Monday, September 27, 2010

A day at the office

After the "roof of the world" a day in the office is a bit of a let down. This is where the work gets hard. It is one thing to be a witness to greatness and it is a whole 'nother thing to try and reproduce it.

The great learning of the past several days is that a systems wide approach ( SWAP) where all stakeholders have a voice and there is a sustained and sustainable commitment is one path to educational reform. (I secretly think it also requires several impassable mountain ranges to keep the rest of the bureaucratic world at bay so the team can get down to business.) However, there is a shortage of isolation in the capitol city and the force of the former Soviet System which made bureaucracy a religion is ever present.

In khorog, it was very clear that listening was an integral part of the process and as a result the end product was a comfortable compromise. Here, in the midst of the fray there isn't as much attention paid to building a consensus and that is true across the board. Educational reform efforts have been going on here since the fall in the mid 90's and much of those reforms are the same and yet from a systems approach they haven't stuck. Rather successful implementation seems to rely on the charisma and dedication of certain sets of trainers or small programs rather than a unified approach. One of the biggest disconnect rests in how teachers are trained.

Our team spent a morning mapping out the strategy for the next few days which consist of meetings and preparation for trainings and consultations. As we talked, i kept thinking that we needed to take a breath and step back from this and think about what it is that we are trying to accomplish long term and how will that be received or not. Even in my own country which has resources beyond measure the educational reform movement has predictably lurched from idea to policy to test to restructuring to various forms of certification like a drunken sailor. The end result has not been particularly successful so why duplicate it elsewhere?

1 comment:

  1. Eggs-Act-ly! The biggest challenge? Determining what IS/HAS worked and is preciously unique within the system...and preserving it. So, So Special. Then....How to reinforce the +++++ while providing resources/structure to animate a sustainable infrastructure evolution. But...the inevitable?....Bill Gates donates 10,000 lap tops to the Tajiks. Who doesn't want to testify that the "information highway" was an evolutionary step forward. But in's also given birth to horrendous levels of corruption, stupidity, misinformation and mediocrity as never witnessed on this globe before. (But I wax too cynical). Hands on....radiate your "magic" with all you touch....Believe me when I say....Memory is the future's most effective sculptor.