Twelve Point Programme
CREATE’s research has identified many possible actions that could influence future access to education within an expanded vision of what meaningful access requires. It has within its research products the basis for different toolkits tailored to circumstance that could profile the kind of interventions that would make the difference between more uneven and insecure efforts to improve access and those interventions that could secure the right to education for all children. There is no one prescription as initial conditions vary widely, national and local priorities are different, capacity is constrained, and the locus of responsibility to act is shared between many different stakeholders at different levels.
Strategic approaches to medium term planning of successful transformations to education systems have been outlined within CREATE (Lewin, 2007b). This toolkit to plan, project, budget and mobilise resources is one basis on which to proceed. Other protocols can be developed on the basis of the CREATE research products. To help frame discussion of possible strategies to implement programmes that would make the CREATE expanded vision of access a reality a generic twelve point plan is outlined below. Three things should be noted.
First, initial conditions and baseline data have to be analysed and understood as a precursor to developing plans to improve access, whether proposed interventions are at national or local level. Insights into changing patterns of access over the last decade can give clear indications of the nature of the problems and the likely patterns of causality that continue to deny educational access to different groups of children.
Where the data indicates that large external inputs in the past have failed to have the results Education for All envisaged, more resources may simply replicate history and expand inefficient and low quality systems with softening effective demand. Zonal maps can profile the topography of exclusion and how it has changed over time and the analytic studies of CREATE can indicate critical inhibitors to universal and more equitable access. Policy developed without an understanding of the recent past risks the kinds of failure that have resulted in EFA still not being achieved 20 years after the Jomtien World Conference.
Second, the political economy of EFA is such that unless there is sufficient local and national political will, willingness and ability to allocate adequate resources, and accountability that ensures efficient utilisation, attempts to achieve greater educational participation are likely to prove futile. A key difference between low income countries which have succeeded and countries which have failed to approach EFA goals lies in consistent political will, readiness to invest what is necessary, and the ability to use resources effectively.
Third, approaches to improved access need to be comprehensive and recognise that children, and the households of which they are part, exist within a web of relationships which will determine what access they enjoy and how supply and demand for education interact to generate opportunities for learning that has utility for reducing poverty. But approaches must also be specific and targeted where there are barriers and disincentives to go to school and to learn, and where structures interact with agency to lead to premature exit from schooling. Households, communities, schools and local and national education authorities all play a role in shaping opportunities and removing inhibitors of universal access to education.
Fourth, the CREATE twelve point plan is not a blueprint but a framework which could serve as the basis for planned interventions at district level or above. It would have to be based on a bespoke diagnosis grounded in particular education systems. It would need to be fine tuned as it was developed making use of formative feedback. An overall statement of the goals of the CREATE twelve point plan is developed on the programme goals page. For the programme outline, visit the programme outline page.