Emerging Themes in Our Policy and Analysis Programs

April 21, 2014Brittany Coppola

Brittany Coppola is an intern on the Education Team.

(The photo on the left is courtesy of CEI-profiled program Elige Educar)

CEI is at an exciting and critical moment: we’ve recently added our 400th profile to the database and now it’s time to delve into the analysis of our programs. Our profiled programs are sorted into five categories depending on their approach: Delivery, Financing, Policy and Analysis, School Support and Student Support. In this post we’d like to highlight emerging patterns within the Policy and Analysis dataset. There are a total of 26 programs in this dataset, and these types of programs improve the policy environment of education-related themes by engaging and informing citizens and parliamentarians alike so that they may better advocate for change. Such programs also serve as catalysts for the creation of mechanisms and channels needed to build capacity for advocacy-related initiatives, as well as disseminate information to a variety of audiences.

Three major sub-approaches emerged as common themes, which include Advocacy and Campaign, Capacity Building, and Data Driven Change. Here we highlight the specific ways programs are using these sub-approaches to engage stakeholders in order to improve the education space.

Advocacy and Campaign: 10 Programs

Programs that use Advocacy and Campaign as the means to achieve their goals execute various communication strategies, and disseminate the latest data, statistics and other information about the education system in order to encourage citizenzs and government to press for change. One method some programs use is web-based platforms, such as the Karnataka Learning Partnership: this India-based program compiles statistics and information about schools via a digital platform that various stakeholders, such as parents and students, can access. They also present their data and analysis to members of parliament in order to engage policymakers. Another method being employed within Advocacy and Campaign is extensive communication outreach. The program Mexicanos Primero is an example of this, as they use a variety of strategies such as social media, creation and dissemination of documentaries, and the use of inspirational messages to educate citizens about the current state of education in Mexico.

Capacity Building: 13 Programs

Programs that employ Capacity Building as an approach engage with stakeholders in two ways: by striving to strengthen citizen capacity and involvement in the education debate, and supporting implementers dedicated to improving the education space. The Pakistani program Articulating Citizens’ Voice for Accountability in the Education Sector creates linkages between district and school-level counsels and then equips citizens with the tools needed to engage with policy makers via the counsels. In Chile, the program Elige Educar supports implementers in the education space: teachers are selected for scholarships and training programs in an effort to combat the negative perception of the teaching profession.

Data Driven Change: 13 Programs

Several programs use applied research and evaluation methods to drive change. Two examples of programs that use citizen-led assessments are UWEZO and ASER. Both of these programs track literacy and numeracy rates of children at the household level, with UWEZO operating in East Africa and ASER in India. The purpose is to create citizen understanding of the state of education in their communities by engaging them in the evaluation process and disseminating findings on countrywide learning levels. Some programs also use monitoring and evaluation processes to both measure the impact of convenings in improving education systems and inform knowledge management. Bridge, for example, works across South Africa to build communities of practice (CoP) for education innovators. Bridge has developed an intensive monitoring and evaluation process in order to measure the activities of its CoPs against specific outcomes in spreading good practice, maximizing resources, and creating impact on the system as a whole. 

The emerging themes in our Policy and Analysis dataset mark a turning point for CEI as we explore ways in which to analyze emerging themes in our database. We believe all organizations working in the development space have much to learn from programs that successfully employ bottom-up approaches to engage, inform and empower local communities.

Be sure to check back for more data analysis initiatives! In the coming months we will be launching our Country Pages, an effort to begin compiling emerging data patterns country by country.


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