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Level 18, 100 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 1GT

Telephone: +44 (0) 7768599834

© 2024 Opportunity International Education Finance functions under its US and UK affiliates. Opportunity International United Kingdom is registered as a charity in England and Wales (1107713) and in Scotland (SCO39692). Opportunity International United Statesis a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Recognizing Excellence – 2023 EduQuality Awards

By Maham Khuhro

The 2023 EdQ Awards Report spotlighted schools globally for their outstanding efforts in providing quality education. These institutions not only embraced innovation but also positively impacted their communities. The EduQuality Awards, organized by Opportunity EduFinance, celebrate and acknowledge the commitment to advancing education standards, with each school receiving a cash prize and a wall plaque for their school during the respective award ceremonies.

“It means a lot that we are also able to be recognized among other big schools. It also means that by working together we can achieve a lot and develop our school to be one of the best schools in the future.” - Kennedy Aroko, School Leader, Emmaus Education Center, Kenya.

EDUQUALITY PROGRAM

At the core of these awards is EduQuality — a comprehensive three-year school development initiative thoughtfully designed by Opportunity EduFinance. Under the guidance of experienced Education Specialists, this program equips local affordable non-state schools through strategic sessions aimed at fostering overall school quality development. By supporting actionable school planning and comprehensive leadership training and teacher mentorship, EduQuality catalyzes schools’ growth and quality improvement journey.

2023 EduQuality Awards Recipients 

First Prize: Colegio Centro Educativo Santa Marta, Colombia

This beacon of educational excellence, boasting 215 students, won the top prize for its commendable efforts in redefining parent and community engagement.

Colegio Centro Educativo Santa Marta conducted a School Self-Assessment in 2022, which is a crucial part of the guidance provided by EduQuality. The challenges highlighted in the Self-Assessment prompted the school to reinvigorate parent and community engagement levels.

To address the disconnection between the school and its surrounding community during and after the COVID period, school leaders outlined a comprehensive strategy in their 2022 School Development Plan. Strategic interventions, such as extending aid to families in need, sharing groceries, and offering emotional support, highlighted the school’s profound sense of social responsibility.

The school organized various innovative events such as food festivals, flea markets, bingo events, and recycling initiatives to foster community spirit and environmental responsibility. These proactive measures showcase Colegio Centro Educativo Santa Marta’s commitment to academic excellence and social responsibility within their school community.

Second Prize: Success Ahead Education Center, Kenya

Situated in a low-income area in Nairobi, Kenya, Success Ahead Education Center prioritized learner safety and fostered a conducive learning environment. Their strategic planning, including the construction of secure infrastructure, resulted in a tangible improvement in student focus and academic performance.

As a school nestled in a challenging environment, it faced security vulnerabilities, learning disruptions, and sanitation deficiencies. Guided by insights gained from EduQuality training and the Pathways to Excellence guide, the school leader designed a comprehensive strategy in the School Development Plan, identifying areas for improvement with a focus on learners’ safety and a conducive learning environment.

This initiative addressed security concerns through the construction of a robust perimeter wall and secure gate, as well as resource mobilization for essential infrastructure elements. The transformative change significantly enhanced student focus, leading to improved academic performance.

“After winning this award, we shall try our level best to make sure that we go to even greater heights, and achieve even more” - Kamau Antony Njogu, School Leader, Success Ahead Education Center, Kenya

Honourable Mentions 

Colegio Centro de Capacitación Integral Superar, Colombia

This institution demonstrated an unwavering commitment to inclusive education by establishing an inclusive parent group, conducting targeted teacher training, and implementing individualized education plans. Faced with challenges identified in the 2022 School Self-Assessment, the school implemented a comprehensive School Development Plan aimed at fortifying its inclusive education policy, and providing equal opportunities for all students.

To overcome obstacles such as a lack of community awareness and insufficient parental support, the school initiated various measures. These included establishing an inclusive parent group, implementing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and restructuring academic plans based on Universal Learning Design (ULD) principles. Supported by the Unicorn Foundation, the school conducted comprehensive training events to enhance teachers' skills for inclusive education.

Furthermore, the active involvement of parents and the community in extracurricular activities emphasized socio-emotional skills and student talents. The school's commitment to inclusive education was not only evident through these initiatives but also through digital visibility and marketing efforts.

Eagle Spirit Academy, Rwanda

Focused on enhancing the overall school atmosphere, Eagle Spirit Academy communicated a structured routine to improve student behavior and engagement.

The school crafted a School Development Plan focusing on behavior management, marketing, and branding. Overcoming challenges like chronic lateness, disciplinary issues, and inadequate facilities, the academy implemented a comprehensive strategy, including:

  • Establishing a structured routine for students, teachers, and parents.
  • Conducting internal professional development sessions for teachers.
  • Securing a loan for essential upgrades such as building additional toilets.
  • Implementing a behavior management policy, presenting it to the Student Government Association (SGA), and engaging parents in its implementation.

These initiatives resulted in a transformative impact, fostering improved student punctuality, enhanced behavior, and an overall positive academic experience. The upgrades and policies contributed to creating a cleaner, more organized school, providing a conducive learning environment for students and staff.

“This award is an honor and is a testament to what we are doing here, on a global stage.” - David Andrew Mbuzi, Head Teacher, Eagle Spirit Academy, Rwanda

Emmaus Education Center, Kenya

Recognized for prioritizing school infrastructure improvement, Emmaus Education Center faced significant challenges post-COVID-19, leading to relocation due to financial constraints. This new location presented issues, including a nearby hazardous dumpsite.

In response, the school took strategic steps, securing a school improvement loan for additional classrooms and separate washrooms. A 24,000-liter water tank and child-friendly toilets were installed for consistent water supply and improved hygiene.

Proactively addressing the environmental hazard, the school collaborated with Nairobi City County Government to close the dumpsite. This not only eradicated health risks but also resulted in a community park creation, transforming the problematic area into a valuable resource for both the school and its community.

Each school's journey reflects a remarkable dedication to providing well-rounded, quality education. Whether it's strengthening family bonds, improving infrastructure, or championing inclusivity, these schools set a commendable example for educational institutions worldwide.

“I love the people that are around me because they are the ones that have helped me to make sure we achieve what we have achieved.” - David Andrew Mbusi, Head Teacher, Eagle Spirit Academy

The 2023 EduQuality Awards underscore the transformative impact of education, inspiring a global community to strive for excellence.  The award ceremonies provided a chance for schools, parents, and their local communities to come together and celebrate how they have developed and transformed.

Recognized schools serve as guiding lights, shaping a world where educational opportunities are not only accessible but also have a lasting impact for generations.

 

Read the full report here!

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