What We Do Education Quality
Opportunity EduFinance is promoting quality in education through its "Self Improving School System"
Getting more children into school has impact only if the children receive a worthwhile education when they get there. So Opportunity EduFinance maximises the impact of its work by going beyond issues of access to address the quality of education provision, as well.
This quality is hard to define. No single definition can cover the socio-cultural diversity of all schools, and too often at national level, politics blocks consensus. Quality relates to a multitude of coordinated inputs, linking students, teachers, materials, curricula, facilities, results, governance, and local communities with a self-sustaining, virtuous feedback loop that holds the school and key stakeholders accountable at all levels, and grounds itself in the improvement child-level outcomes.
Within the Opportunity EduFinance programme, quality improvements begin with the establishment of a so-called ‘Self-Improving School System’, a cluster of school leaders and teachers that exchange insights and experience with the common goal of improving education quality.
Opportunity EduFinance: applying education sector best practice
With Opportunity EduFinance, individual schools assess their own quality against a pre-defined set of criteria informed by best practice employed by bodies including UNICEF and the Brookings Institute, and fit for purpose to local markets. Working with Opportunity Education Specialists, school leaders compare the results of their self-assessment to those of a third party assessment, and together form a school development plan to actively pursue on an annual basis. This process is Opportunity EduFinance’s “Pathway to Excellence” approach, in which we offer a broad picture of education quality, meeting schools where they are and taking a step-wise approach to improvement. In contrast with traditional top-down best practice sharing, our approach aims to develop tailored, easily understood pathways to improvement in educational quality that maximizes buy-in and subsequent localized investment.
Based on these ‘pathways’, schools can access a range of Opportunity EduFinance training and support resources both through their clusters and online. Head teachers and school owners, for example, can receive professional development on a variety of topics from leadership and staff management to marketing and financial planning.
A virtuous circle of better educational outcomes, profitability and stronger networks of schools dedicated to improving quality
Taken together, these interventions mean that schools become better managed in the long run, and learning outcomes improve. A virtuous circle emerges of better educational outcomes, more profit through school expansion, and stronger networks of schools that are dedicated to improving quality.
Still at a relatively early stage, Opportunity EduFinance’s quality work is currently operational in Uganda, Ghana, Colombia, and soon in Rwanda.