COE’s work with educators in Senegal and The Gambia supports quality multi-grade education

Professors Jacqueline Mosselson and Gretchen Rossman, and seven graduate students at the College of Education’s Center for International Education in the Department of Educational Policy, Research and Administration, recently completed a two-year project, Learning Initiatives in Rural Education (LIRE), in Senegal and The Gambia, which was funded by the World Bank-administered Bank-Netherlands Partnership Program (BNPP).

Jacqueline Mossleson Gretchen Rossman
Jacqueline Mossleson Gretchen Rossman

The goal of the project was to work alongside educators in Senegal and The Gambia to strengthen local capacity to deliver and support quality multi-grade (MG) education in rural areas with low population densities.

The COE team worked in collaboration with in-country LIRE team staff, Ministry of Education officials, local teacher training instructors, as well as rural teachers and inspectors in both countries.

The LIRE project team worked with 20 demonstration schools (13 in Senegal and 7 in The Gambia) to develop teacher training manuals and teachers’ guides that were locally appropriate and aligned with the curricula of each country. They met regularly in person, on Skype, and over email to collaborate in the development of training workshops, teachers’ guides, and training manuals that focused to strengthen multi-grade education. In addition, the team worked with a National Advisory Committee and Technical Working Group in each country which comprised Ministry officials, senior personnel at INGOs, and local leaders in the education sector of each country. Consistent feedback from the workshop evaluations, the conference, and the external evaluation was that this collaborative approach was a highly valued and unique part of the LIRE project.

In addition to the trainings and training materials, the LIRE team undertook local and national advocacy activities surrounding multi-grade education in each country. They developed a monitoring and evaluation toolkit and facilitated an international conference in West Africa on multi-grade education. As a result of this initiative, The Ministry of Education in The Gambia signed a Memorandum of Understanding in demonstration of their commitment to continuing the work undertaken by the LIRE team.

The Gambia has just completed a national multi-grade training initiative of all multi-grade teachers in the country, using the materials developed by LIRE and implemented by LIRE partners. Additionally, the government in Senegal has published the training manuals and teachers’ guides and distributed them to schools and teacher training colleges across the country.