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Charting the Nexus: A Comparative Analysis of the Relationship between Education, Economic Growth, and State Formation in Pakistan and South Korea

With the advent of the ‘knowledge economy’, the role of education in development has, arguably, changed substantially (Green, p16, 2007). The concomitant advances in science and technology, especially Information and Communication Technology (ICT), can be harnessed by developing countries to realise economic development, provided they have either a workforce endowed with sufficient levels of human capital to assimilate and transfer this knowledge in order to establish an indigenous industry, or they are able to convince foreign multinationals that there is a sufficiently skilled workforce for them to invest (Green, p16, 2007). Education, however, should not only be considered as an instrument of economic policy through which to stimulate growth; as a political tool educational policy can be orchestrated to facilitate state formation by manipulating pupils’ perceptions of their national identity. It may well be the case that the resulting increase in social cohesion, and sense of national unity, may also have positive externalities in terms of effects on development but such effects are likely to be omitted from analysis which concentrates solely on the role of education in promoting skills formation. Therefore, by examining both the political and economic consequences of education policy, through a comparative analysis of Pakistan and South Korea in the second half of the 20th Century, this paper will seek to develop a holistic picture of the role of education in international development.

Education, economic development and state formation in Pakistan & S Korea

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BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

ANALYSING THE IMPACT OF QUALITY EDUCATION ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA 

‘Of all the issues facing development economists, none is quite so compelling as the question of economic growth’ (Ray, 1998)

Article 45 of the Indian Constitution obliges the state to provide free and compulsory education for all children, up to the age of 14, and initially envisaged that this would be achieved by 1960 (Dréze & Sen, p17, 2003). Fifty years later, this goal of Universal Primary Education (UPE) has been incorporated into a rights based approach to education through international frameworks, such as ‘Education For All’ (EFA) and the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDG) (UNICEF, 2007). The 2009 ‘Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill’ does not, however, fully comply with the assurances the Indian government made at Jomtien, where it acknowledged expansion and development of the early years curriculum as an integral part of the EFA objectives, as it does not cover children under the age of 6 (Singh, 2009). Given that the Bill confers on individual states the responsibility to provide free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school within a period of three years from the commencement of the Bill, it is hard to envisage that India will fulfil its 2015 MDG commitments concerning access to education, let alone address inchoate concerns about the abysmal quality of Indian schools which continues to discourage many parents from sending their children to school, and yields extremely low average attainment of those pupils who do attend (Singh, 2009; UNDP, 2011, Dréze & Sen, p10, 2003).

Digital Divide – Quality Education in India

AIM HIGHER: Student Leadership as a component of Behaviour for Learning

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This research project seeks to explore the extent to which the learning environment within a school can be improved by capitalising on the intellectual and leadership potential of pupils themselves to innovate, identify and contribute to the direction of their own learning through the introduction of a Student Leader Scheme as a component of whole-school behaviour for learning policy. It sets out a rudimentary framework that has served as the basis for a pilot scheme that has been used with a top set year 9 mathematics class for the academic year 2012/13. By analysing the results of pupils’ experiences as Student Leader throughout the year, the project establishes that not only is there broad support for the idea of increased Student Leadership but that there is an appetite to extend the mandate and responsibilities that the position entails. It suggests that by incorporating this feedback and extending the scheme to other mathematics classes and the sociology department for the academic year 2013/14, an effective Student Leadership Scheme can be developed that can be rolled out across the school.

Download: Student Leader Research Project

Download: Resources

OPERATION ULTRA: GCHQ Codebreaking Project

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Every time I have used a code-breaking activity in my lessons I have relished how pupils are captivated and keen to decode the secret message first. With exams finished, I decided to organise a cryptanalysis project for the 60 pupils in the parallel year 9 top sets that would really give them an opportunity to test themselves in an exciting area of maths in which there is a recognised shortage of recruits.

I arranged to take both classes off timetable for three one-hour lessons with the following structure:

LESSON 1:   History of codebreaking

LESSON 2:   Spy School

LESSON 3:   Cryptanalysis Exercise

Given the proximity to the end of the year, I tried to draw in a range of different maths and history teachers, and an outsider speaker, in order to maintain an intensity that would mirror the WWII backdrop against the activities were framed. I approached David Stupples, a Professor of Systems and Cryptography at City University’s School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, who kindly agreed not only to present a lecture on the history of cryptography, but, moreover, to actually bring in a genuine WWII Enigma machine! He drew on early examples of codes from the ancient Egyptians and Romans before exploring the mathematics behind modern codebreaking. This led on to an opportunity for pupils to get up close with the Enigma machine and then try to use factorials to find out how many combinations were possible (1.075×1023). He continued by exploring the fundamental role codebreaking played in winning the war as analysts at Bletchley Park intercepted and deciphered German messages sent using Enigma. Finally he rounded off his talk progressing through the Cold War and looking at the role of cryptanalysts at GCHQ today in countering cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism.

DSC_0492For the Spy School I used activities that I had adapted from Charlotte King (@Chk_ing) after reading her article ‘My best lesson’ in The Guardian. The session was introduced by a history teacher who set the contextual backdrop and emphasised the importance of decoding German U-boat messages in order to ensure Britain received sufficient supplies through the war. Five maths teachers then took a 10 minute session each to cover; the Caesar cipher, the Pipgpen cipher, the transposition cipher, frequency analysis and the Vigenère square. As the last section came to a close, I used graphics from Mathew John James (@MatthewJohnJone) to simulate my computer being hacked by military intelligence. This set the scene for the final session of the day when pupils were provided with a series of coded messages which would require them to apply all the skills they had learned at Spy School to successfully decipher.

DSC_0493Incredibly, five groups successfully deciphered all of the codes before the end of the day which was tremendous testament to their enthusiasm and determination. This enabled pupils to access a final challenge: the chance to go down in history as a master cryptanalyst. I had previously come across an article on CIA Analyst David Stein who had taken more than seven years labouring over piles of gibberish to finally crack three of the four coded messages encrypted in the KYRPTOS sculpture at CIA headquarters. The fourth, however, remains unsolved and hence provided a unique opportunity for pupils to launch their cryptography career:

OBKR

UOXOGHULBSOLIFBBWFLRVQQPRNGKSSO

TWTQSJQSSEKZZWATJKLUDIAWINFBNYP

VTTMZFPKWGDKZXTJCDIGKUHUAUEKCAR

The staff were hugely impressed by the collaborative spirit within groups and the intense level of competition between them as they pitted their mathematical abilitites against each other to crack the codes first. In summary, Professor Stupples emphasised that this was not merely a historical exercise as, in years to come, GCHQ would be relying on people like them to continue to protect the UK from hostile actions!

Download all resources (including Professor Stupples’ presentation) here.

A Royal College; towards democratic Professionalism

The concept of a Royal College of Teaching has been mooted for some time and could, arguably, have been said to exist in the shape of the now defunct General Teaching Council. There is, however, a new momentum building in the education sector within schools, Parliament[1], and think-tanks such as the Prince’s Teaching Institute[2] and The New Visions for Education Group[3] – but what is the rationale and why now?

Teacher Effectiveness

Teacher effectiveness: at the very core

Against an increasingly globalised backdrop in which pupils will require more complex and analytical skills to both succeed in their own careers and also provide the economy with a sufficient workforce to compete in the global knowledge economy, teachers themselves must learn in ways that develop higher-order thinking and performance[4]. This, however, is at odds with the current status quo of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in schools comprising a handful of non-teaching training days where broad spectrum and prescriptive pedagogy and policies are delivered. Given the dramatic transformations sweeping through the education landscape, especially the proliferation of academies with no statutory obligation to employ qualified teachers, surely there has never been a better time to establish a bipartisan Royal College of Teachers with the explicit mandate of facilitating teachers themselves to coordinate professional learning, beyond the artificial horizons of a particular school or college, free from undue political interference?

Since the 1960’s there have, broadly, been four phases of reform to the education system[5]:

  • Uninformed professionalism – the period prior to the 1980s, often regarded as the golden age of teacher autonomy but when teachers lacked appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes for a modern society
  • Uninformed prescription – the period following the election of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in 1979 and, in particular, its imposition of a National Curriculum in 1988 for political rather than educational reasons
  • Informed prescription – the period following the election of Tony Blair’s New Labour government in 1997, bringing with it ‘evidence-based’ policies such as the Literacy and Numeracy Strategies and Standards-based teacher training
  • Informed professionalism – a new phase, just beginning, when teachers will have appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes so that the government can grant them a greater degree of licensed autonomy to manage their own affairs.

It is this new phase in which the teaching profession currently finds itself and although, in theory, the ‘greater degree of licensed autonomy’ is an exciting prospect, it is something which, hitherto, has not been recognised within the arena of CPD. The diagram above is indicative of the considerable academic research which emphasises that it is the quality of teachers which has the biggest impact on raising student outcomes[6]. Paradoxically, given the paramount importance attached to the impact of teacher quality and the need to develop higher level teaching skills to remain globally competitive, there remains a vacuum in CPD[7]. This CPD vacuum flies in the face of research which reveals it is precisely such teacher driven development strategies, supported by the government, that establish the conditions for young pupils to achieve.

Social media and more sophisticated communications networks are now, however, empowering teachers to take professional learning into their own hands. A pioneering minority have taken to twitter to share ideas and links to research and examples of good practise. Such exchanges have led to the creation of informal TeachMeets where teachers and other education professionals meet up to present their research and ideas free of charge. Similarly, Massively Open Online Courses enable teachers to access rigorous academic research, learn more about critical reflection, and watch lectures from world experts in their field, for instance consider the ‘How to Learn Math’ course provided by Stanford University for maths teachers and designed by leading Professor of Mathematics Education Jo Boaler, again at no cost[8]. Whilst digitally tailoring professional learning in this way certainly breaks free from the prescriptive In-School Training days, it would seem appropriate to have some mechanism through which teachers can collate and demonstrate the various components of their specific professional learning. This would not only be of tremendous value to themselves, but also future employers and the teaching profession as a whole which would be able to benefit from sharing best practise more effectively.

A powerful professional organisation can be considered as one of the key features required for an occupation to be termed a profession[9], so perhaps the absence of such a body, thus far, has lead to the ambiguous position of teaching vis-à-vis more established professions such as law or medicine[7]. Suffice it to say, such a body would be uniquely equipped to act as a mechanism through which individual teachers can chart their professional learning, and through which the profession can foster the development of and share the findings of evidence based practise. Indeed, it is in the arena of evidenced based practise that teachers can take a lead from their medical counterparts and, in particular, the work of Dr Goldacre[10] who advocates that:

  • research on what works best should be a routine part of life in education
  • teachers should be empowered to participate in research
  • myths about randomised trials in education should be addressed, removing barriers to research
  • the results of research should be disseminated more efficiently
  • resources on research should be available to teachers, enabling them to be critical and thoughtful consumers of evidence
  • barriers between teachers and researchers should be removed
  • teachers should be driving the research agenda, by identifying questions that need to be answered.

Goldacre goes on to emphasise that this research agenda is not about telling teachers what to do, rather empowering them with evidence-based, independent and informed decisions on, for instance, the factors that help to raise teacher effectiveness. He extols the huge gains made by the medical profession, having become a truly evidenced-based profession, and argues that teachers have the same opportunity to leap forward. A prospective professional body, analogous to the Royal College of Surgeons, could therefore act as a vehicle through which to coordinate, encourage and promote rigorous research and share the findings in order to help raise levels across the board.

Whilst there is a compelling rationale for a Royal College of Teaching, what would it actually look like and, as a teacher what would I see? One such suggestion is put forward by Ross Morrison McGill[11] who advocates teachers combining professional learning in a portfolio that could contain the following:

  • a video of a lesson observation.
  • a record of performance management targets.
  • classroom data.
  • CPD records over the past 5 years.
  • personal information e.g. address, next of kin etc.
  • access to references over time i.e. for each job application.
  • an honest ‘about me’ section that could contain a voxpop, a blog or twitter account that could demonstrate personality, as well as my teaching ability.
  • a collection of all social-media sources

Allied to the results of research, best practice, resources and any formal professional exams that may be introduced by a professional body to achieve a ‘Chartered Teaching Status’, this would provide a useful chronicle of professional learning for both the individual and future employers and through which the professional body would be able to draw upon to help raise the bar across the board.

A professional learning portfolio is in stark contrast with traditional prescriptive and disjointed CPD perspectives. Within the literature, professional learning is now conceptualised as dynamic, on-going, continuous, and set in teachers’ daily lives – embedded in the classroom context and constructed through experience and practice, in sustained, iterative cycles of goal setting, planning, practicing, and reflecting[4]. There are a wide array of activities that could be considered to be embraced by such a collaborative and job-embedded model of professional learning including: analysis of a school’s culture; peer observations of practice; small-scale classroom studies about students’ work; analysis of student data; lesson study groups; involvement in a development or improvement process; and case studies about patterns in students’ classroom behaviour. The roll of the Royal College then would be to promote such an individualised and collaborative approach and coordinate and disseminate key findings and best practise across the profession. In so doing, it could also help to raise the profile of the the profession vis-a-vis other occupations and encourage more graduates and career changers to consider teaching.

A collaborative culture in the broadest sense, not just within the teaching profession but also in association with all those involved in education, in conjunction with the introduction of an effective professional body could see the start of a new wave of ‘democratic professionalism’ in which teachers digitally tailor their professional learning and use evidenced-based research and widely disseminated best-practise to analyse and inform their teaching and help raise standards across the board[12]:

“There is an outstanding momentum of consensus from an incredibly broad range of interests who all agree that the time has now come for the teaching profession to look to form its own professional body”.

Charlotte Leslie MP, Education Select Committee [1]


[1] Charlotte Leslie MP, member of the Education Select Committee, interviewed by SecEd http://www.sec-ed.co.uk/news/the-royal-college-of-teaching-draws-closer

[2] The Prince’s Teaching Institute College of Teaching Consultation http://www.princes-ti.org.uk/CollegeofTeaching/

[3] The New Visions for Education Group http://www.newvisionsforeducation.org.uk/

[4] Literature review Quality in Teachers’ Continuing professional development, European Commission http://ec.europa.eu/education/school-education/doc/quality_en.pdf

[5] Barber, M. (2005) Informed Professionalism: Realising the Potential. Presentation conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, London, June 11

[6] Teachers Matter: Attracting, developing and retraining effective teachers. OECD http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/34990905.pdf

[7] It’s time to give teachers the skills the skills and respect they deserve. Tim Brighouse & Bob Moon http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/34990905.pdf

[9] Millerson, G. (1964) The Qualifying Association. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul

[11] Job Applications: what I’d really like to say http://teachertoolkit.me/2013/02/09/job-applications/

[12] Whitty, G. (2006) Teacher Professionalism in a new era http://www.gtcni.org.uk/publications/uploads/document/annual%20lecture%20paper.pdf

Project Jugaad

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Jugaad is a Punjabi term word that essentially means using innovative approaches to solve problems effectively given limited resources and, as such, was chosen as the name for this UK-India collaborative educational research project into the role of Maths in Technology. For the past five weeks Year 9 pupils from Southfields Academy, London, and Bluebells School, New Delhi, have been investigating the role of maths in an area of technology that interests them; last week was the deadline for submissions and the standard of work has surpassed all expectations! These 13 and 14 year old pupils have completed extensive research into topics as diverse as maths in medicine and maths in space, and discovered, for themselves, topics that go way beyond the KS3 curriculum such as The Bernouilli Principle and calculus.

With STEM subjects critical to the emerging Global Knowledge Economy, Project Jugaad was established with the aim of providing pupils with a real world, open-ended project which would not only develop their subject knowledge but, in addition, foster key skills such as inquiry, collaboration, communication, leadership, global awareness, and cultural understanding which will be crucial to success in further education and employment. Given that some pupils did not even have an e-mail address at the beginning of the project, levels of digital development have been tremendous with documentaries being produced, websites designed, and videos on living in New Delhi which the Indian Tourist Board would be proud of!

Given the high ability of these pupils, the project was open-ended but pupils were invited to submit proposals and drafts in order to receive feedback. The purpose of this was to promote a growth mindset with pupils looking for ways of how they could improve the content of their presentations, in the absence of a grade or score, rather than allowing them to get demoralised by being told what they had done wrong. Groups consisted of 2 pupils from each school and although they were free to communicate however they saw fit (Facebook, BBM, Skype etc) their activities were scaffolded by the fact that each member had to adopt a specific role (Project Manager, Chief Researcher, Digital Engineer, Communications Director). Whilst some groups did struggle to establish contact at first, as the deadlines approached the was a hive of activity and nearly all groups established effective communication in order to submit their projects on time.

The array of topics covered by the pupils was huge and the deliberations involved in shortlisting the final four were agonising. Eventually, the four groups selected for The Dean’s List were agreed upon and the pupils set about preparing to present their findings. This was a more intimidating task than normal, however; not only did the pupils have to present to a class full of pupils and a panel of judges sitting in front of them but, via Skype, they were also addressing pupils and judges in a class 5,000 miles away where the other 2 members of their group were. Coordinating such a presentation within the strict 5 minute time list required thorough planning and it was brilliant to see how all the groups managed to achieve this with aplomb!

The pupils have relished the opportunity to complete a project which extends beyond the confines of the classroom, and in so doing, have developed  new approaches to thinking about the role of maths in the technology that surrounds them, and formed new friendships with their peers in an international collaborative environment which seeks to simulate what pupils can expect to find when they embark on a career in the Global Knowledge Economy.

The winner of the inaugural Project Jugaad Berners-Lee cup will be selected on Wednesday 20th March up until which point you can view and comment on all four projects in The Dean’s List here.

For additional information on Project Jugaad, please visit the project website.