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Strategy sessions II.4 > Teaching and Learning Resources
 
World Education Forum
Dakar, Senegal 26-28 April 2000
 
 Strategic choices in the development and use of teaching and learning resources
Issues Paper
 
Strategy Session II.4
 
Original : English
 
 The focus of this strategy session is on the options for overcoming the continuing shortage of resources for effective teaching and learning both inside and outside school. Survey work in different parts of the world, commissioned by ADEA and the UNESCO/DANIDA Basic Learning Materials Initiative for the EFA 2000 Assessment, identified persistent disparities in access to even a basic minimum package of teaching and learning resources that Education for All requires.
 
Therefore, the objective of this strategy session is to establish the different ways to address the imbalance concerning access to appropriate, good quality, affordable resources for learning. The panellists will explore ways of improving access to learning materials of all kinds, as well as innovative strategies for ensuring more effective usage.
 
First of all, the session will consider the changing scenario over the last decade in which the context for making teaching and learning materials available has shifted. Liberalisation of the school book market in many parts of the world is resulting in new partnerships between Ministries of Education and the private sector. At the same time, deregulation and privatisation of broadcasting and publishing limits the free access to these services previously enjoyed by Ministries of Education. Many governments are shifting from highly centralised systems of book production and procurement towards developing publishing as a strategic industry and widening book selection procedures to involve the end user. Book provision is becoming more diversified, with many education systems moving from a single textbook for each subject to arrangements by which teachers, parents and students have more choice in the materials used for learning both inside and outside school. The current trend towards decentralisation of book selection and procurement is helping to widen such options, but the inadequate geographical coverage of library and book selling networks perpetuates the lack of opportunity that hampers equitable access for people living in poorer, more remote parts of the country.
 
The same uneven picture emerges when addressing ways in which the range of print-based and non-print technologies can help improve the quality of basic education. Criteria such as quality, relevance, cost effectiveness and gender equity apply to any choice of materials and to choices between different media. Beyond this, strategic choices between various kinds of resources, from books to computer-based materials, are constrained by costs, by questions of their convenience to the learner, and by the infrastructure required for use of a range of technologies. The session will treat the application of innovative combinations of old and new technologies as part of the same continuum - within which choices faced by the learner are either widening, or continue to be restricted.
 
The panel will lead the discussion on the options that face policy makers, teachers and students within the rapidly evolving context of technological change. It will also consider constraints that hamper the creation of more equitable opportunities for enabling Achievement for All through diversified education channels in school, in the community and at home. It will address the barriers to creating a more enabling environment to promote reading for pleasure, as well as for information. It will seek to identify areas in which renewed efforts by communities, families, schools, and government ministries can lead to a more cost effective allocation of instructional resources to ensure more effective delivery of Education for All. Finally, it will also seek to identify areas where external partners can help countries in this regard.
 

In consequence, given that this strategy session seeks to link criteria affecting choice and selection with issues arising from better resource management and usage, all panellists will comment on the conditions and prospects for more effective provision of teaching and learning resources during the next decade.

 
Here, there would be a need for specific actors - "producers" or "project promoters" - to manage the setting of common goals, the overall production, the evaluation and promotional activities, thereby creating the working space necessary so that each partner can do what it does best, with a view to meeting basic learning needs more efficiently and productively.
 
Key issues for discussion
 
Panellists will start the discussion by addressing at least two of the following issues:
 

Using existing in-country resources more effectively (from both pedagogic and cost points of view) to encourage improved channels for learning. Implications for better resource management and appropriate teacher education.

The impact of liberalisation of materials selection and supply on access, quality and cost aspects of teaching and learning resources. The shift from single textbooks for subjects to choice of materials and media. Equity implications of Books for All in relation to cost sharing through user fees.

The significance of privatisation of book production and distribution. Changing patterns of public/private sector relationships (i.e. between governments, government/education materials supplier/distributor, government/publisher, publisher/bookseller).

Cost effective options for publishing materials in minority languages, linked to strategies for dissemination and promoting readership. Implications of education policy in respect to language for publishing. Strategies for promoting a reading culture in which people are motivated to read for pleasure, as well as reading for information.

Promoting reading for access to knowledge and information. Educational, media, fiscal and commercial strategies that can help to create a more enabling environment for promoting Reading for All. The need for inter-ministerial commitment to ensure that book and media resources are affordable, and can be shared with neighbouring countries with a common language heritage.

Harnessing new and old technologies to promote Learning for All. Resource implications. Safeguarding cultural values and traditions within a rapidly changing scenario of technological modernity.

 
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