What we achieved
To make lasting improvements in the quality of education, schools need to involve the whole community to bring about change. However, parents and community members often feel disempowered and unable to make changes to improve their school. People with disabilities, young people and the extremely poor are particularly excluded.
In order to make a sustained impact on the lives of vulnerable learners and encourage attitudinal change, education improvements need to be driven by the communities in which they are based.
Aims and objectives
Link’s Increasing Participatory Governance in Education in Malawi (IPGEM) project used existing connections to schools and communities in Dedza to explore why particular groups were marginalised from the school improvement process and work to remove the barriers to participation.
The Inclusive Community Engagement in Malawi (ICE) project used this learning to re-design the processes for school review and improvement planning, making systems more inclusive and accountable at community, school and government levels.
Rather than creating a parallel system, IPGEM widened participation within existing structures, improving accountability and transparency in school improvement.
We helped community members understand the National Education Standards and encouraged contributions to the school review process. We also ensured everyone had a voice in school improvement planning, so the priorities for school improvement reflected the views of the whole community.
The holistic approach taken for ICE saw training and resources provided to teachers, local authorities and communities to ensure every tier of the education system supported the rights of every child to learn.
As a result, schools underwent systemic, community-led improvements, community members began advocating for best practice in education, and teachers were able to better support all children in school.