Home | 2011 Workshop




New Leadership and Priorities

Opening remarks were provided by David Barth, the new Director of the USAID Office of Education (EGAT/ED). Barth reaffirmed the importance of the Workshop in bringing together USAID staff and implementers from around the world to share their experiences in education programming and management. He expressed concern over the growing youth bulge and a need to integrate education into successful economic growth initiatives, supported by a generation of active and educated youth. Ambassador James Michel, Counselor to USAID, addressed the need to expand technical capacity and expertise through the Development Leadership Initiative, as well as a need to integrate education and training into local governance to ensure alignment with local contexts and country strategies.

John Sullivan and Steve Moseley, both members of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA), stressed the need to build a strong relationship between education and local governance. Sullivan also noted the youth bulge’s detrimental effects on economic and social stability and the need for USAID programming to focus on out-of-school and unemployed youth, especially in countries where rapid population growth affects educational access and quality. Moseley discussed the importance of integrating education across sectors, including health, economic growth, agriculture, workforce development, and post-conflict development, among others. Close partnerships with other USG agencies and the public sector will foster growth in all areas of human development.


Early Childhood Education

This session focused on recent early childhood education efforts in several USAID programs, including Jordan and Bangladesh. Sometimes USAID is the only donor working on Early Childhood Education and Development in a country, but more often there are many actors whose efforts need to be coordinated to be consistent and efficient across a national context, and participation of the private sector is especially important. Carrying out such efforts should be closely coordinated with and monitored by relevant government structures to enhance sustainability and ensure quality programming. Missions and implementers will have to decide the value of implementing more in-depth, holistic approaches toward child development and assessing that development with comprehensive tools, versus a basic skills approach that is perhaps less costly.

For the full session summary, please click here: Early Childhood Education Summary

Education and Crisis: Pakistan Case Study

This session discussed the relevance of education for both child and gender protection, and for democracy enhancement in emergency contexts. The OFDA-approach to education emphasizes the importance of psycho-social programs that allow the rehabilitation of child soldiers, among others, and stresses the importance of training staff to deal with this specific population. Challenges mentioned included sheltering of refugees in schools, which prevents children from attending classes. The OTI-approach to education focuses on political considerations, namely formulating rapid response to U.S. foreign policy interests by helping priority countries that are at risk or experiencing political instability.

For the full session summary, please click here: Education and Crisis Summary

Research on Learning and Implications for Programming

This session discussed the role of cognitive science and educational psychology as an empowering resource for education policymakers. Cognitive science identifies education strategies to help students achieve more effective learning, including holding students’ attention in the classroom, turning short-term memory into concrete knowledge, and improved retrieval and utilization of knowledge. In addition, reading fluency and speed are critical elements in students’ processing of information; the more information that students coherently process in the 12-second span of short term memory, the better and the faster the learning outcomes will be. To improve time use in the classroom, governments and donors could time school openings and closing better, strive to provide textbooks for each student, train teachers on time loss, and promote school-based teacher supervision and time-use monitoring in schools.

For the full session summary, please click here: Research on Learning and Implications for Programming Summary

Higher Education Challenges

This session presented a discussion of the current challenges facing higher education, including: shifting from single/multi-disciplinary thinking to transdisciplinary thinking, from passive to active learning, restructuring the student/teacher relationship to move from an individual focus in learning to group/team-based instruction, evaluating the quality and relevance of higher education instruction, the high costs of higher education and who should shoulder this burden, training academic staff in developing contexts, and increasing access to higher education for disadvantaged or disabled students. The session also discussed challenges of the knowledge economy and how the ICT revolution impacts both access and quality.

For the full session summary, please click here: Higher Education Challenges Summary

Taking Youth Development to Scale (Pts. 1 and 2)

These two highly participatory sessions focused on the challenges and opportunities of addressing the needs of the growing youth population and successful approaches to youth development programs. Youth development builds skills and competencies that require integrated, cross-sectoral, systemic approaches. AED’s 7-element youth development infrastructure framework approaches youth development issues in an integrated manner, including: participatory strategic planning for public/private/nonprofit sectors; increased amount of and access to public/private space for youth; identifying, redirecting and increasing financial commitment to youth development; and supporting and increasing the number of direct service and capacity building organizations at the local level, among others.

For the full session summary, please click here: Taking Youth Development to Scale Summary

Participant Training: Basics (Pt. 1 and 2)
This interactive session presented an update on regulations, strategies for stakeholder coordination, and student and other stakeholder orientation for participant training programs. Participants expressed special interest in the new ADS policy for training, and emphasis was given to design consideration at large and performance factors more specifically. An exhaustive list of performance factors was individually discussed and presenters stressed the importance of conducting training associated with skills and knowledge, which sparked an in-depth discussion about in-country training. Among the main topics regarding training intervention, emphasis was given to the selection of the participants and their eligibility, as well as an examination of cost-tracking categories, including instruction, participants’ fees and travel expenses.

For the full session summary, please click here: Participant Training: Basics Summary


Using ICTs for Youth Employment Creation

This session presented several successful USAID projects that utilized ICT programs to train disadvantaged youth in preparation for employment, including case studies in Brazil, Morocco and South Africa. These programs look at ICTs as a means to help young people build critical skills for employment, using authentic, practical projects to develop create thinking and technical skills and fostering professional networks through e-mentoring. Another successful program, Souktel, utilizes mobile phones to reach at-risk youth in places where internet access is not as prevalent.

For the full session summary, please click here: ICTs for Youth Employment Creation Summary

Learning Outcomes: National Systems

This session discussed the ongoing national assessment systems in Namibia, Honduras, Ghana, and Egypt, which have succeeded in large part due to the active support of the Ministries of Education. These national assessment systems have been successful in building national capacity, despite numerous challenges. Many Ministries of Education support these efforts because national tests provide some measure of accountability, and in some instances, also provide assessment of the USAID intervention. A key factor of the national assessments’ success has been the existence of national standards for particular subjects and grades and the alignment of the tests to these standards. A major value of national assessments is their ability to highlight weaknesses in student performance, enabling countries to address these weaknesses in the teacher training content. Preferably this process should be iterative as standards become more rigorous and textbooks and tests reflect higher levels of performance.

For the full session summary, please click here: Learning Outcomes: National Systems Summary

Developing In-service Teacher Training Capacity

This session presented successful strategies for teacher training and strategies for scaling up successful teacher training programs. As 85% of USAID Missions support teacher training programs, presenters offered an overview of the teacher training programs in their countries which could be seen to be at different stages of development and success. Overall, the presentation demonstrated the importance of government involvement to the success of these programs. Teacher training cannot be implemented in isolation; rather it needs to be undertaken in a holistic approach that includes school leadership training, development of curricula, student assessment, and government capacity building. Programs needed to be evidence-based and student performance presented as evidence to the government of the value of teacher training to improve students’ classroom learning.

For the full session summary, please click here: Developing In-Service Teacher Training Capacity Summary

The OIC Experience: 40 Years of Vocational Training in Sub-saharan Africa

The OIC (Opportunities Industrialization Centers International) presented an overview of their 40 years of experience in vocational training in Sub-Saharan Africa. This panel discussed how to develop sustainable vocational training centers by providing integrated skills training and organizational capacity building. The key to OIC’s success is utilizing a holistic approach to skills building, including vocational training, counseling, reading and writing skills, English, basic computation, communication skills. Furthermore, centers have been particularly successful and sustainable because of the strong support and inclusion of the local communities in the process as well as highly detailed model plans that were set up before the programs were implemented.

For the full session summary, please click here: 40 Years of Vocational Training in Sub-Saharan Africa Summary

For questions related to the 2009 Education Workshop,
please contact Rebekah Levi at rlevi@jbsinternational.com