7. Quality and Access
education should be provided to all children, youth and adults.
To this end, basic education services of quality should be expanded,
and consistent measures must be taken to reduce disparities.
For basic education to be equitable, all children, youth and
adults must be given the opportunity to achieve and maintain
an acceptable level of learning." (Declaration: 4) "The most
urgent priority is to ensure access to, and improve the quality
of, education for girls and women, and to remove every obstacle
that hampers their active participation." (Declaration: 5)
vision advocated at Jomtien encompassed universalising access
and promoting equity. This included
quality education services
all children, youth and adults the opportunity to achieve
and maintain an acceptable level of learning
educational disparities for under served groups
examines agency policy and practice in relation to the goals
of universal access and improved quality. We present a summary
and indication of agency operationalisation of these concepts
and explore, with the use of examples, how agency outlook
impacts upon the type and nature of strategies and interventions
difficult to break down agency policy and practice in this
area. All agencies are committed to these goals and have developed
interventions designed to address general and specific concerns
in both areas. Within this, there is a different emphasis
placed on access or quality or both within agencies at specific
times. This delicate balance is affected by the way agencies'
target, for example some such as Ireland, work with priority
countries whilst others, such as the World Bank focus on internal
capacity / agency expertise; country priorities and so forth.
The mixture of all of these factors makes division into neat
categories problematic. Despite this many agencies have indicated
in their documentation that one or other category takes precedence
over the other (see Table 7.1).
7.1 Agency Focus on Quality and Access
is main focus of interventions: EC, IDB, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank.
and access, Either / or, Country specific focus, Type / level
specific focus: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark,
Germany, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, UK, USA, ADB, CDB, UNESCO.
to make sense of how this emphasis is translated into interventions
we will look at a few examples from both categories.
the content and quality of education at the classroom level
and subsequent learning outcomes are given a higher priority
than before. Work on curriculum development is perceived as
an important means of intervening to improve quality. Other
interventions include developing materials, within this developing
local capacity is the aim, which now includes local commercial
capacity. This aim of decentralisation is reflected in a shift
in Sida's budget from supporting central production in-country
to local purchasing of materials, as well as the separation
of textbook writing from curriculum development. Decentralising
special needs education, teacher training and strengthening
the knowledge base are also considered important.
is mainly in Africa (e.g. Mozambique and Tanzania) and concentrated
in production and distribution, with the objective of increasing
relevance of curriculum and materials. Two important trends
are identified particularly in Africa; decreasing role of
the state and parastatal organisations in production processes;
and decentralisation of basic education from central to regional/local
work on curriculum and materials, Sida supports culture and
media programmes. Their strategies include: country specificity;
building domestic commercial publishing; supporting working
groups and training; curriculum review; and analysing educational
materials from a classroom perspective.
is also a main focus in the IDB's strategy for primary and
secondary education. Problems plaguing systems throughout
the region often have more to do with successful permanence
than initial enrolment. To deal with problems of low quality
the Strategy highlights five critical areas for reform: (a)
changing the ways teachers are trained, how they operate and
how they are rewarded within schools; (b) reforming school
management to emphasise autonomy, accountability and teamwork
at the school level; (c) providing adequate learning materials;
using information technology appropriately to improve learning
and meet new labour market demands; (e) targeting pre-schooling,
especially to under-privileged populations.
Asian Development Bank access takes precedence over quality
in rural areas. This is because they consider that quality
interventions without the framework of access actually restrict
the poor. The Bank intervenes using NFE, providing physical
structure and conducting special programmes where the out-of-school
population is down to the last 20 percent which is hardest
to reach. They also experiment with pre-schooling to build
community acceptance of school. Whilst prioritising access
they implement some quality interventions including activity
based teaching methods; teacher training; teacher supervision;
interactive radio instruction; and other supplementary programmes
such as libraries.
(in terms of access) the focus is on underprivileged groups,
particularly out-of-school youth. They feel this group has
been ignored. Their interventions include a youth forum in
Asia, a basic education and skill learning programme in Pakistan
which is attached to a brick works. They also work with NGOs
in this area and stress the appropriateness of NFE for this
seems equally committed to the goals of access and quality.
They see increasing availability as the first step to UPE,
and acquisition of a meaningful basic education as the real
or ultimate goal. Both factors interact with each other as
poor quality depresses the demand for education and limits
the potential impact of education in society. Curriculum,
the environment and teaching and learning materials are all
relevant to quality. Within access an important issue is cost.
DFID generally supports the reasoning that "general taxation
and other forms of government revenue are more efficient and
equitable ways of raising revenue for basic services than
cost sharing" (DFID 1999: 22).
appears to move between the goals of access and quality. Different
interventions seem to have different focuses. In terms of
girl's education the most common obstacle is supply of schools
in terms of quantity, quality, suitability for girls and their
cost. They see themselves in a leadership role in girls' education
as they were one of the first agencies to finance this area.
They evaluated their own efforts in 1997/8 and found that
a decline or stagnation in quality can often accompany expansion,
particularly for girls. They have identified specific gender
quality efforts to combat this, which include: gender neutral
materials; gender sensitivity for teachers; multi-lingual
interventions generally, three major components of the delivery
system are identified; learning materials, teacher behaviour
and testing, within a framework of decentralisation as part
of reform. For quality to be raised there has to be agreement
on a common purpose. The US have had only modest results in
this area and attribute this to the differing visions held
by the stakeholders. They noted that it was often difficult
to agree on quality interventions such as on the precise nature
of school quality and how to achieve it with the recipient
government. They feel that sustaining positive trends may
depend on the level of political will in host countries and
funding agency commitment. Progress in the primary sector
is beginning to produce strain in the secondary sector in
some countries in which the US is working e.g. Malawi. They
therefore aim in this instance to address quality and access
at the same time. USAID use the measurement tool 'fundamental
quality and equity levels' (FQEL) as a means of planning for
both. It is a combination of features, inputs, standards and
procedures and provides a school level definition of regional
and national targets.
Australian development assistance the goals of access and
equity seem to be more or less relevant in specific countries.
For example, access is a priority in PNG, Vanuatu, Solomon
Islands, and Kiribati, where the primary project focus is
on expanding access. Strategies include building classrooms,
book supply and equipment and pre-service teacher training.
These projects also address equity and quality issues through
focusing on the needs of vulnerable groups of children, for
example working and street children. Often this is done through
support for NGO activities or community based strategies.
supported by AusAid include NFE and literacy programmes, providing
literacy materials, e.g. a vernacular newspaper, including
the disadvantaged in planning, assisting governments with
diagnostic studies. In terms of quality interventions they
list strengthening the capacity of schools and governments,
improving information systems; teacher training; curriculum
and materials development.
Development Bank's policy for the education sector is a regional
effort. Quality and access are emphasised for ECD, primary
and secondary levels. Particular goals are specified which
include: to develop children with lively minds, capable of
independent thought; to improve the quality as a foundation
for further levels; to facilitate the transition from level
to level and to work, to improve the learning environment
and the quality of the educational offering; access for all
by 2000; to broaden certification; to provide adequate numbers
for further training.
that expansion must take place in the context of curriculum
reform. It is a clear part of the access and quality drive.
The two goals are linked through this area. Within this the
development process must take cognisance of culture. Teacher
education is also an area of priority in which goals have
been identified, as well as management, administration and
|It is difficult
to separate interventions addressing quality and access issues.
This is because they often overlap and the categories are blurred.
However, within this some tentative threads emerge. It seems
that in locations where formal education is firmly established
(such as the settled colonies) attention has to be turned to
quality, as this is having an adverse effect on access, and
access in areas other than basic education. Agencies note this
particularly in relation to girls. The issue is not raised as
clearly for women's basic education (see Chapter 6). In areas
where formal schooling is not assured then access and quality
are inextricably linked. Poor quality and lack of relevance
are part of the reason why the community is reluctant to attend
school. Language issues are of importance here (see Chapter
9). In addition to this, however high the quality of a school
or sector, the community will only benefit if there are sufficient
places to provide real access. The conferences of the 1960s
and the goal of UPE focussed primarily on creating places for
children in school. This was not sufficient to guarantee the
wider goals of education. The goals of EFA are an attempt to
address both of these concerns simultaneously. The identification
of specific targets relating to UPE, literacy, and girls education
have meant that there has been a particular focus on access
in relation to them. The fact that quality is harder to measure
has compounded this. It would seem that all interventions need
to be mindful of issues of quality and relevance as this can
ultimately undermine outcomes. .
and access issues are inextricably linked. Agencies are prioritising
these areas, but certain groups remain underrepresented. For
example, women's access to quality basic education is still
a problem. It is not as readily addressed by agencies as that
of girls. Access and quality should continue to be considered
together and the needs of all people should be addressed.
The dynamic nature of education needs to be adequately conceptualised,
with more consideration of the role students and teachers
play in the process of their own learning.
quality is emphasised as the basis for interventions, the
targets are focused around access, for example UPE. Concern
for enrolment rates, drop out and repetition should encompass
both access and quality concerns. However, it is easier to
look at numerical indicators rather than those that examine
the process, for example student achievement. Work needs to
continue on developing good quality indicators based on the
local context, which can inform the analysis of the process
is a context specific issue, for example considerations of
language, the needs of particular groups and relevance to
the community. Decentralisation is one way in which agencies
are trying to address this. Interventions should strengthen
local administrations at the school and next level in terms
of design, implementation and evaluation