2020 INCE Guatemala is moving from a conceptual development phase towards piloting and implementation of the School Improvement program. Since the launch in May 2019 the team has worked hard on, amongst other things writing a handbook for teachers. The aim of the consortium is to systemically improve the quality of Education in Guatemala. And they’re not alone in this ambition.
Since the start of this year the new government took office, including a new Minister of Education. Ambitions of the government in a fresh start show promising signs of dealing with key challenges which are also pointed out by various stakeholders in Guatemala: improving the quality of the Education system, training teachers to make them well equipped for their job and providing learning-enhancing infrastructure. In general, there is an interest and awareness of the need to invest in the Educational system.
Positive attitude starts change
For various years Guatemala has been dealing with an extremely low annual investment in Education of only a few percentage points. At INCE we believe that change is possible, and we need to effectuate that change step by step. ‘You have to believe you can change the system together with other actors,’ explains Sander Verduijn, project leader at Woord en Daad. ‘We want to start showing small key changes through the program, which will entice key stakeholders to increase investments in the key towards a country’s development; an educated workforce.’ A positive attitude is key.
In the first three months of this year the INCE team will roll out a pilot program on school improvement. This program was written last year. ‘We are looking for opportunities to cooperate with the government and see if they would appoint a region where we can pilot the program. The INCE program builds on recent government co-developed programs and aims to enhance the involvement of other sectors or industries.’
Later this year INCE will organize an official launch of the program, but, as Sander explains, some early results of the pilot must be available first. ‘We want signs of results to start showing, as far as that is possible with a pilot, before we organize the launch. In the end, it’s not about the launch, but about quality education in Guatemala.’
Definitions and data
But that’s not all for 2020. INCE Guatemala will develop year 2-4 of the school improvement program for the coming years. The first year is about generating a clear and common understanding of concepts. Key to systemic change is speaking the same language, so year 1 of the program ensures teachers will discuss definitions for different aspects of school improvement. For example, if we want to improve the school climate, then what do we mean by school climate? Why is it important etc. These discussions are crucial to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Starting from a similar conceptual understanding of school improvement, years 2-4 will then work specifically on the actions that will generate the change at teacher and school level, subsequently demonstrating improved learning results of children and youth.
Good quality education is important and improving the education system in Guatemala is key for giving children more perspective. But how do you measure the results? And how do you prevent the results from being just a feeling that you are on track? INCE Guatemala will invest in a database to collect quantitative data on the performance of the program. In the coming years this database is to be filled with data such as the results of the children, the satisfaction of teachers and other hard data to make sure that within a couple of years this data shows that the work of INCE and its partners was not just another project, but that it without a doubt improved the quality of Education in Guatemala.