Our education specialists at Cambridge Education view school improvement in the round and adopt an integrated approach involving better governance and leadership, training and teaching, assessment and use of the school curriculum. To keep pace with global developments we can help devise typically less-traditional curricula that address what young people need to be learning, this could include pre-vocational training. Once a curriculum is approved, we can provide new textbooks to assist in teaching it, and training in how best to employ the textbooks and deliver new lessons.
Teacher development and management
Our assistance can run through the spectrum of recruitment, training and deployment, using a variety of incentives tailored to local circumstances: such as providing decent housing. We work with head teachers on how to manage their staff to ensure that they turn up for work and know what they are doing – preparing lesson plans, setting homework and giving pupils feedback – and provide follow-up support and ongoing monitoring and professional development.
Curriculum and textbook development
We have extensive experience in helping educators to review and revise the school curriculum to keep pace with global developments – we can help devise typically less-traditional curricula that address what young people need to be learning, this could include pre-vocational training. Once a curriculum is approved, we can provide new textbooks to assist in teaching it, and training in how best to employ the textbooks and deliver new lessons.
Literacy and numeracy
Being able to read, write and count to certain minimum standards is fundamental to all other learning: without the basics it is not possible to develop higher skills. We work with governments to put in place literacy and numeracy programmes, particularly in early grades, which equip children to study further.
We advise primarily on the technical aspects of student assessment and evaluation. For example, where a survey is being used, the sample has to be representative of the country as a whole. The test questions must elicit what is intended, and must be administered properly to avoid cheating or getting incomplete returns. The results have to be entered into a database and the data cleaned, before they can be analysed and reported on.
We are helping teachers to harness their potential, for example by delivering lesson plans direct to their handsets along with audio and video teaching materials that they can then share with their classes.
Low cost private education in Nigeria
Where education systems are of poor quality, large numbers of children do not attend state schools. Instead their parents are opting for low-cost private education. In Lagos, Nigeria we are working to improve the quality of education delivered in these schools by improving the functioning of the market in which they operate.
Whole school development
In Gambia we introduced a whole school development approach, which initially involved the participatory development of a Gambian model of school transformation, involving head teachers, teachers, boy and girl students, mothers and fathers and other community members.
Helping 25 million Bangladeshis improve their English
Television dramas, mobile phones and iPods are the unconventional tools being used to help a sixth of Bangladesh’s 160 million population to improve their English. Mott MacDonald is leading a nine-year programme aimed at teaching many of the poorest people in Bangladesh vocational English as a route into work and out of poverty.