At CIES 2024 the focus for PEAS was transforming secondary education. Over the course of the week, Daniel Omaya, Maureen Kizito and Jenny Groot shared PEAS’ expertise in workshops and panels alongside partners at the Girls Education Challenge, Link Education, and Chemonics International.

Ahead of all that, PEAS joined forces with Transform Schools to deliver a pre-conference workshop, “Reimagining Secondary Education: Catalysing a Coalition for Change,” which aimed to spark collaborative action and reframe the future of secondary education.

Reimagining Secondary Education: Catalysing a Coalition for Change

PEAS and Transform Schools were happy to bring together a wide range of experts in our pre-conference workshop at CIES 2024. Participants from Asia, Africa and Europe, including representations from international NGOs, research organisations, universities and donors, brought diverse experiences and valuable insights to our session.

It was a great chance to hear perspectives on what secondary education needs to deliver, what barriers were facing many of the young people we support, and what solutions we should be scaling over the next decade.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Common issues: Participants worked across a huge range of low and middle income countries, yet many common themes emerged. For the vast majority, secondary education was underfunded, outdated, and inaccessible for many in marginalised groups like girls and rural communities.
  2. Getting skills right: Discussions emphasised critical 21st-century skills like ICT, critical thinking, resilience, literacy and numeracy, and the need for adaptable curricula to suit varied contexts.
  3. Overcoming barriers: Poverty, gender-specific challenges, curriculum relevance, and lack of focus from governments and donors were some of the barriers highlighted to quality secondary education globally.
  4. Not one-size-fits-all: Enrolment in secondary schools was highly varied across the contexts represented in the session, and groups agreed that a multi-faceted system that worked for all adolescents was important. Clear formal and non-formal pathways are likely to be needed for most low income countries for the foreseeable future.
  5. Scaling solutions: Participants were optimistic about the potential impact of reimagining secondary education. Many had seen great examples of strong, equitable secondary schools and saw huge benefits from learning from positive deviants and scaling localised solutions.

What’s Next?

We are advocating for an increased focus on secondary education, an area often overlooked yet critical for achieving SDG4.

Our aim is for this workshop to be the first of many chances to push thinking in this area. We need more discussions on the challenges and solutions in supporting adolescents.

We want to see more engagement with and sharing of research, stronger systems and more support for secondary across the global south. To do that we will have to work together.

Get in touch, spread the word, and watch this space.



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