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close this bookEducation for Reconstruction - Report for the Overseas Development Administration (DFID, 1996, 80 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.0 Introduction
View the document2.0 Physical Reconstruction
View the document3.0 Ideological Reconstruction
View the document4.0 Psychological Reconstruction
View the document5.0 Provision of Materials and Curricular Reconstruction
View the document6.0 Human Resources
View the document7.0 Population and Demography
View the document8.0 Concluding Remarks
View the documentSupplementary Texts
Open this folder and view contentsAppendices
View the documentBibliography

5.0 Provision of Materials and Curricular Reconstruction

In post-crisis situations an assessment of basic curricular provision and need is likely to be an early priority.

5.1 Provision of Basic Equipment

As we have mentioned in 2.1 above provision of basic classroom furniture should be an initial priority. Next in priority will be pencils, paper and other writing materials which might be provided in the form of resource kits. As a result of the emergency situation in Chechnya, for example, the Islamic Relief Community Aid Program bought 10,000 school kits which were distributed among schoolchildren to encourage their parents to teach them at home.40 Likewise, Azerbaijan has been identified as a potential beneficiary of some much needed basic educational equipment to be provided by World Vision International.41

40 Information from the Islamic Relief Community Aid home page on the Internet.

41 For example, a project carried out by WVI (World Vision International) in Azerbaijan has proposed to provide resource kits for teachers and kits containing school supplies and materials for 10.000 IDP school-age children in the north-west of Azerbaijan. This provision represents a financial commitment as follows: teacher kits (US $ 1200 = US $40ea x 30 sties); student kits (US $50,000 = US $5ea x 10,000 students). (United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Caucasus. Azerbaijan. DHA. March 1995, Vol. 3, p.50.)

5.2 Teacher Emergency Packages - 'School in a Suitcase'

Basic materials to aid the teaching of literacy and numeracy are contained in the teacher emergency packages (TEPs) produced by UNESCO [ST 6]. The 'school in a suitcase' concept first emerged out of UNESCO's experience in Somalia and Tanzania. In an effort to help Rwandans rebuild their education system, UNESCO provided 9,000 cases and training for a core group who would be involved in using them. Although many western aid groups are in favour of the use of TEPs which are being employed in many areas experiencing or emerging from conflict, TEPs are not immune to criticism, particularly from some local teachers. For example. Marie-Jeanne Uwimana, headmistress of Kigali's largest primary school, is not partial to TEPs: 'They're no use at all. They're totally unsuited to towns. The parents brought schoolbooks and materials.'42 That such views are not isolated was made clear to us in conversation43 with a former educational project leader for UNESCO in Rwanda, now an adviser based in Paris.

42 John Vidal. 'Life after Death', Guardian Education. 18.4.95, p.6.
43 Interview, UNESCO, Paris, 10 May, 1996.

5.3 Textbooks and Other Educational Materials

As far as textbooks are concerned, the situation will vary considerably. In some countries textbooks will have been destroyed and will need to be replaced as a matter of urgency with similar materials; in others textbooks will have to be revised in the light of a changed political situation:

· provision of textbooks

In terms of provision of textbooks from outside (e.g. from international agencies), the most significant constraint could be the great difficulty of printing them in local languages. In addition, much well-intentioned effort to ship unwanted books from other countries to crisis areas often results in the receiving institutions ending up with embarrassingly out-of-date and almost unusable materials.44 Another constraint is the availability of the necessary financial resources. For example, in Georgia, the free provision of textbooks has had to be stopped owing to the country's severe financial crisis,45 and in Mozambique educators have had to rely on a loan from the World Bank in order to provide four million books for primary years three to seven.46

44 For example, students in Bosnia face an acute shortage of textbooks and some of the faculties in the universities have been forced to offer more practical training, with students learning from 'real' situations instead of from books THES, 15.12.95).

45 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Caucasus, Georgia, Vol. IV. DHA. March 1995, p.57.

46 Mozambique News Agency, AIM Reports, No. 75, 11 January. 1996.

· provision of printing facilities

Local printing facilities will often be inadequate or non-existent, and support to refurbish or establish basic printing plant will be highly desirable. A project carried out by UNESCO in Armenia, for example, was concerned not only with the provision of textbooks but also with the improvement of the book production process of the national educational printing facilities.47

47 In particular, UNESCO proposed:

· to provide consultants to assess the need for educational materials and the requirements of the national printing press;

· to provide paper as well as other printing facilities in order to enable the Ministry of Education to produce textbooks for schools (United Nations Consolidated Inrer-Agency Appeal for the Caucasus, Armenia, Vol. 2, March 1995).

· revision of textbooks

In Germany after the War, as we have noted, a whole textbook section under Education Branch of the Control. Commission undertook the vast task of revising school textbooks. In most cases today such thorough preparation will not be possible, at least in the short term. But textbook revision will be an important necessity in most countries affected by crisis associated with political extremism of various kinds.

· distribution of textbooks

Of course, the successful distribution of textbooks is dependent upon adequate transportation which needs to be supported by the Ministry of Education with help from NGOs in monitoring the distribution.48

48 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Caucasus, Georgia. Vol. IV, DHA, March 1995, pp. 57-58.

5.4 Curriculum Development

Most detailed revision of the curriculum will be planned over the long term, but there will be some urgent short-term measures that need to be taken. These include:

· teaching about mine-awareness in post-conflict situations; UNESCO's 'Programme for Education for Emergencies and Reconstruction' (PEER) includes a series of lessons with accompanying charts and handouts and has been used successfully in Somalia and Rwanda; likewise, the Instituto Nacional de Acçao sobre as Minas (INAM) with initial support from the United Nations will implement nationwide instruction covering issues such as awareness, avoidance and clearance of mines, and will also provide the necessary training programmes 49

· general guidelines for pupil survival in times of conflict and crisis50

· emergency training to assist teachers with the creation of new learning (materials,51 the use of new teaching and learning styles, and the teaching of 'new' subjects like civics

· first steps towards teaching for understanding and tolerance of other ethnic and religious groups

49 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola, 1995, p. 27.

50 For instance, a teaching package is being developed to teach survival strategies in the Armenian setting (United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Caucasus. Armenia, Vol. II, March 1995).

51 With respect to Palestine, World University Service (WUS) organised and funded two training visits by a specialist in the development of active-learning materials from the International Extension College in Cambridge. This experiment has been successful in training a group of teachers to write independent learning materials and to produce attractive experimental units which compare very favourably with printed materials produced elsewhere for similar learners. It has not only served to encourage a change in teaching and learning styles in Palestinian schools towards a more learner-active approach when schools are open, but has also offered a partial solution 10 the problems caused by school closures (WUS, 1991/1992).