Structure of the framework
The UNESCO GEQAF is structured around key elements that are proven to interactively and iteratively work together to enable the system to optimally provide quality education and effective learning experiences. These elements pertain to the development goals that guide the key outcomes of an education system, desired outcomes of an education system, the core processes and core resources that produce those outcomes and support mechanisms that enable the production of outcomes.
Detailed elements are elaborated in the diagram below and are translated into a total of 15 analytical tools that together constitute the GEQAF. On the web-based application the diagram serves as an organizing heuristic or schema to navigate through the GEQAF during application. The various elements appear sequentially for schematic purposes, but in reality they are nested, interactive, iterative and integrated. Each Analytical Tool elaborates critical questions that need to be raised during the analysis of the adequacy of each element of the GEQAF to contribute to quality and learning effectiveness. For instance, the treatment of teachers as a critical element entails questions pertaining to: their choice of the profession, admission criteria, pre and in-service training, recruitment, working conditions, management and utilization, salaries and incentives, retention and retirement9. A treatment of learners includes their status at entry –socio-economic background, learning readiness, health conditions, nutrition– access to health services, access to legal and social protection services, admission criteria, in-school academic and pastoral services and other support services. Questions on fiscal resources pertain to their sources, adequacy, allocation, equity, management, utilization, efficiency and sustainability system.
The backbone of the GEQAF is a set of key questions that are meant to facilitate the diagnostic process. Each of the analytical tools will be hyperlinked to a virtual Library of Resource Materials that includes Technical Notes and examples of promising practices that support the diagnosis and analysis. This Library of Resources will be continuously updated with new promising practices and new knowledge. Questions on core elements of the GEQAF are cross-referenced to each other, when such cross-references are critical for understanding the system as a system. The analytical tools that constitute the GEQAF are generic and are not tailor made to any specific country. The starting point for any country or regional block to use this Framework is adapting it to the specific local or regional context
Application of the Framework
The process of applying the Framework is envisioned to consist of three key steps: a) initial piloting, b) ongoing adoption and adaptation, and c) ongoing improvement of the Framework. During a piloting stage, a set of countries will test the Framework in their own systems.
This piloting needs to be systemic and comprehensive, because it is aimed at actually assessing the Framework’s ability to address systemic issues. The countries participating in the piloting are providing a global public good for use by other countries, by testing the Framework. But they will also benefit themselves, because the Framework may indeed lead them to ask certain questions that had not been asked previously, or had not been addressed in a systematic way. UNESCO has developed Piloting Guidelines as well as a Piloting and Feedback Instrument to facilitate effective piloting. Based on the feedback from the piloting, GEQAF, its Guideline and Piloting Instruments will be further refined and the Framework will be ready for adoption and adaptation. As more countries use the Framework more experience is gained in its application, improvements will be made on a regular basis. Being a web-based instrument, GEQAF is well suited for continuous refinement and sustained currency.
Key Users, Beneficiaries and Target Audience
The target audience of this Framework is principally policy makers, education planners and practitioners who wish to improve the quality and equity of their general education system. Key beneficiaries would be countries whose capacities for identifying quality constraints of their systems and to effectively redress those constraints would be enhanced. Learners, their families and their communities are the ultimate beneficiaries: Especially learners from poor households and other disadvantaged groups whose chances of receiving quality education and its consequent benefits will be greatly enhanced.