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December 2007

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Nigeria introduces ICT into primary school curriculum
Nigerian introduces Information and Communication Technology into the primary school curriculum following the launch of a new basic education curriculum for primary and junior secondary schools in the country.

The new curriculum, which has been approved by the National Council of Education (NCE), is aimed at addressing, among others, issues of value re- orientation, poverty eradication, critical thinking, entrepreneurship and life skills. A major feature of the new curriculum is the phasing out of primary science and integrated science, to be replaced by Basic Science and Technology.

Rwanda takes ICT to street kids
Rwanda will launch an extensive campaign aimed at taking Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to street boys in the country.

The project, initiated in Africa by One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is aimed at equipping every Rwandan child with a laptop. The laptops would also be given out to children in all primary schools in the country. Last month’s Connect Africa International summit on ICT, set the goal of ensuring Internet access to every African by 2012. At least US$ 300 million will be invested in projects which will promote Information and Communication Technology in Africa.

iPods to train teachers in Zambia
Education Development Centre (EDC), As part of a creative pilot project,  has distributed iPods to sixth grade Zambian teachers experienced with EDC’s interactive radio instruction (IRI) and trained them in their use.

The initiative is to enhance professional training in Mathematics, Science, and English. The iPods are loaded with the IRI lessons as well as with audio and video training materials designed to support teachers in their presentation of complex topics. Using the iPods in combination with a foot- or solar-powered generator and a set of speakers, the teachers can also broadcast the IRI lessons without being tied to the radio broadcast schedule.

Education policies of meager benefits!
The recently published Lancaster University’s research into the government’s specialist schools programme and the Excellence in cities initiative has concluded that, the education policies costing billions, have been of meager benefits.

The research pointed out the educational resources appeared to have been allocated inefficiently and inequitably in the programme, since most resources had gone to schools with higher proportions of better-off children. While there had been an improvement in exam results, only a third of the improvement could be attributed to government policy. The response of the Department for Children, Schools and Families was defensive, accusing the report of not looking at the whole picture. The same defensive reaction was evident this month when Cambridge University published its interim reports from a wide-ranging, independent, two-year review of primary education in England. They demonstrate that the initial sharp rise in primary school test results between 1995 and 2000 is now understood to be largely a result of teaching to the tests, and not to a dramatic improvement in learning. It points out that the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the government’s own Statistics Commission accepted the rises were overstated. The review also finds that the primary curriculum has narrowed in response to the testing; that statutory tests make it harder, not easier, to judge pupils’ progress; that there have been rises in test-induced stress among pupils; that the results of the tests are unreliable in up to a third of cases; and that the gap between the highest and lowest achievers in Britain is wider than in many other countries. The reports conclude there has been a genuine, although modest, improvement in children’s numeracy. It cannot say the same about literacy.

Chilean president signs education reform pact
Chilean President has signed an education reform pact after a debate involving all the country’s political parties.

The National Education Reform Accord, which is to be submitted to the legislature for approval, proposes a general law of education to replace the existing national law on teaching, which was instituted in March 1990 under former Chilean military leader Augusto Pinochet. The move marks a triumph for the thousands of high-school students that have been campaigning for education reform since March last year. The provisions of the newly proposed law include quality education as a constitutional obligation instead of a guarantee of access to education, and the creation of the Education Overseer and the Education Quality Assurance Agency.

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