GEMS Education Solutions CEO Chris Kirk education reform in both developed and developing countries.

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Transcript — We do have a real crisis in education. In the developing world, in Africa and Asia, we still have so many children out of school. Often the figure that is cited is around 140 million children, some people are saying as high as 250 million children who do not have access to a school place. But actually there’s also a question what do we do once of those children are in school? Because many of them are in a class where the teacher is not qualified or indeed where the teacher is completely absent from that class.
In the developed world the issue is equally strong because we’re spending 12 years of a child’s education and they are leaving school and they don’t have the skills that employers and society say that they need them to have. And we have mass youth unemployment. We have a lot of a graduate unemployment. And at the same time we had a real gap between the skills that are required and what it is that those young people are able to do.

I think it’s really important that we look at the data, we look at the evidence of what works when we’re looking at how to do you make every school a great school. For example, here in GEMS Education Solutions we’ve developed a methodology for supporting schools in improvement. And at the heart of that is an understanding of how you make a school better. First of all it’s about educational excellence. We need to look at the quality of leadership, quality of teaching, the curriculum. Very importantly how a teacher’s empowered to plan, assess, develop their practice and be the lead people for taking the profession forwards. And by doing that we find that standards can rise much more quickly. But equally important, how do we engage the parents? This is a key part of educational effectiveness. We know that children with engaged parents improve in their educational quality much more quickly than those with parents who were disengaged in education.

The other side of the coin into education effectiveness is operational effectiveness. And this is something that we in educations have only recently become much better at. This is about how do we efficiently deploy the resources that we have. It’s also about how do we introduce the right processes in our schools. Businesses will look in detail at their processes, what is it that we do from top to bottom to deliver the right result. In schools, often it can be more intuitive. However, by analyzing the key processes in a school and actually making sure that each of them is being delivered in the most efficient way by the right people using the right technology, we can actually help to use our money better. And this is the point around financial effectiveness because if we are delivering high quality education and we’re doing it in a way which is operationally effective, then we’re making the best use of our resources.

It’s also very important to make sure that all of the stakeholders are really engaged in the work you’re doing. So what is it that the parents think, what do the teachers think, what do the students think. How does it all come together to make sure that we have a school that’s going to continue to improve, be critical of itself and do the very best it can for its community.
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