International Bureau of Education
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Content Section

Relevance/ Responsiveness


As outlined in the introduction this Framework perceives sustained development responsiveness / relevance as starting point for determining what constitutes a quality education system within a given context. The world over, individuals, their families and their countries heavily invest in education not only because it is a human right, but also because of its well documented sustainable development impact. Because development is necessarily contextual, systems that support development – like the education and training system – have to necessarily be contextually responsive.

The development context has national, regional, global and time dimensions. An education and training system that fails to meet individual and collective development needs and aspirations cannot be considered as being of good quality. Yet more often than not education and training systems are castigated for their irrelevance to individual and collective needs and aspirations. Signals of this irrelevance range from the perceived or even real inability of the systems to enable learners for: effective learning at different levels of the system, acquisition of competencies commensurate to levels of educational attainment (See evidence from international competency tests), effective functioning in the world of work and in the labor market, and effective contribution to sustainable growth (See evidence linking economic growth to test scores on maths and science).

The education system is also blamed for not preparing learners to effectively contribute to national and global citizenship, civic responsibility, social cohesion, peaceful co-existence and living together. This Framework holds that inadequate understanding of the development context of an education and training system is a fundamental cause of its irrelevance to geographical and temporal development context(s), its irrelevance to individual and collective development needs, its "ineffectiveness for purpose" and therefore its poor quality. The Framework therefore takes a thorough analysis and a textured understanding of the development context(s) of an education and training system as an important starting point for determining the adequacy of the system to provide education quality and learning effectiveness.

A key focus of this Analytical Tool is to assist countries to ascertain how and if their general education system adequately responds to development challenges and effectively contributes toward development as envisaged and defined by the country. The paramount question addressed by this analytical tool is: Have we ensured that our general education system derives its purpose and strategic direction from its development context(s)? The Analytical Tool is meant to support the users’ analysis and identification of the sources of dissonance between the general education system and its development context(s), to prioritize them and to strengthen an analytic knowledge base for redressing the dissonance. The analysis is facilitated by posing some key questions pertaining to development relevance in specific country context(s) and to mechanisms for assuring relevance.

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