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Group Submission Type: Panel Session
Progress on increasing access to education for the most marginalized remains limited. At the global level, the initial reduction in the number of out of school children has stalled (UNESCO, Education for All Monitoring Report, 2015). In fragile contexts, major gains in enrolment mask major disparities in access and education outcomes for marginalized sub-groups living in rural and remote areas. The scarcity of data on the hardest to reach – populations affected by conflict, adolescent migrants, pastoralists – and on dropout in transitional grades poses a limiting factor to the development of education policies and practices in a manner that caters to the needs of the most marginalized.
This panel will discuss three South-led approaches for community-based education, developed in partnership with Ministries of Education and implemented in rural and remote locations in three complex contexts: Afghanistan, Somalia and Zimbabwe. The models were designed to cater to the needs of marginalized children and adolescents, particularly those in transitional grades. Their comprehensive approach is based on extensive analyses of the underlying causes of poor access, limited learning outcomes and dropout. These approaches seek to promote long-term change in (a) socio-cultural practices, particularly on gender; (b) sustainable access to services; (c) participatory governance of education processes; (d) quality of delivery; and (e) patterns of poverty that affect attendance and retention.
The initial iteration of the models was rigorously assessed through a period of three years. The evaluation used a randomized controlled trial design in Zimbabwe. In Somalia and Afghanistan, a modified pre-post evaluation approach was used, comparing results to established benchmarks (corresponding to 0.2 standard deviation over and above the average scores for three grades above). The initial results indicate significant improvements in students’ acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills, surpassing expected targets. These results were linked to the effectiveness of community-based models in addressing gender-based violence and absenteeism, and in promoting positive shifts in social and gender norms, particularly for extremely marginalized students.
The panel will reflect on initial findings emerging from the implementation of these approaches; on the challenges faced during implementation; and on the evolution of policy frameworks to progressively promote/ adopt community-based approaches. Taking those reflections as a starting point, the panel will engage participants in a broader discussion on the role of community-based models as part of the efforts to advance education programming towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal #4 in an effective and inclusive manner. The reflection will focus particularly in the role of community-based models in complex contexts where efforts to reach the SDGs face resources and capacity constraints, and where progress is constantly threatened by the loss of human resources and an increasingly fragile economic and political environment.
A comprehensive community-based approach in Afghanistan - Emma Symonds, Aga Khan Foundation
A continuum of support: The evolution of community groups in Zimbabwe - Mbuso Jama, World Vision International
Community-built, community-led: Towards progress in post-primary education in Somalia - Abdifarhan Farah Gure, CARE Somalia