The reason for this article is to explore the contribution of Comparative and International Research in the successful implementation of Child Friendly Institutions (CFSs) in Kenya. Emphasis will be located on the background of CFSs, current tactics and growing critics, success stories, problems and pitfalls and what CIR can do to subjugate some of these challenges. I am going to start by evaluating the rationale for exploring CFSs, predicated on literature and my professional experience. Following this backdrop will be literature surrounding the concepts of CIR and CFS with regards to global agendas, exploring how CFS had become and the driving a vehicle makes behind it. Then i continue to give attention to a case study of CFS in Kenya, speaking about the role of CIR in the Kenya's CFS, arguing that CIR is employed as a political tool in creating educational insurance policy, rather than a research method or an intellectual inquiry. I'll further critically assess troubles facing CFS and how knowledge on CIR can add more effectively to successful execution of CFS. A realization based on the books and author's experience will be drawn. Throughout the essay, I create a case towards CIR arguing that CIR stimulates critical reflections about our educational systems by investigating commonalities and differences across national edges.
Background and Rationale
Perhaps, one of the growing areas in education in the present day era is comparative and international education, judged by the quantity of studies reported in the literature. Central to the is that lots of countries throughout the world have developed some of their educational insurance policies based on scholarship or grant in CIR. With the existing influx of globalization, research workers and experts, especially in neuro-scientific education, are always trying to find ways of streamlining their educational plans with the global movements. Corresponding to Giddens (1990:64), globalization is 'the intensification of worldwide sociable relations which link distance localities in such a way that local happenings are designed by events occurring many miles away and vice versa'. Global forces therefore have an impact on shaping local procedures at grass root levels. In order to do this tactically and critically, comparative and internal research remains cutting edge in informing people about the realities, the difficulties and the possible effects of uncritical transfer of ideas.
Interestingly, global agendas in issues related to education are prioritized towards basic education instead of adult education or more education. In Africa, this would be probably because, as Oketch (2004) highlights, basic education produces higher rates of dividends compared to advanced schooling. This has eventually caused administration and non-governmental organizations to target more on increasing the quality of basic education. Child-friendly institutions (CFSs) in Kenya is an example of a effort sponsored by UNICEF with the purpose of not merely providing children to education but the right to the "right" education. Quite simply, CFSs tend to be more concerned with the grade of basic education in addition to its access. The introduction of CFSs in Kenya was catapulted by the causes of agendas 1 and 2 of Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) which stresses on the provision of basic education. THE PLANET Education Forum (2000) agreed on six Education FOR ALL THOSE (EFA) goals. The 6th goal worried Education quality, 'enhancing all aspects of the grade of education and guaranteeing excellence of all so that accepted and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills. ' The word "quality" in education is powerful due to social, politics and economic context at which it can be used. Because of variations in contexts, it is imperative that understanding of comparative and international research be used in designing plans and pedagogy in CFS that fit that one context.
Furthermore, with the fear that some countries may lag behind as others move forward, sub-Sahara countries are now engaging in various practices to be able to do this goal, a race from the 2015 place deadline for attainment of EFA goals. As the clock ticks towards the year 2015, goal goals in education may change for post-2015 and the fret is further raised. Among the efforts the government of Kenya does to improve the quality of education is by integrating CFS model in to the basic education system. Two major questions arise here: First, how is CFS realistic considering myriad obstacles facing the FPE coverage in Kenya? Secondly, if CFS model is the 'best practice' to put into practice, what is the role of CIR in successful implementation of the CFSs? It is against this track record that the purpose of the article hinges.
In this section, I'll go through the principles of Comparative and International Research (CIR) and Child Friendly Institution (CFS) predicated on the books and merge them with the global pushes that catapulted the emergence of CFS with an attempt to unveil the voices behind the intro of CFS in Kenya. In addition, I will use a good example of PRISM experience in Kenya to reinforce the understanding regarding the role of international bodies in promoting quality through well strategized and executed jobs, arguing that lessons from PRISM experience can be used as insights to successful implantation of CFSs.
Concepts of Comparative and International Research (CIR) and Child Friendly Institution (CFS)
'Comparative research is a broad term which includes both quantitative and qualitative contrast of communal entities. Sociable entities may be predicated on many lines, such as geographical or politics ones in the form of cross-national or regional evaluations'. (p. 621)
A similar notion was echoed by Noah and Eckstein (1969: 127), who described comparative education as "an intersection of the communal sciences, education and cross-national study [which] attempts to utilize cross-national data to check propositions about the relationship between education and society and between coaching tactics and learning outcomes".
In light of the description, comparative research in the framework of education can be explained as a report of several entities or happenings (Crossley & Watson 2003) with the fundamental goal of searching for similarity and variance. Cross-national or local comparisons can include comparing educational plans, pedagogy, educational command etc. Relating to Mills et al (2006: 621), "the search for variance places more focus on framework and difference to be able to understand specificities".
International education, on the other hands, can be defined as "the use of information, analyses and insights discovered in one or more nations to the problems of growing educational systems and establishments far away" (Wilson 2000a: 116). Thus, international research can be involved with research carried out across two or more countries, often with the purpose of comparing reactions between them. This might be done to be able to devise strategies that work well across both or each one of these cultures or to suggest local changes to a worldwide strategy
There is a close romance between comparative and international education. Epstein (1994: 918) points out, that international educators "use findings derived from comparative education to comprehend better the procedures they examine, and therefore, to enhance their potential to make plan". We can therefore pull from the aforementioned two explanations that CIR in education as a way of evaluating both qualitative and quantitative entities in education across different countries, societies or civilizations with the purpose of determining similarities and variations. It is however important to note that not absolutely all international research is comparative, and not all comparative research is international or cross-national.
Rights Based College: CFS proactively looks for out-of-school children and stimulates those to enrol, irrespective of gender, race, capacity, social position, etc.
Gender Sensitive University: CFS promotes equality and collateral in enrolment and success among girls and boys.
Safe and Defensive College: CFS ensures that all children can learn in a safe and inclusive environment.
Community Engaged Institution: CFS encourages partnership among academic institutions, neighborhoods, parents and children in all respects of the education process.
Academically Effective College: CFS provides children with relevant knowledge and skills for making it through and growing in life.
Health Promoting College: CFS helps bring about the physical and mental health of children by getting together with key healthy and healthcare needs within universities.
Fig 1: Model of the Child-Friendly School
Source: UNICEF( 2007.
The CFS model provides a construction for planning (and monitoring the effectiveness of) approaches for increasing access to quality basic education with the specific focus on the introduction of ways of include those children hitherto excluded from education (UNICEF, Global Education Strategy, 2007). It is important to note that there surely is no "one-way" to produce a university child-friendly. The model varies from country to country with respect to the context.
International and Local Pressures and their influences to creation of CFS in Kenya
"Since 1990, the goals and reason for education in sub-Sahara Africa has been reshaped by four interconnected trends: globalisation, the transformed concentrate of international aid agencies towards development assistance, the adaptation of sub-Sahara African countries to the new world order with its new political emphases, and the spilling over of new pedagogical ideas from the USA and Europe into sub-Sahara Africa". (p 198)
Kenya is a signatory to lots of conventions in education, including the Convention to the Privileges of the Child (1989), the planet Declaration on Education for any (Jomtien, 1990), the Dakar accord and the Millenium Development Goals (2000). In achievements of education development goals, Kenya is bound to, among other activities, quality education by MDGs. The Jomtien call for access for access, collateral, quality and democracy in education seemed to promise both sociable and financial development (Chisholm and Leyenderker, 2008). Sociable and economic development, and is still thought, requires educational change and educational change is essential for sociable and economical development (ibid:). Educational change, subsequently, is recognized to count on, amongst other activities, the type from relevant development assistance projects. These assignments, in the area of education, are typically formulated with reference to internationally negotiated development agendas (like the MDGs) and priority (Crossley & Watson, 2003). A good example of these assignments in Kenya is CFSs which are supported by United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The Education Section of UNICEF's Programme Department introduced the Child Friendly Colleges (CFS) platform for classes that "serve the whole child" in 1999 (Chabbott, 2004).
Rationale for introducing CFS framework in Kenya
The increased reliance of international aid to support education reform in Kenya has been along with a change, from "understanding education as a individuals right and the general good to observing it generally in terms of its contribution to national progress and well-being through the development of the knowledge and skills societies are deemed to need". (Arnove & Torres 2007:359). Infrequent voices continue insisting that "education is liberating, that learning is inherently developmental" (ibid: 359).
The obstacle in education is not only to get children into school, but also to enhance the overall quality of schooling and address risks to involvement. If both quality and gain access to are tackled, children who are enrolled in primary school are likely to continue, complete the entire pattern, and achieve expected learning final results and successfully changeover to secondary institution.
The CFS framework (see appendix 3) is aimed at promoting child-seeking, child-centred, gender-sensitive, inclusive, community-involved, protective and healthy approaches to schooling and out-of-school education with a general goal of improving the grade of learning.
A good quality education is one that enables all learners to realise the capabilities they need to become economically productive, develop ecological livelihoods, contribute to peaceful and democratic societies and boost wellbeing. The learning outcomes that will be required vary matching to context but at the end of the essential education cycle must include threshold degrees of literacy and numeracy and life skills including consciousness and reduction of disease.
In his explanation, Tikly believes that a good quality education arises from connections between three overlapping conditions, namely the insurance plan, the school and the home/community conditions. In his conception of quality education, Tikly sets context into consideration i. e. needs of the learner, social and politics contexts. In addition, he emphasizes on the relevance of what is taught and learned and exactly how it fits the nature of particular learners in question. This 'stimulates policy makers to have cognisance of changing national development needs, the sorts of institutions that different learners attend and the types of educational disadvantage experienced by different groups of learners when contemplating insurance plan options'(ibid:11).
The simple fact that CFS stresses on learner-centered pedagogy and puts the child at the "centre" or "center point" in the learning process raises the thought of "what's thought to be valuable knowledge" and "how this knowledge is received" in this specific framework. This leads us to the inquiry on the school of thought or paradigm behind launching a contextualized CFS construction. CFS as a procedure for education is premised on constructivism, a theory of knowledge arguing that humans generate knowledge and interpretation from conversation between ideas and real experiences. Regarding to constructivists, the notions of simple fact and truth are socially produced and in several context with the understanding that knowledge is subjective and embedded in multiple realities. Thus, quality of learning should be viewed in the framework where it is occurs.
Towards Quality Basic Education In Kenya: Developing Research Capacity and Evaluation
Before we acknowledge the contribution of CFS in providing quality education to the kids at Primary school level, it will be prudent to review some of other contributions that has been created by international organizations in collaborations with the local governmet in promoting quality of education at grassroot levels by building research capacity.
Kenya has already established a brief history of benefiting from international assistance in its education sector. Among the programmes is the principal Schools Management (PRISM), an effort of DfID through the Ministry of Education, which places a whole lot of emphasis on participatory approaches and emphasis on mobilising community support, reference management and utilisation, supporting learning of pupils and growing action designs. It targeted instructor training and management and the impact of this is overall effectiveness of the education system which has a direct bearing on quality of education. According to Otieno & Colclough (2009:26), PRISM is regarded as 'one of donor-funded programmes which got most positive impact on quality' of basic education and CFS can study from it. As Crossley et al notes, the main goal of PRISM was to enhance the quality of most important education through the training and support of mind teachers in sensible management skills. Borrowing from the PRISM experience it is worthy learning that well designed and sorted out CFSs projects concerning community involvement at grass root level may help touch local voices and business lead to successful execution of educational procedures not only in Kenya but also other parts of African contexts.
Challenges in applying CFS in Kenya
In this section I'll explore common challenges from the CFSs notion with an goal of illuminating and critiquing the distance between coverage and practice in CFSs.
Access and Quality Issue: Which one should be first concern?
"While developed countries are mainly engaged in activities to improve the quality of education, or they practice and seek new techniques and methods of learning and teaching, developing countries battle to provide similar opportunities for education, trying to raise the rate of contribution of all people in basic education, which is in fact compulsory. To deal with its educational problems, each country works out countrywide or local solutions, with regards to the nature of the situation. "
The shade of such affirmation is more tightly allied to the question of goal. Priority in one country may not be a main concern in another. In Kenya, the major problem basic education is facing is of access while advanced schooling is facing the challenge of quality. CFS focus more on quality, however in the Kenyan context, usage of education continues to be a challenge in basic education even following the intro of FPE. The CFS idea of quality can however suit very well in small talk about commonwealth countries which have almost universal access to basic education. It has been mentioned that small sates have finally shifted education priorities towards emphasis in school success, quality and addition (Crossley & Watson 2003) and CFS in Kenya should learn from small says that the priority should now be on usage of basic education before moving to quality.
"Atomizing" the child: is child-centred the solution to quality CFS?
A key feature of the right-based, CFS system is that it's linked firmly to the child-centred learning process. CFS advocates for child-centred learning where a child is cured as an individual entity or an "atom" in learning procedures. The idea of "atomizing" a kid has its downsides produced from child-centred learning. First, there is an oversight on early on year development behavior of the child. Psychologists consider children undertake various degrees of development and their learning behaviours will vary at each level. For instant, Vygotsky's (1978) concept of the zone of proximal development (ZPD) means that a kid cannot typical create ZPD by himself; he needs the greater expert individual to bridge the gap between his current development level and his proximal level of development. Secondly, a child-friendly, democratic learning environment might not work successful in overcrowded classrooms and school with limited resources like it is the truth in Kenya. Thirdly, child-centred learning weakens the role of the professor. The idea a child must be energetic in structure of knowledge is often realized to imply a diminishing role for the educator in learning process who now becomes a "coach" or a facilitator". A call for paradigm restoration, from an solely child-centred learning to a combo of both child-centred learning and teacher-centred learning approach is important so that the weakness of one method is complemented by the other method.
What Lessons can Kenya study from other Countries in Implementing CFS? AN ASSESSMENT on the Contribution of Comparative Research
Kings (2007) stresses the necessity to explore the strain between the nationwide and the international policy agendas in Kenya in order to make up to date decisions when crafting educational plans. Clearly, this is a view that underscores the contribution of CIR analysts in bridging ideas, policies and tactics with both local and global brains (Crossley, 2000) in trying to recognize betters grounds to critically mirror and determine appropriate course of action.
Apparently, the word that is commonly found in Kenya and even many Africa countries in the initial processes of planning an educational policy is benchmarking. Essentially, this is usually a comparative review which is carried out either locally and/or internationally in seeking to compare the latest models of of policy construction with the aim of critical adaption or adoption. Lessons are well learned when a evaluations are made, and this underscores the power and significance of comparative research. Furthermore, since problems transcend countrywide edges, it is wise to seek possible solutions from a similar experience in another country, and this explains why international research is important. Kenya can learn from other countries that are either progressing or failing woefully to use CFS because lessons can either identify opportunities or spaces, based on comparative examination. In these admiration therefore, I've identified two important elements of CIR that could help implementation of CFS.
CFSs in differing contexts effectively apply the three key key points of CFS models-inclusiveness, child-centredness and democratic contribution.
Schools operating in very different national contexts, with different degrees of resources and offering populations with different needs have succeeded in being child-centred, promoting democratic involvement, and being inclusive.
Schools that had high levels of family and community contribution and use of child-centred pedagogical techniques had better conditions for learning, that is, students felt safer, backed and engaged, and believed that the men and women in the school supported the addition and success of each college student. (UNESCO, 2009)
Kenya may use this success report to assist in providing a broader perspective on the ways in which CFSs can donate to quality in the country's unique context. The extreme care should however be that any steps considered must have hindsight of the current context in the united states to avoid uncritical transfer of practice which may end up starting a Pandora's pack.
Secondly, through CIR, studies of educational systems that promote similar problems can provide information for learning possible effects. A recently available comparative analysis research conducted by UNESCO in Nigeria, Gunaya, Thailand and the Philippines on CFS pedagogy offered different results. While teachers in Nigeria and Guyana mainly focused on appointment basic instructional material needs (textbooks, newspaper), many instructors in Thailand and the Philippines centered on having greater access to information and communication technology (UNESCO 2009). Kenya experiences the same obstacle as Nigeria and Gunaya, and data from these countries can be used to understand how they dealing with inadequate basic instructional material. The extreme care here should be, that "common problems may prevail in different countries, but 'common model' cannot be applied because each country has different culture/framework" (Crossley & Watson, 2003:39). This provides important information of what to adopt, alter or avoid.
It is worthwhile reiterating Crossley'(2003) emphasis that "framework matters" and various countries have different needs and priorities even if they are faced with the same obstacles. The worthiness of CIR is learning international systems of education in order to become 'better fitted to examine and understand our own' (Sadler 1900, reprinted 1964:310) and CIR can be utilized as a lense to focus on flexible or adoptable practices. UNICEF consistently emphasises that CFS is a "pathway to educational quality" rather than a "blueprint" and this "it is counterproductive to respect the CFS model as rigid, with a present quantity of defining characteristics or key components" (2009c, Ch. 1, p. 9). Thus, the essay sought to provide an overview in favour of the contribution of CIR in improving successful implementation of CFSs in the Kenyan context. As a result, the essay acknowledges the role of CIR in rousing critical thinking and reflections about CFSs system by evaluating its success and failures, advantages and weaknesses. This critical reflection facilitates self evaluation in our own context and the foundation for identifying appropriate courses of action. This article also hints that CIR helps us understand global agendas and exactly how they condition educational development jobs from organizations and development companies.
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