In focus: Shaping quality education for all

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In Focus: Shaping quality education for all

Cambridge Partnership for Education works side by side with governments, international development organisations and other partners to improve the quality of education systems. This can be anything across the education spectrum – from reforming national STEM assessments to virtual teacher training. Jane Mann joined the organisation in 2016 after a career consulting in educational publishing and reform. She became the founding Managing Director of Cambridge Partnership for Education in 2019.

How does Cambridge Partnership for Education make a difference?

The best curriculum reforms are underpinned by great curricula, well-trained teachers, aligned assessment and high-quality textbooks. As our name suggests, we work in partnership with governments and other agencies, listening more than we speak, drawing together different skills and perspectives to enable change. We bring in specialists in curriculum, assessment, textbooks, digital publishing, teacher development, research and innovation, from across our organisation and our University. Taking into account context is essential too for getting good results as is being responsive to shifting goals and schedules – be it to adjust to a change from a government or to be flexible in the face of pandemic.

Can you give an example of a successful partnership?

We have strong partnerships across the world, some of which we’ve been building for years and others which have achieved specific goals in just a few months. We are reaching the conclusion of an exciting large-scale programme which will impact every child in government schools in Oman. We have been working closely with the Ministry of Education’s specialist teams for five years to design maths and science curricula and textbooks for grades 1–12, supported by teacher training, preparing the next generation with the skills and capabilities they will need to thrive as individuals and a nation.

What have been the highlights for Cambridge Partnership for Education in 2021–22?

We’ve begun 21 new projects with governments and organisations around the world this year – more than ever before. Each one comes at a critical juncture, as quality education is one of the most important solutions to the biggest global issues we face.

Since March 2022 we’ve been rapidly developing a programme with Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science to support education during the war. It is drawing on expertise from across the organisation, including Cambridge Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) and our Cambridge Mathematics Project, and we anticipate will also involve our University, as well as many other partners – most critically for funding.

We’ve been building strengths in specific regions, such as a new strategy with our South Asia team to reach millions of learners. This year we were confirmed as partners in Pakistan to support data-driven education development which will impact even the most marginalised girls, rural students and students with special education needs or disabilities across the country.

What is coming next?

The global community is going to have to make bold moves to transform education if we are to realise a brighter, more sustainable future for everyone.

For example, learning poverty in low- and middle-income countries has surged to an estimated 70 percent. That means that only 30 percent of 10-year-olds in those countries can read and understand a simple sentence. In low-income countries alone, that goes down to 8 percent. That is absolutely catastrophic, and you can’t easily catch up from that. You have to do something radical, especially post-Covid, if the UN Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved.

We met with education leaders at the Education World Forum in May 2022, and we have been preparing for the UN’s Transforming Education Summit in September 2022. We plan to bring the full strength of Cambridge to support this necessary and ambitious education transformation.