According to UNESCO, Primary school enrolment has improved dramatically since 2000 in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, one-in-four children across the Region – some 32 million – do not go to school at all. More than a third of adults cannot read or write. There are deep inequalities whereby girls, children living in conflict zones, the poor and those living in remote, rural areas or speakers of minority languages have few opportunities to receive an education. One of the greatest challenges is to train more than 1 million new teachers to give every child a chance to go to school.
South Sudan: Alternative Education System
The low base from which to build South Sudan’s education system is well-understood. Five decades of civil war (and continuing instability in some states) has had devastating consequences on lives and presents enormous challenges. Many South Sudanese have never been to school and the majority of teachers have had no formal training. There have been different responses to these challenges by various bodies, agencies, donors and government officials. One of these has been the Alternative Education System (AES). The aim of the AES is to assist the economic and social reintegration of the generations who did not have access to formal education during war, or have dropped out of school due to the conflict.
The AES approach is aimed at improving access to basic education, to enhance life skills and basic occupational skill training to primary school students, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), demobilised soldiers, and other non-traditional learners. It is considered by many to be a keystone of South Sudan’s re-building process. It includes seven programmes targeted at different groups with support from the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI) and a number of international development partners. These are the:
- ALP (Accelerated Learning Programme): This is aimed at over-aged primary school population, from 12-18 years of age (although many older people attend ALP) who want to complete a primary education, take the Primary School Leaving Exam, and go on to secondary school. It is estimated that over 50 percent of the current primary school population are over-aged and, thus, should be in ALP. The ALP programme is four years (Levels 1-4) and covers the school curriculum for P1-P8 at double the pace of a normal school programme.
- BALP (Basic Adult Literacy Programme): BALP is aimed at improving widespread illiteracy in South Sudan by promoting literacy and numeracy among adults ages 18 and above who have not previously has access to basic education owing to barriers of tradition, socio-economic status, and the civil war. It is a four-year programme with content similar to the ALP.
- CGS (Community Girls’ Schools): This is aimed at young girls from poor backgrounds between 8- 11 years old. The curriculum is compressed to cover P1-P4 in just three years.
- PEP (Pastoralist Education Programme): This is a new programme designed for children in cattle camps and covers the standard primary school curriculum. As with CGS, the PEP programme provides an alternative approach to school-age children who would not otherwise have access...Read More!
Cape Town: Language and Development Conference
Clients: British Council, Language and Development Trustees, PRAESA, ACALAN, EU, the South African Department of Basic Education and UNESCO
We identified, selected and invited academics from across the African continent, Europe, South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The conference context was a review of progress towards the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the 2015 deadline approaches. The timing of the conference provided an opportunity to explore the role of language in contributing to the achievement of the MDGs and to help shape a revised set of development goals after 2015. Post-conference, we will be editing a collection of papers for publication by the British Council....Read More!
Mozambique: Ministry of Public Service
Clients: Autoridade Nacional da Função Pública/Ministry of Public Service and British Council (Mozambique)
Mozambique is a Portuguese-speaking country in southern Africa. It is surrounded by English-speaking states, which are all part of the South African Development Community (SADC). Initially, we were asked by the Mozambique government through the Autoridade Nacional da Função Pública (ANFP) to find out how English language could be introduced as a language for high-ranking public officials to use in order for them to carry out their international duties. We analysed the socio-economic pressure for language change in Mozambique and suggested ends/means specifications for curriculum renewal and teacher training.
Later, we carried out an extensive needs analysis of civil servants in eight of Mozambique’s government ministries, Maputo Provincial Government and two government civil service training institutes on behalf of the Ministry of Public Service. Staff ranged from administrative to senior executive. The recommendations were set in the context of Mozambique’s strategic English language needs for co-operating within the SADC....Read More!