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Durham University

Research & business

Research lectures, seminars and events

The events listed in this area are research seminars, workshops and lectures hosted by Durham University departments and research institutes. If you are not a member of the University, but  wish to enquire about attending one of the events please contact the organiser or host department.


Towards achieving inclusive, equitable quality education and accountability in developing environments: Lessons from international and regional large-scale assessment studies in Africa

13th October 2020, 13:00 to 14:00, Zoom seminar, Dr Sarah Howie, Stellenbosch University in South Africa

This will be a virtual seminar using Zoom. Contact for details about how to take part.

Hosted by the Durham University Assessment, Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness and International and Comparative Education Thematic Research & Scholarship Clusters

International large-scale comparative assessment studies in education increased in frequency and scale from the 1990s onwards as the demands for accountability and quality in education amplified. Most recently these calls were encapsulated in the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. However, large-scale comparative studies within regions are a relatively new phenomena in Non-Western countries and even more so within Africa. These regional studies include those found in Latin America, South-East Asia, Francophone-Africa, Southern and Eastern Africa, as well as, an international study focusing on the ‘developing countries". Participation in the international and regional studies in Africa started with concerted efforts of both the World Bank and former leading International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) researchers under the auspices of UNESCO. The latter initiated the Southern and Eastern Consortium for Educational Quality (SACMEQ) studies driven by policymakers.

This presentation outlines the experiences of and impact on African countries, including those in SACMEQ.  Clear differences were found in the conditions for and findings from the African studies, which have set them apart from studies in the Western world. The studies for instance had to explore alternative measures (e.g.: for collecting data on socio-economic status  different from the traditional measures of the IEA and OECD studies), which had previously made comparisons difficult within other larger international studies. The studies highlighted various inequalities such as the rural-urban and digital divides both within and across African countries. Findings revealed the impact of location on conditions of schooling as well as pupils’ achievement. The recent advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the divides and challenges revealed by these studies.

Finally, the policy-specific lens and initial omission of a research imperative sets SACMEQ apart. These and other differences between the studies in Africa and the larger global IEA and OECD studies are analysed. The drivers behind these studies are interrogated, followed by what has been learnt from such studies in Africa.

Contact for more information about this event.

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