Oficina Internacional de Educación
Tel.: +41.22.555.06.00
Fax: +41.22.555.06.46

Content Section

Nature of the Framework


The key premise of GEQAF is that equitable delivery good quality education and effective learning experiences requires robust and well-functioning education systems. As an analytical tool the Framework is NOT meant to ‘tell’ Member States what is wrong with their general education systems and/or how to fix it. It is rather meant to help Member States raise key questions about their systems, assess whether the systems are able to deliver on the quality priorities States have set for themselves, and, if not, why not? The Framework will also be able to help Member States judge whether their education systems have efficient ways to monitor themselves.

This Framework takes national knowledge of general education systems as a starting point and brings in international knowledge to enrich local knowledge as necessary. By facilitating Member States to raise and answer questions pertaining to their general education system themselves, this Framework acknowledges and respects local knowledge. It assumes the existence of sufficient within-country expertise and experience to identify challenges as well as to design and implement responsive interventions. At the same time, the Framework acknowledges the potential contribution of global knowledge(s) but only when it is "grafted to a resilient local root." Such resilience is to come from being well-adapted to the national context.

Developing a "resilient local root" starts with an understanding of the national and sub-national development context of general education systems; including a deep understanding of their political economy. Understanding the development relevance/responsiveness or the expected development impact of an education system is therefore a starting point toward answering the question of what constitutes a quality general education system.

Acknowledging a "resilient local root" or contextual development relevance means acknowledging that quality education is necessarily contextual. The context has geographic, time and client dimensions. Conditions differ across countries and also over time. Stakeholder expectations of education systems may also vary. Accepting this contextual nature impels the humility of "technical assistance providers" to let the context define its quality; AND once defined, to support the necessary efforts to reach and sustain that contextualized quality. At the same time, accepting the contextual nature of quality entails the recognition of not only the immediate context; but also national, regional and global contexts. Thus regional and global standards do still serve as critical points of reference.

This Framework adopts a comprehensive and systemic approach to education and acknowledges the reality that accountability to deliver quality education and to effectively facilitate learning lies at all levels and in all aspects of a general education system. Fragmentation of sub-systems of general education quality has often led to inherently inconsistent and sometimes contradictory policies, strategies and programs. It has also, often, led to uneven and imbalanced improvements of sub-systems of general education quality. For instance curricula reforms have not always taken into account the books and instructional materials, teachers, teaching processes and assessment methods required to give them effect. Changes in student curricula have not always taken into account the teaching and learning environments within which such curricula are to be delivered, or teachers who are supposed to implement such curricula. Conversely, changes to the physical teaching and learning environments have not always taken the demands of diverse curricula into account or even taken into account teachers’ and learners’ needs that have to be met within such environments. What often is referred to as a system actually does not pass as "system", but rather comes out as loosely coupled sub-systems and elements of general education.

To assure fidelity to a systemic approach, this Framework is comprehensive in its analysis/diagnostics but is targeted in the interventions that follow the diagnostics/analysis. Metaphorically, it compels the builder of a quality general education system to shake each pillar that supports system quality and then allows the builder to focus the repairs on pillars that rattle the most and specifically those whose rattle threatens to collapse the system if not repaired. However, while repairing the weak pillars, the builder stays cognizant of the impact of their strength on existing previously strong pillars and may have to iteratively adjust the strength of both the old and new pillars. In other words, the builder safeguards the integrity of the system and remains loyal to the systemic approach by ensuring balanced strength of all pillars, with the weights of the balance determined by the specificities of the system’s needs and priorities.

Book navigation