘literacy’ also encompasses ‘numeracy’, the ability to make simple arithmetic calculations. Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.School enrollment, primary (% gross)Gross enrolment ratio. Primary. Total is the total enrollment in primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population of official primary education age. GER can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over-aged and under-aged students because of early or late school entrance and grade repetition. Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.School enrollment, primary (% net):Net enrolment rate. Primary. Total is the ratio of children of the official primary school age who are enrolled in primary school to the total population of the official primary school age. Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics
  • 1. The primary ANER includes children of primary school age who are enrolled in either primary or secondary school.2. Adult literacy rates are unofficial UIS estimates.3. The survival rate to the last grade of primary was used because the primary education cycle is less than five years
  • Underlying rationale:Increase relevance of science lessonsIncrease motivationAs a result, decrease number of drop-outs and increase proportion of students studying science.
  • 8 PTTCs: Siem Reap, Battambang, Kandal, B. Meanchey, Kraceh, K. Thom, K. Cham, Stung TrengDevelopment of materials: (E.g. manuals, posters, experiments, multimedia, science lab, school gardens, etc.)40 school teachers: 4 schools kandal x 8 science teachers per school + 12 teachers from 3 schools in SR
  • Teachers from practice schools
  • Other teaching aids: include reference texts, concept cartoons and voting cards
  • WorkshopsSCA for science educationIntegrating SCA and IBLUse of Krou websiteIntegrating environmental & agricultural Life Skills in science lessonsResource management & monitoringRegular coachingStrengthening workshopsPeer learning workshopM&E visitsDirectors’ Meetings
  • Techniques require no or few materials and are large class-size proof
  • Increase relevance of agriculture & science lessonsSustainability: income from selling produce to be used for purchasing new grains, maintenance materials etc.
  • Various forms of support have increased or remained stableSlight decrease in % who actively encourage students to use experiments. Related to drop in experiment use by teacher trainers?Increase in showing online resources. Krou website and/ or experiment videos? Others?
  • Substantial improvement in availability of materials, still challenges power cuts, lesson & preparation time
  • LCE’s focus on the needs and interests of individual learners conflicts with a cultural tendency for a class to work as a unit (e.g. Omokhodion, 1989; Kanu, 2005). 
  • Fail safe experiment rationale: ”One can only really understand a complex system by interacting with it” (Snowden)
  • Collecting and reporting subjective information from participants as a primary method of evaluation is problematic and should be avoided. We found that even though participant comments might be detailed and convincing, they do not necessarily reflect the merit of the solutions at hand.As far as possible, the focus of participant interviews and feedback should be on obtaining factual, rather than subjective, information. Using triangulation to validate the data collected could further increase confidence in the results of the study.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Student-centred approaches in science and life skills education: What works in Cambodia? Educaid Conference, Brussels, December 5, 2013
    • 2. Outline • Science, Environmental & Agricultural Life Skills Programme (SEAL) – Context of education in Cambodia – Outcomes & Impact – Challenges & Solutions
    • 3. Cambodia: the legacy of Pol Pot 75 % of teachers 96 % of university students 67 % of all primary and secondary school pupils …were killed/starved when the Khmer Rouge was in power. Long-term Impact on the Education System and Human & Social Capital in Cambodia
    • 4. Education Indicators Education Indicator Net enrollment primary education (%) Gross enrollment primary education (%) Completion rate primary education (%) Progression to secondary school (%) Overaged primary school attendance (%) % population 15-24 not complete primary edu. (%) Pupil-teacher ratio, primary Pupil-teacher ratio, secondary Year 2011 2011 2011 2010 2010 2010 2010 2007 Cambodia 98 126 90 80 42 32 48 29 Literacy rate, youth total (% of people ages 15-24) 2009 87
    • 5. Cambodia: Quality of Education EFA Development Index 2010 (N = 127) EDI Component Value Ranking 1. UPE 0.957 59 2. Literacy 0.739 94 3. Gender 0.883 97 4. Quality 0.621 111 Overall EDI 0.801 100
    • 6. Teacher Training Programme Objective: Graduate teachers apply improved teaching methodology Strategy: Capacity Strengthening of Pre-service Teacher Training for basic education Science education Biology, Chemistry Physics, Earth Science
    • 7. Teacher Training in Cambodia Teacher training for primary education (2 years) Teacher training for lower secondary education 18 Provincial Teacher Training Colleges (PTTC) 6 Regional Teacher Training Colleges (RTTC) (2 years) Teacher training for upper secondary education (1 year) 1 National Institute of Education (NIE)
    • 8. Implementation Model 2008 – 2011: Pilot Phase at RTTC Kandal/ PTTC Siem Reap – Capacity Development of Trainer-of-Trainer Team – Development of resources – Quality control 2011 – 2013: Scaling Up to all TTCs – Capacity Development through workshops, study visits & follow-up activities – Promoting peer learning – Publication & dissemination of materials
    • 9. Target groups Student Teachers at PTTCs/RTTCs Pupils at primary schools/ lower sec schools Teacher Trainers at PTTCs/RTTCs SEAL Programme MoEYS central level (TTD), donors, …
    • 10. Development of Educational Resources • Instructors‟ manuals on student-centred approaches, experiments and agricultural/ environmental life skills • Science & life skills posters with activity sheets • Filmed instructions for 185 science experiments • Interactive multimedia and activity sheets • Equipment for RTTC science labs (both high and low cost) and low-cost experiment boxes for practice schools • Logistical support for organic gardens, waste management & fish and chicken raising
    • 11. Strengthened capacity in science & life skills education • Teacher trainers of RTTCs and PTTCs • Management staff of RTTCs and PTTCs • Science & life skills teachers of 39 lower-secondary & 54 primary practice schools • 93 directors of practice schools. • 36 technical staff of provincial Offices of Education (inspection)
    • 12. Student Centred Approaches
    • 13. Zero and Low-Cost Experiments
    • 14. Supporting organic gardens
    • 15. Impact on Teacher Trainers: Use of SCA Use of SCA by science teacher trainers in 2013 (survey data)
    • 16. Impact on Teacher Trainers: Lesson Quality N average change % improved % improved > 10% Comparison total lesson observation scores 2012-2013 32 +2.38 88% 63%
    • 17. Impact on student teachers Percentage of science teacher trainers providing support on SCA to students during 2012-2013 practicum (n=75)
    • 18. Challenges & Solutions Challenges for applying SCA by RTTC science teacher trainers (2011-2013, N=75)
    • 19. Challenges & Solutions • Switch to SCA = Paradigm shift – – – – Nature of knowledge Role of teacher and students Complexity of policy language (Schweisfurth, 2011) Culture (high power distance; collectivist) (Berkvens, 2012; Kanu, 2005) • Solutions – – – – – Set realistic expectations Make compromises: „learning centred‟ (O‟Sullivan, 2004) Opportunities to contextualize generic solutions Dialogue which respects target group as active agents Allow sufficient time & opportunities for practice
    • 20. Challenges & Solutions • Power & Agency – Many factors affect learning outcomes & drop-out rates (assessment, curriculum, inspection) – Assumptions of causality • Solutions – Using „windows of opportunity‟ (e.g. curriculum revision) – Fail-safe experiments – Prevent premature convergence ‘Complex spaces need experts to disagree to increase diversity, rather than a consensus based approach.’ (Snowden and Boone, 2007)
    • 21. Challenges & Solutions • Participant bias – – – – Response & cultural bias (Berkvens, 2012) „Strategic‟ responding High-context culture (Hofstede, 2010) Both with quantitative & qualitative data collection methods • Suggestions – Mutual trust reduces response bias (Berkvens, 2012) – Focus on obtaining factual information – Triangulation to validate data
    • 22. Challenges & Solutions • Delayed & Diffuse impact on final beneficiaries – Effect on pupils to whom student teachers will teach after graduation – Effect on pupils (drop-out rates, learning outcomes) only after few years (beyond programme lifetime) – How can we attribute any effects on pupils to the programme? • Suggestions & Questions – – – – Indirect evidence & research literature Quasi-Experiments, ethnographic studies Impact measurement beyond the duration of the programme Integration M&E procedures in partners‟ policies
    • 23. More Information • Links – – • Contact – (@stefaanvw) –
    • 24. References • • • • • • • Snowden, D.J. and Boone, M.E. (2007) „A leader‟s framework for decision making‟, Harvard Business Review, 85(11), p. 68. Schweisfurth, M. (2011) „Learner-centred education in developing country contexts: From solution to problem?‟, International Journal of Educational Development, 31(5), pp. 419–426. Berkvens, J.B.Y., Kalyanpur, M., Kuiper, W. and Van den Akker, J. (2012) „Improving adult learning and professional development in a post-conflict area: The case of Cambodia‟, International Journal of Educational Development, 32, pp. 241–251. Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J. and Minkov, M. (2010) Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, 3rd edition. McGraw-Hill London. Kanu, Y. (2005) „Tensions and dilemmas of cross-cultural transfer of knowledge: post-structural/postcolonial reflections on an innovative teacher education in Pakistan‟, International Journal of Educational Development, 25(5), pp. 493–513. O‟Sullivan, M. (2004) „The reconceptualisation of learner-centred approaches: a Namibian case study‟, International Journal of Educational Development, 24(6), pp. 585–602. Thompson, P. (2013) „Learner-centred education and “cultural translation”‟, International Journal of Educational Development, 33(1), pp. 48–58.