Our education specialists at Cambridge Education help communities and governments to overcome these perceived barriers. In countries where the number of children who want to learn outstrips the capacity of the education system to provide schooling, we work to ensure all children have access to a quality education.
Equity is about reaching the unreached: children from communities that are traditionally marginalised, perhaps by poverty or disability, ethnicity or language differences.
Changing attitudes to gender
In many places, girls are still under-represented in the education system. Changing communities’ attitudes to encourage girls’ education is not easy, but it is happening. One of the most obvious practical steps is to ensure a greater availability of female teachers in schools. This both encourages parents to send their girls to study there, and inspires the girls to aspire to positions of responsibility. And as a growing number of educated women assume positions of power, the process of change accelerates.
A powerful driver for educational improvement is the active involvement of local people in the performance of their neighbourhood schools, so we work to make communities responsible and schools accountable to them. Mott MacDonald draws on a wealth of experience in solving problems for people, but we never simply impose a ready-made solution.
If education is to be truly inclusive, it has to include those with special educational needs. Our approach is to train headteachers to identify children with special needs in their communities, and to get teachers to pay extra attention to slower learners – and to recognise that they might have sight problems, for example, that need to be checked.
How we've added value:
Promoting women’s leadership in China
At the beginning of the South-west Basic Education Project, our baseline showed that within the project area only 1% of head teachers were women in junior middle schools. We set up the “Women in Leadership” programme to train teachers, head teachers and education officials in equity. By the end of the project, Fugong County, Yunnan Province had promoted 22 female deputy head teachers or senior managers in 22 schools.
Getting girls to school in South Sudan
We designed and are now managing a six-year education programme to accelerate the enrolment, retention and completion of primary and secondary education for 200,000 girls. Only one girl in ten completes primary education and girls comprise just one third of the secondary school population. The project aims to transform the lives of a generation of young girls.
10-15% increase in girls’ enrolment
We designed a DFID project to identify the key issues, risks, constraints and opportunities with regards to girls’ education in Nigeria. Throughout the project increases of 10-15% enrolment were observed in the six states in which it operated.
In the London Borough of Islington the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service worked in partnership with schools and local authorities to raise the attainment of minority pupils, through consultancy, training, support and guidance.