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Strengthening innovation in secondary education

Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, hosted a forum of the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) June 21-23, 2016. GESCI participated in the forum, which was also attende by PSIPSE grantees coming from countries across Eastern, Central and Western Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda) and from India.
PSIPSE is a multi-donor collaborative initiative, which aims to accelerate innovation in secondary education programming, research, and development in selected countries. It is led by a group of private donors and donor advisors including The MasterCard Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Intel Foundation, Echidna Giving, Dubai Cares, and an anonymous donor. The donor collaborative is funding more than 40 projects that support better access and teaching and learning outcomes for students at the secondary level. The theme of the convening was - Impactful Learning and Sharing.  This theme was guided by the following objectives:  
  1. Peer Learning: Reflect on experiences to-date; share information, results, and learnings on innovation in secondary education in East Africa; and explore possible solutions for addressing challenges and constraints in this space.
  2. Networking: Strengthen connections among grantees; identify areas of collaboration among education organizations in East Africa; and support peer-to-peer networking, particularly across key thematic areas.
  3. Technical Support: Provide organizations with targeted support and assistance around technical areas such as scale-up, communications, and monitoring and evaluation.
  4. Policy Maker Engagement: Build relationships with key actors and stakeholders in the secondary education space in East Africa and explore approaches and opportunities for successful policy engagement.
During the first day, the grantee organizations familiarized themselves with each other’s work, identified potential areas for collaboration, learned from each other’s experiences, and interacted around self-selected topics. The second day of the convening was dedicated to technical capacity building workshops. Mathematica made a presentation on their Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) work with PSIPSE and offered a one-on-one MEL coaching for grantees. Well Told Story and TEP Centre were running two parallel full-day sessions on communications and scaling-up, respectively.  The third day included policy makers and a sharing of their vision, aspiration, policy priorities and common regional challenges in East Africa to achieving sustainable goal 4, in particular SDG 4.1: “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes”. This session, which generated dialogue about the work of PSISPE grantees among policy makers, created an opportunity for policy makers, grantees, and stakeholders in the secondary education space in East Africa to build relationships and to develop multi-stakeholder engagement in achieving SDG 4.1.  The convening was characterized by a lot of sharing of authentic experiences, challenges, solutions and mitigation strategies between policy makers, students and practicing teachers.  It was a meeting like no other, rich in content, experiences, networking opportunities, and a very good ambience at the shores of the Indian Ocean.

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