Concordia Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance Receives UNESCO Prize
Centre Receives Over $3 Million in Grants
The Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance received the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize in September for their outstanding work in Kenya.
“We were thrilled to bits,” said CSLP manager Anne Wade. “We feel it’s a very important project, and it feels nice to be recognized.”
The CSLP joined with Aga Khan Academies in Kenya to aid in the teaching and learning process of schools. The center created a software called the Learning Toolkit+, also known as the LTK+. The software is designed to enhance the development of both teachers and students. It’s a software built with five interactive and bilingual tools that enhance learning. They used this technology in the schools with the aid of Aga Khan Academies.
The project was executed with the help of the CSLP’s main partner Aga Khan Academies, whose schools served as a “hub” to the Canadian professors involved in the CSLP while in Kenya.
The Aga Khan Academies is an organization with schools in several parts of the world, including Kenya. A big component of their mission, according to Wade, is to work with the community.
“They bring in teachers constantly to provide them with professional development,” she explained. “Through those relationships that have already been established between the Aga Khan Academies and the community-based schools, we were able to start implementing our project.”
The Aga Khan Academies also has relations with the Ministry of Education in Kenya, which facilitated communication for the CSLP.
“We would have our local people from the academy communicate with the ministry, and the doors would already be open because the relationship had already been nurtured,” Wade said.
The tools are also evidence-proven, which, according to Wade, allows the CSLP to reassess their work, and reinstate the new and updated version. This means that the performance of students and teachers is analyzed repeatedly in order to keep the tools up-to-date with improvements, and changes.
“If we don’t see great gains, then we know there are some gaps in the tools, so we go back and readapt it,” Wade said.
The improvement in the literacy of kids in Kenya has shown improvement in other subject areas as well.
“We hear those stories of children who have gone from the bottom of their class to the top, or that the class average improved,” she added.
In fact, the positive impacts exceeded the education system in Kenya. Because the LTK+ is a technological device and thus requires electricity, the government of Kenya got involved and now provides electricity and internet permanently even to remote areas.
CSLP’s concern now is to increase in scale, and reach sustainability. They plan to expand their LTK+ system into other areas of Kenya, and French areas in Africa.
CSLP has received grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the International Development Research Center, whose grants add up to almost $3.5 million. With the additional help, they are now looking for ways to successfully reach sustainability and scalability.
Concordia students can get involved through assisting in data entry, data cleanup, and data analysis in Canada, but have yet to be able to go to Kenya due to the previous limited grants.
“We have this partnership grant that we just started, and a huge component of that grant is the training of highly qualified people, hence students. They will absolutely be travelling to Kenya with us,” Wade said.