Valerie Haugen

“The SDGs are underpinned by a commitment to inclusive development. But we don't really know how to 'do' inclusive development, including in the education sector…”


Valerie Haugen visited CIE in November 2016. She spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Montague House and interacted with current students in an informal meeting the same day. A busy education and international development consultant with extensive experience particularly in Asia and Africa, Valerie has been working on projects related to inclusive education in recent years.


She comments that “the term ‘inclusive education’ is poorly understood—it is usually taken to mean either getting learners into a classroom setting or [providing] education for learners with disabilities… Inclusive education is neither of these things solely, although it does include both of these interpretations. The philosophy and practices of inclusive education will help us make sure every learner participates in a quality education, so it's important to understand what it really is.”


In 2016, Valerie worked with colleagues at the Laos Ministry of Education and Sports to review the ministry’s national Inclusive Education (IE) Strategy and Action Plan 2011-2015, and to develop the IE Strategy and Action Plan for 2016-2020.The new IE Strategy, Action Plan and associated Guidelines are sector-wide and aim to move the needle toward the vision of an inclusive education system, one where the system fits the learner rather than demanding that the learner must fit the system.


“I developed a conceptual framework that helps stakeholders understand and systematically exploit the opportunities [as well as] tackle the challenges of inclusive education in Laos, with respect to a range of fields including curriculum and materials development, assessment, teacher professional development...” she explains. This framework is also populated with key practice-oriented documents from international organizations, particularly UNESCO.


Valerie also worked with World Learning, Washington D.C., on the Transforming Access, Agency and Power (TAAP) Initiative, which aims to introduce greater inclusion sensitivity into development, humanitarian/relief and advocacy work.


The TAAP Approach and Toolkit draw together sensitivity work in gender, disabilities and other marginalized and excluded groups (youth, religion-affiliated groups, etc.). Elements of TAAP have been tested among diverse communities in London, Myanmar and Mongolia, and will be piloted in several other countries.


Other thematic areas Valerie has worked in include policy development and review, teacher professional development, curriculum and teaching and learning materials development, gender, equity, access quality of education, proposal development, program design, project and strategy monitoring and evaluation, and field research. [12/16]


More recently Valerie has taken the position of Chief of Party for the USAID-funded Uzbekistan Education Reform Program being implemented by RTI International.  Due to current COVID-related restrictions, she is working from her home in Minnesota.


The $30 million program is intended to assist the Ministry of Public Education to undertake an ambitious education reform agenda. The Program is assisting the Ministry to develop curricula for Uzbek Language Arts, Math, ICT and English as a Foreign Language for primary and secondary grades.  It also is working to enhance the capacity of teachers of these subjects and to develop a digital platform for storing student standards and instructional materials that will support teachers in the classroom. [11-20]





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