Date of Award

5-13-2011

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

First Advisor

David R. Evans

Second Advisor

Ash Hartwell

Third Advisor

Sharon Rallis

Keywords

Access, Education, Learning Achivement, Quality education and EFA goals, Sierra Leone, sub-Saharan Africa

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research

Abstract

The EFA conference in Dakar 2000 ushered in new momentum for ensuring universal access to education and advocacy for improved educational quality in all aspects (UNESCO, 2000). While significant progress has been made in expanding access in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly for girls, efforts to ensure improved educational quality in terms of learning, have not matched the drive for universal educational access. Rather, educational quality in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa has been seriously compromised by rapid expansion given the limited resources.

In many attempts to ensure the delivery of quality education in developing countries, the thrust of delivery strategies has focused on increased allocation of inputs/resources to infrastructure development and supply of textbooks. However, the literature on the effect of such resources on student achievement is rather mixed and inconclusive with many studies noting that resources make little or no difference. While such approaches may be theoretically sound, most fail to focus on microelements at the school or classroom level such as capturing the teaching and learning experiences of both students and teachers and students. In an attempt to fill this gap, a new line of research has emerged which looks more closely at how resources are used by schools to support and improve instruction.

This study follows this trend and examines the extent to which the Rehabilitation of the Basic Education Project (REBEP) in Sierra Leone contributed to improved learning and academic performance of students in five target schools after a series of interventions. Using a case study approach, the study revealed that while REBEP contributed to a significant increase in educational access, particularly for girls, performance in the terminal National Primary School Examination (NPSE) did not improve despite huge investments in the target schools.

The study concludes that, in the context of Sierra Leone, and perhaps in many more countries in sub-Saharan Africa, unless and until critical school-level factors are appropriately and comprehensively addressed by policy makers, educational standards and quality will continue to be eroded particularly in terms of learning and that achievement of critical EFA goals and MDG by 2015 would remain an unfulfilled dream.

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