Training New Leaders in Policy and Practice
Recently, ten country teams from throughout Africa gathered in Uganda to attend a hands-on Accelerated Education (AE) training developed by the Accelerated Education Working Group (AEWG) with support from ECCN and USAID. Teams consisted of representatives from Ministries of Education, USAID, the UN, and implementing partners. Organizers carefully selected attendees to ensure that the training would translate into concrete improvements in AE design and delivery in Burundi, DRC, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda.
The workshop was built around AEWG’s Accelerated Education: 10 Principles for Effective Practice, which are divided into four areas: learners, teachers, program management, and alignment with Ministry of Education policy and frameworks—and which provide concrete action points under each principle to guide and improve program quality. Attendees participated in activities dedicated to each principle to get an in-depth understanding of each area. In addition, each country team presented on its unique AE situation. Participants learned about AE research in Uganda from researchers from the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), and Pincer Research, and then used that knowledge to improve their AE learning agendas.
The training took place in English, with Francophone attendees participating via simultaneous translation. Participants found it enriching and useful to discuss AE across language barriers. Nura Ibrahim of USAID Nigeria called the translation “superb” and said it helped immensely to learn from a wide array of countries.
At the end of an intense four days, country teams presented their prioritized action points based on the 10 Principles that they would work on in country to an audience of their peers. Teams had ten minutes to explain why their action points made sense for their country, and how they planned to achieve their goals. They took questions from the audience and received written feedback on how to improve their strategy and increase the likelihood of success. Many participants found this process useful, and some stayed after the presentations were done, working to refine their plans.
“The training opened our eyes,” said Joseph Mahula, who works as an education technical advisor at Save the Children. His team has already created an Accelerated Education working group. “We are working to disseminate the training to more people, including the Ministry of Social Affairs and other leaders,” he said.
Rachael Corbishley of Save the Children Uganda said, “I’ve been in touch with a colleague from Sierra Leone whom I met at the training regarding their community approach to Accelerated Education.” She added, “I’ve shared content from Uganda with colleagues in Somalia. There has been a lot of cross-learning between the country programs.” This cross-country learning continues today, via an email listserv and an online folder for shared resources.
Demand for the training was high—nearly twice as many people applied than could be accommodated. For those who missed the training or those who would like to know more, the trainers have made all of the materials, including slide decks, handouts, videos, and activity instructions, available on ECCN’s AE training page. Facilitator’s Guides are also available upon request. Some participants have already used the materials to deliver trainings at their local offices.
The AEWG intends to conduct more trainings in the future. Many of the country team participants have requested country-level or other regional trainings. If you are interested in hosting a training or joining the listserv, please contact the chair of the AEWG, Martha Hewison of UNHCR.