Issue: January – June 2002
Foreword: In May 2002, SEAMEO INNOTECH organized a seminar for key educational leaders from Asia and Near East to engage in a three-day exchange of experiences called, “Quest for Quality Forum: An Exchange of East-West Experiences.” The forum was co-sponsored by the Improving Educational Quality Project (IEQ II) of the American Institutes for Research, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).It had participants from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the USA, and three international organizations, which included the Asian Development Bank, the UNESCO in Bangkok and SEAMEO INNOTECH.
The forum sought to provide an opportunity for educational stakeholders to engage in a highly interactive exchange of experiences and explore issues and options for improving quality in their educational systems. Forum sessions included a mix of formal presentation of country experiences in addressing issues regarding educational quality, small group discussions, and informal dialogues between the paper presenters and the forum delegates.
Papers presented during the forum delved into issues like processes for improving quality, policy implications of classroom research, and the facets and meanings of quality indicators. Many of the information and materials used during the forum were developed and provided by the Improving Educational Quality (IEQ) Project. The IEQ project is part of USAID’s continued commitment to assist developing nations with economic and social development through education. Among others, the project aims to create opportunities for dialogue and partnerships among researchers and educators seeking to improve educational quality at the local, regional, national and international levels. This issue of the journal includes some of the papers presented and submitted during the forum.
Dr. Stephen J. Anzalone, presented a paper entitled “Alternative Models for Secondary Education in Developing Countries: Rationale and Realities,” which details international experience in using alternative models to provide secondary school education, focusing on IEQ-assisted activities in Honduras as an alternative path to secondary education. The paper discusses four sets of issues in developing policies to expand access to secondary education. These include: (1) macroeconomic issues which point out that the potential for secondary education to positively impact a nation’s economic and social development can only take place in an environment of political and macro-economic stability; (2) access issues which show that countries in which educational attainment within the labor force is more evenly distributed enjoy faster economic growth; (3) quality issues which stress the importance of assessing educational quality; and (4) cost issues which call for the need to make a thorough study of the costs of expanding secondary education.
Philippine experience in developing an accreditation and equivalency program for the country’s Bureau of Nonformal Education is presented in Dr. Rosario J. De Guzman’s paper on “A Nonformal Education Accreditation and Equivalency (NFE A&E) Program.” The NFE A&E system provides an alternative means of learning and certification for the basically literate out-of-school youths and adults unable to avail of the educational opportunities of the formal school system.
The next two articles are country papers from India and Bangladesh which present the status and progress of the worldwide movement on education for all (EFA) in these two countries. The pursuit of the expanded vision and commitment on EFA of India and Bangladesh echo the national aspirations and educational priorities of these countries and their efforts toward achieving EFA goals and objectives are detailed in these articles.
“Reforms in Philippine Higher Education” by Dr. Ester Albano Garcia shares Philippine experience in instituting reforms in higher education. The article recounts how the Philippine Commission on Higher Education has revised the curricula and promulgated policies, standards and guidelines of priority undergraduate and graduate higher education programs in the Philippines to make them internationally comparable.
The next article by Dr. Nilo L. Rosas shares “The PNU (Philippine Normal University) Experience” in improving quality of pre-service and in-service training of teachers. In the article, Dr. Rosas talks about how PNU reinvented and restructured its policies to respond to current educational challenges.
Annexes include: a statement on “Educational Quality: An IEQ Framework” prepared by Dr. Jane Schubert, Senior Research Fellow at the American Institutes for Research and Director, Improving Educational Quality (IEQ) Project, which she shared with the delegates before the end of the forum; and the text adopted by the World Education Forum on Education For All, titled “Meeting our Collective Commitments.”
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