When the framework for education collapses, it stops being possible to evaluate someone’s level of education. It also becomes difficult for people to prove that they have completed school or establish how well they have performed. While education is valuable in its own right, without formalised recognition the value of completing school is greatly diminished. Without possessing the required certificates, it becomes much harder for people to access opportunities in higher education and employment.
In the areas where we work, acquiring education is often a struggle, requiring significant investment of family resources and time. When people are denied the benefits that come with completing school, it is no surprise that many families are no longer investing in education. This is particularly the case for daughters.
We support Ministries of Education in the rebuilding of their curriculum and the re-establishment of formalised education, including recognised exams and certificates of education. Through this, we are creating education systems that communities can be confident in. We provide the technical support necessary to develop a more robust curriculum that teaches students how to problem solve with knowledge they have gained, and not just learn by rote. We also ensure that new curricula conform to international standards.
Within countries, we work to make sure the curriculum framework is universally recognised by allowing input and feedback from the various stakeholders. This can include facilitating negotiations between groups that are officially in conflict with each other. Within this process we work to ensure a participatory approach that provides opportunities for commonly excluded groups, such as women and girls, pastoralists and people living with disabilities. We also develop textbooks, learning materials, and examination systems that correspond to the set curriculum.
Since 2007, we have supported standardised exam provision, allowing form four and grade eight students to complete their education and receive their certificates. By ensuring standardised and recognised exams, students’ certificates are recognised and respected both by universities in neighbouring countries and prospective employers. This year we reached 33,000 students who have been able to sit their exams and gain the chance to continue onto further education and better employment.
Despite existing disagreements and conflicts between various regions in Somalia, we are supporting Somali people to come together to develop a curriculum framework and associated text-books. Ingrained in this process is a focus on peace-building, democracy and diversity. AET is the lead coordinator for curriculum development in Somalia and has developed and implemented a process of consultation with different regional and community groups to ensure a commonly accepted framework.
Working on curriculum, exams and the entire system of education in partnership with the local community, helps put the control of education in communities’ hands and is essential to moving towards recovery, peace and prosperity.