Using Evidence-Informed Practice in Primary School Improvement in an Under-Achieving School System: A Case Study in Sierra Leone
The Emerald Handbook of Evidence-Informed Practice in Education
ISBN: 978-1-80043-142-3, eISBN: 978-1-80043-141-6
Publication date: 31 January 2022
This chapter draws on the school improvement research of EducAid, a small NGO with schools in Sierra Leone. We review the challenge of school improvement in the context of a low-income country still emerging from the aftermath of civil war, historically low expenditure on education as a per cent of GDP, low levels of trust between people and the government and lack of a reliable evidence base on which to plan school improvement. As predictable consequences of these challenges, the Ministry of Education recognises weaknesses in teacher recruitment and training, resulting in low student attainments. In a critique of adaptations of Hood's (1998) social cohesion/social regulation matrix we argue that it may not provide a coherent framework for understanding the process of school improvement in a low-income country such as Sierra Leone. Specifically, high social cohesion, when focussed on educational improvement, is likely to be necessary for school improvement, but the concept of social regulation is more complex. Although the structure is hierarchical, both at national and local levels, implying high social regulation, lines of accountability seldom work effectively, resulting in low social regulation. The picture is further complicated by evidence that socioeconomic status may be less influential in predicting students' attainments in low-income countries than in those with high and middle incomes. We argue that a professional learning network for head teachers is a necessary starting point for head teachers to stimulate debate on change strategies within their own schools.
Mason, M. and Galloway, D. (2022), "Using Evidence-Informed Practice in Primary School Improvement in an Under-Achieving School System: A Case Study in Sierra Leone", Brown, C. and Malin, J.R. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Evidence-Informed Practice in Education, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 375-388. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-141-620221044
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Copyright © 2022 Miriam Mason and David Galloway. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited