German activities

Improving the quality of education

Prospective teachers at a training course on AIDS prevention in Chimoio, Mozambique

Improving the quality of teaching in its partner countries is a priority of Germany's development cooperation in the education sector so that children and young people are not only able to attend lessons, but actually achieve concrete progress in their learning.

Vocational and further training, school management

Many developing countries are forced – in part because they lack funds – to employ teachers who are poorly trained or not trained at all. That has a negative impact on the quality of the teaching. This is why Germany is promoting initial and needs-based in-service training for teachers. The primary objective is to familiarise them with modern teaching and learning methods.

It is also important to raise teachers' awareness of gender issues during their training. It is common knowledge that female teachers serve as role models and help to promote gender equality. Nonetheless, the number of women teachers is still very low in many countries, especially in remote regions.

In many education projects, school management also plays an important role. Closer cooperation between schools and school authorities is, for instance, an important aspect that Germany seeks to foster. Classroom visits can be used to give teachers input and ideas for preparing lessons, school heads can be encouraged to make use of training opportunities.

Developing curricula and learning materials

Germany has made curricula development and revision part of its development cooperation in this sector, with a view to making lessons more closely aligned with schoolchildren's needs. Topics being brought into the curricula include democratic conduct and peaceful coexistence, environmental and health education, gender-sensitive behaviour, HIV/AIDS prevention, and preparation for the workplace.

In order to translate the curricula into actual lessons, Germany is helping to develop teaching and learning materials using sound didactic methods.

Involving parents

Germany supports the involvement of parents and communities in primary and secondary education. Experience has shown that parental involvement, for example through parent councils, can encourage parents to send their children – especially girls – to school even if they were not themselves able to attend school.

Another option is setting up school committees, as has been done successfully in Guatemala. Teachers and parents together are responsible for the teaching and for the management of the schools. The committees appoint the teaching staff and monitor their attendance and performance.

In many countries parents are also actively involved in construction work done in schools – for example by donating their labour, materials or cash.

Quality control

Germany not only supports its partner countries in developing educational content and methods, it also promotes the systematic evaluation of education programmes.

There are various procedures and instruments in place internationally for measuring teaching and learning outcomes and comparing them on a national, regional or global scale. Germany's activities focus on strengthening national quality control systems that take into account the cultural context, initial situation and specific goals a country has set itself.

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