4 the World uses research-based methods when supporting schools in developing countries. Pupil feeding programs, giving instructional materials, and teacher training all show significant gains for student achievement in developing countries. As mentioned in Wealth Does not Equal Achievement, competitive factors separate best practices in developed nations and developing nations.
Pupil feeding programs increase access for children because although parents must still pay for enrollemnt, the burden of feeding the child is shouldered by the school and so the total cost of raising the child (enrollment fee – breakfast and lunch) is reduced. Furthermore, pupil feeding programs offer nutrition that supports brain and motor skill development. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if a child’s basic needs of food, water and shelter are not met, the higher intellectual needs will not be met.
Instructional materials, such as textbooks, computers, visual aids, and manipulatives, can supplement for poor teacher training. With a textbook, an instructor is given an organized framework with proper assessment tools. More importantly, if every child has their own textbook, the child can self-learn. Computers plus the internet increase what a child can learn on her own exponentially and the ability to effectively use technology is a needed global market skill. Visual aids, like diagrams and maps, and manipulatives, like models and geometric puzzles, aid visual and tactile learners who need to see and do rather than hear in order to grasp new concepts.
Years of teacher training also affects student achievement. In some countries governments cannot afford a competitive salary for professionals, so young, unqualified people get the job of teacher while people with a college degree find a decent salary in higher ranked government jobs. In other countries, corruption robs the students of a qualified teacher. Family members of highly ranked government officials are given teaching positions without proper qualification. Regardless of background, teachers around the world benefit from professional development. Summer institutes, collaborative workshops, and professionals conferences build necessary skills and practical applications of educational theories.
4 the world works with local school leaders to build sustainable education development programs, such as food provision for brain development, training for teachers, and school refurbishing with books and computers. Your school can get involved! Check out http://4theworld.org/?page_id=618 for ideas.
Fuller, B. & Heyneman, S. P. (1989). Third WorldSchoolQuality: Current collapse, future potential. Educational Researcher.