A delegation of 15 representatives from Kenya Education Ministry, Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa, Kenya Teachers Service Commission and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development visited Shanghai from March 13th to 17th, 2017. The delegation listened to lectures at Shanghai Normal University, had 8 round table discussions with experts and visited 5 primary and secondary schools during the 5-day-trip funded by the Government of Kenya and the World Bank. The Kenya representatives described the trip as extremely rich, rewarding and highly relevant to the education reform in Kenya.
At the welcome ceremony on 13th, officials from Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and Zhu Ziqiang, President of Shanghai Normal University, expressed their warm welcome to the Kenya Education Delegation. Salome Gichura, Commissioner of the Kenya Teachers Service Commission, shared the challenges of education in Kenya and confirmed the standing commitment of the Kenya Government to the equity and excellence in basic education. With support from the World Bank and other partners, the Kenya Government is planning a number of reforms in basic education including curriculum review, teacher support and management systems.
The visit program around five topics, i.e., System and Regulation of Teacher Education in Shanghai, Teacher Professional Education and Development, Shanghai School Curriculum Reform, Exploration and Practice in Science Education, Special Education in Shanghai, is the result of a very careful consideration of the purpose and specific needs of the delegation by the project team from the Research Institute for International and Comparative Education of Shanghai Normal University. Jia Wei, Deputy Director General of Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, gave a report on the topic of Comprehensive Reform of Curriculum, Teaching and Evaluation: the Shanghai Experience. Yao Qi, Director of the Education Bureau of Changning District joined in the round table discussion. And the Shanghai Teachers' Training Center, the Minhang Teachers' Continuous Education Institute and the Institute for Education of Shanghai Normal University made contributions by sending their experts to give reports and to have in depth discussions with the Delegation members.
Shanghai Qiuzhi Primary School, Shanghai Minhang Experiment School, Shanghai Experiment School, Shanghai Jincai Experiment School, and Luwan Special School affiliated to East China Normal University championed the image of the basic education in Shanghai by leaving a deep impression on the Kenya Education Delegation.
At the closing ceremony, representative of the Kenya Education Ministry said that the visit allowed them to experience first-hand that Shanghai teachers are highly motivated and self-driven and schools exercise greater autonomy in curriculum implementation and TPD. Shanghai has developed mechanisms to ensure teacher professional development, performance appraisal and rewards. They conclude that teachers is the second most important factor in the development of students only after parents and that there is a strong need of reforms in teachers' education, pre-job training and teachers' qualification in Kenya.
Ruth Charo, senior Education Specialist of World Bank who had accompanied the Kenya delegation, said the program was rewarding because the delegation from Kenya learnt much from Shanghai about the teacher development, the education policy making, the school infrastructure construction and so on.
The director of Research Institute for International and Comparative Education Zhang Minxuan emphasized that the Kenya visit to Shanghai was very significant and marked the beginning of the China-Africa Cooperation in teacher education facilitated by the World Bank.
In May 2016, Shanghai Normal University and the World Bank co-sponsored the highly influential Global Conference on Equity and Excellence in Basic Education, which was attended by more than 130 participants of education officials from more than 30 countries and representatives from the World Bank. Weng Tiehui, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, and several deputy Directors General of the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission shared their knowledge, expertise, and reflections on the development of education in Shanghai. As a result of the success of that conference, the United States, UK and Malaysia sent their officials from the Education Ministry to Shanghai for a further understanding of the Shanghai experience in the development of education. The Kenya Education Delegation is the first from Africa after that conference. The coordinator of the Global Conference on Equity and Excellence in Basic Education, Dr.Liang Xiaoyan said she hope both sides will pursue long term partnership on math and teacher education. Real results and impact will only come by after sustained long term commitment to the cause and hard work. Facilitating south to south partnership is part and parcel of the World Bank strategy for achieving the twin goals of poverty alleviation and shared prosperity.
(Story and Photograph: Research Institute for International and Comparative Education, Shanghai Normal University)