Philip Abrami, professor of education in the Faculty of Arts and Science, stresses that along with food and water, shelter, health and well-being, personal safety and peace, education is an international imperative.
“Around the globe, in the least developed countries, one quarter of young men and one third of young women aged 15 to 24 are illiterate. Reading, writing, numeracy and inquiry skills are essential building blocks for personal achievement and the success of a society.”
‘Our goal is to transform teaching’
He notes that although technology has substantially enhanced teaching and learning, it's not a magic elixir that can cure all learning-related ills.
“To date, the scale of educational improvements using technology has been modest, particularly in the developing world,” he explains.
“There have been mixed results when new technologies meet the realities of the diverse and changing classroom contexts of schools, especially when there is an inadequate focus on pedagogical transformation. This desperately needs to change, especially in places like Africa, where help is most needed.”
The project will include two research streams. The first is an examination of the impact of existing educational tools — such as the CSLP’s full suite of programs that cover basics like math and literacy but also develop soft skills such as communication, goal setting and critical thinking.
The second will be an experimental study to better understand the scalability and sustainability of educational technology for use in developing countries.
“Our partnership is fully committed to realizing change and positively affecting education in the developing world,” Abrami says. “Our goal is to transform and improve teaching and dramatically raise the levels of student learning.”
Partner institutions and organizations include: African Storybook, Aga Khan Academies, Aga Khan Foundation Canada, Aga Khan Foundation East Africa, Camara Education, English Montreal School Board, I Choose Life, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, ICT4E Kenya, University of British Columbia, UQAM, World Vision Canada, World Vision Kenya, Wilfrid Laurier University, Vanier College, University of Nairobi, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and dozens of individual schools.