This December, Opportunity International (OI) celebrates dedication to excellence in education, through the announcement of the Education Quality Awards (EdQ Awards) results. The awards recognise partner schools across Africa demonstrating outstanding levels of commitment to achieving and sustaining high quality education for their students.
Renée McAlpin, Africa Coordinator of Education Quality, EduFinance says:
“We are thrilled to acknowledge the hard work of these schools on their journey to improving the conditions for learning. The awards are also a reflection of the support provided by Education Specialists to these schools.”
Applications were open to OI partner schools engaged in our Education Quality (EdQ) Programme.
The winner this year was Busy Bees Foundation School from ‘Source of Knowledge School Cluster’ in Kigali, recognised by Sande Robert, local OI Education Specialist, fellow cluster schools and members of the community for their leadership in innovative school development.
OI Edufinance’s EdQ programme is what makes us unique. In 2015 it was established in response to calls from our partner schools – those benefitting from greater access to finance from OI partner micro-finance banks. EdQ now provides an additional and synergetic service to these schools, reaching over 800 affordable private schools in 7 countries worldwide. The local EdQ teams have grown from a handful of staff to 18 Education Specialists – all local educators and experts in their specialist areas from Early Childhood through to Tertiary Education. Schools are grouped in local Clusters in order to collaborate and share learnings.
Those enrolled onto the EdQ programme are supported by School Development Plans tailored to their individual needs and wants. These plans are comprehensive, progressive and shaped by our culturally-specific and module-based Pathways to Excellence (P2E) evaluation and improvement tool. Both P2E self- and external-assessments evaluate schools across over 30 modules including school culture, teaching and learning resources, pedagogy and child protection. The process is collaborative, supported by EduFinance staff and the P2E guide itself. To date almost 600 schools have submitted P2E self-assessments.
Education Quality Awards
The purpose of the awards is to identify hard-working schools, motivate them to continue and share learnings and best practice. Those selected have demonstrated significant education quality improvement recognised within their communities and clusters: Opportunity EduFinance’s Centres of Excellence.
Applicants identified a challenge facing their schools in their School Development Plan and explained how they addressed this challenge through various solutions using P2E resources, involving various stakeholders from the school. They submitted evidence of implementation of their proposed solution.
The top 5 applications received school fund rewards, “Centre of Excellence” designation and local and global press coverage for their efforts to improve conditions of learning.
Busy Bees Foundation School Creates a Buzz
Our winners, Busy Bees Foundation School, in Kigali, Rwanda, have excelled in three key areas of P2E: ‘School Culture’, ‘Financial and Business Management of the School’ and ‘Child Protection’.
As Jonathan Renaudon-Smith, Director of Education Quality, explains:
“Busy Bees have taken on developments in some key areas which are not only a focus for 2018 but will inevitably become a multiple year effort. An example of this is ‘School Culture’. They have made a very strong start on this and will find in future years that other section of ‘Pathways to Excellence’ will help to reinforce and extend their developments. The approaches taken with the finances of the school were also exemplary and should help others adopt a similar approach.”
Of particular note, the school faced the challenge of a lack of awareness of Children’s Rights amongst members of the community. With the help of P2E, Busy Bees has now developed and implemented a comprehensive Child Protection policy and set up school awareness clubs.
Ikiki High School received our second prize, concentrating on ‘Child Centred Teaching and Learning’. They have engaged in teacher training in participatory learning styles involving role play and class projects. The school has seen improved performance in the school, with the pass rate increasing from 40% to 60%.
Centres of Excellence positions were awarded to Golden Bell Nursery and Junior School, in Kampala, Uganda for developing an innovative, collaborative Class Development Plan; Kumasi Best Brain International School, in Accra, Ghana for developing a School Development committee ensuring all staff and parents contribute to and are aware of development goals, and Victory Land Academy, in Ghana, which has concentrated on child centred learning through training courses and new the development of new resources.
Such schools are truly exemplars that stand out for their passion and innovation in education provision, inspiring others to reach higher.
“We have many more schools in our program that have shown outstanding progress and we hope to find ways of acknowledging each and every one of them during the life of the Education Quality program!”