Our experience (backed by considerable research evidence) is that education development programmes typically have a number of stages:
- Catching the vision. This often involves some internationally acclaimed gurus or other inspirational speakers who illustrate how education is changing.
- Identifying funding to support development and transformation Whether this is local funding or is a package supported by external funding from the EU, the Development Banks or other philanthropic organisations, this will often involve setting broad objectives and targets for the programme.
- Creating the strategy and programmes that will deliver the vision. This is the single most important stage, and the one that can determine how effectively the programme delivers the vision, yet this is the stage that is often unsupported by the expertise of senior educationalists who have conducted similar programmes in other countries. A number of senior educationalists are now referring to this as The Strategy Gap and would argue that it is the single greatest waste of funding in education development programmes worldwide.
- Commissioning the programmes through policy statements, tenders and contracts. Some of these these tenders will be won by local companies, but many will be won by large international companies or partnerships between local and international companies.
We support all of these development stages, bringing expertise and experience that reduces expenditure by ensuring funds are used effectively.
The country that out-educates us today will out-compete us tomorrow.
As well as being a fundamental human right, education is the driver of economic growth. Education is however currently in the midst of the biggest changes in two thousand years. A surgeon taken from the year 1900 and thrown into an operating theatre in 2000 would be a liability rather than an asset. Our contention is that a teacher taken from 1950 and put into a classroom in 2050 would be equally lost.
Education services therefore need to have a vision for the future, and an understanding of the change management process.
E3net can help develop and deliver this vision, providing not just examples of how technology is transforming education services, but case studies and research evidence that clarifies how to allocate resources in ways that create an effective and transformative education service. This allows change to be managed and programme benefits to be fully realised, not lost in the transition between vision and delivery.
If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
Allocating funds to education development is not a drain or resources, it is an investment in the future of the country. Funding is however often contingent on identified reporting mechanisms and outcome measures. While commendable, these constraints can significantly reduce the effectiveness of a programme, replacing what is important with what is measurable, and sacrificing long term capacity for short-term improvement in a small number of measures.
E3net can work with local and national government to ensure that funding criteria are constructed in such a way that they help focus the effort and funding in ways that optimise performance, not just improving immediate outcomes, but also building the capacity of the education system so that it continues to improve in the long term.
We also develop procurement strategies that are outcome-based rather than based on a cost model that provides short-term savings at the expense of any real benefit to educational outcomes.
Planning is everything: the plan is nothing.
Dwight D Eisenhower
The single most important stage in any development is creating the strategy to deliver the vision, yet this is the stage that is most often unsupported by the expertise of experienced educationalists who have conducted similar programmes in other countries.
A number of reputable educationalists are now referring to this as The Strategy Gap and would argue that it is the single greatest waste of funding in education development programmes worldwide.
A significant amount of funding is wasted each year when programmes move from high level objectives to projects and procurement without considering the detail of the strategy and tactics. At e3net, we avoid the strategy gap by engaging with local staff to look at the change management process as well as the objectives. This not only ensures that the plan takes into account local circumstances, it also builds local understanding of the purpose of the plan and the impact of different factors: ensuring short and long term success.
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.
Very few education programmes deliver effectively. Some of the most common reasons are a lack of staff training and poor co-ordination between different aspects (for example; training, procurement, infrastructure, curriculum changes).
Because the team here at e3net are experienced educationalists who have actually managed services, we understand that School Principals have a range of concerns from blocked toilets to staff recruitment. We also understand the importance of pedagogy and the relationship between pupils and teachers. Most important of all, we understand the factors that lead to success. This experience allows us to build programmes that deliver effective and sustainable change.
To do this, we manage the different aspects of educational programmes to create integrated strategies for change. Delivering the programme builds the capacity of those within the local education system to deliver continuous improvement.