2.4 Collaborate with Schools and Ministries of Education (MoEs) to Identify How YEO Programs Can Enrich Education through Economic Skill-Building

Schools provide an ideal venue for reaching large numbers of young people. YEO programs can build on existing structures to support and promote youth economic opportunities. Many organizations work to transform classroom learning from antiquated pedagogical models to dynamic learning opportunities that will be relevant to their future employability.

For example, FHI 360, with support from implementing partners (CHF International, Development Innovations Group, and Making Cents International), worked with the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) at the request of the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) on the Expanded and Sustained Access to Financial Services (ESAF) program. ESAF is a multi-faceted three-year USAID-funded initiative to build a more inclusive financial sector for Palestinian households and enterprises. Box 8.2.1 explains the process FHI 360 and Making Cents took to create new and strengthen existing financial literacy content for the Palestinian public school system.

Those models may operate at the school, district, or regional levels and may have modest beginnings. The Academy of Entrepreneurship at Buchholz High School, highlighted in Box 2.4.1, began as three sequential entrepreneurship courses. An additional opportunity for learning presented itself when the school added a retail space during renovation. The Academy then added a fourth course to the program, Retail Essentials, and used the school’s retail space as a laboratory. Students learned how to build a new business: choosing a name and logo, programming the point of sale (POS) system, creating forms, and designing and ordering merchandise. The retail experience enriched student learning by adding a real-world component to school curricula.

2.4.1 Bright Ideas: Growing an Entrepreneurship Education Program

In the U.S., the Academy of Entrepreneurship at Buchholz High School, an entrepreneurship education magnet program of over 200 students based in a public high school in Florida, grew from a traditional business law class to a comprehensive four-year entrepreneurship education program complete with a 1,200 square foot school store selling school merchandise. The Academy attracts students interested in entrepreneurship, marketing, and business management. The students work on project-based teams; and the curriculum develops leadership skills, supports innovation and good citizenship, and promotes high ethical standards and civic consciousness to prepare students for higher education and eventual entrepreneurial careers in a wide variety of fields.

The school partners with specialized organizations such as Junior Achievement (www.ja.org) and DECA

(www.deca.org) to provide students with employability and entrepreneurial learning content while connecting them to the local community and national business competitions. Students learn leadership through a corporate decision-making model as they manage the school store’s café and retail apparel shop, participate in entrepreneurship competitions, develop community service and financial literacy projects, intern at local companies, and lead school activities. Strong partnerships within and outside the school lead to a high quality entrepreneurship education. This model has become recognized throughout the United States as one to emulate when developing school-based entrepreneurship programs.1

For more information, see https://sites.google.com/ site/academyofentrepreneurship.

 

 

Collaboration with Ministries of Education (MoE) and other levels of government allow YEO practitioners to influence policy, add YEO components to curriculum, and contribute to overall improvement in educational quality. In Box 2.4.2 and 2.4.3, Aflatoun, a global network for child social and financial education, describes how they and their partners work with governments, specifically MoEs, around the world. The diversity of approaches illustrate that there is no “one size fits all” approach to government collaboration.

2.4.2 Noteworthy Results: Aflatoun and Partners Find Success and Challenges with MoEs

Aflatoun’s partners describe different approaches to working with MoEs and the successes and challenges that resulted. Successes included:

  • In Peru, Plan International achieved strong collaboration with the Piura Department of Education, which led to the Aflatoun program being integrated into the region’s education strategy in order to improve entrepreneurship, communication and mathematical skills. After the pilot started in 2008 and reached 1,500 children, the program now reaches 14,000 children through 600 trained teachers in 80 schools. For more information, see: http://plan-international.org/where-we-work/ americas/peru.
  • In Egypt, Aflatoun’s local partner, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) (www.nccm-egypt.org) is a governmental body, which helped engage Egypt’s MoE from the beginning. MoE staff directly contextualized the content and developed a team of technical support that designed the first Arabic version of the materials. The program is implemented in eight districts and reaches more than 26,000 children.
  • In Honduras, Aflatoun clubs take place within the structure of the school government, providing children with innovative tools and activities such as savings and organizing school enterprises. This has revitalized school governments since they did not used to offer significant tasks to the students, which minimized their enthusiasm and involvement. The program is implemented by four partner organizations: Plan international, CARE, Ayuda en Acción and ChildFund. In total, all partners are reaching 23 schools and more than 2,500 children. ChildFund in itself has 10 schools with 800 children in its first pilot year.
  • For more information, see: www.childfund.org/ honduras.

Aflatoun partners have also faced the following challenges:

  • Replicating and sharing successful regional strategies with the central MoE. For example, Plan Peru has been successful in the Piura region but the strategy has not been shared formally with the central MoE. This is largely due to the fact that Departments of Education in Peru are decentralized, and there is significant geographic distance between many regions and the capital city, Lima, where the MoE is located. Also, central governments have higher staff rotation than   Departments of Education, which makes it easier for local partners to coordinate and advocate locally. More opportunities arise at the local level, the staff size of the departments is smaller, and there is typically less bureaucracy. This explains why it is often difficult to coordinate local initiatives with the Ministry.
  • Navigating political changes and turnover. In Egypt, the political situation disrupted the education system and also affected the Aflatoun program in 2011. In Guatemala, the Minister of Education, who had already approved Aflatoun’s content in the curriculum, left the position, which undid the advocacy advances Aflatoun had made.
  • Providing teachers support and follow up to ensure high quality implementation. NGO partners that implement the Aflatoun program do not hire more staff to do so, and they typically need more people to coordinate extra trainings with teachers and follow up. Resources and time limitations present big challenges to implementers.
  • Linking large-scale programs to child friendly banking. Programs that have been successful in linking to child friendly savings accounts are the ones in locations where the banking system allows children to manage their own saving accounts. Uganda, Ecuador, and Guatemala are examples, but these countries’ regulations still require an adult to go with a child to open the child’s bank account. In the effort of seeking partnerships with local banks, it is very important to have NGO buy-in regarding the importance of having child savings accounts and allowing children the freedom to manage them.
  • Recognizing not all MoEs are interested in change. Ministries of Education are often the most difficult and inflexible government ministries in terms of making significant and long-term change. Acts of Congress or other legal processes may be necessary to impact curricula, for example.

For more information, see: www.aflatoun.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From their successes and challenges in bringing child-centered financial education to schools and young people, Aflatoun and its partners have learned certain strategies that seem to work in engaging governments. While Aflatoun acknowledges that there is no “one size fits all” approach to working with MoEs, Box 2.4.3 details certain strategies that have led to success in engaging governments.

2.4.3 Practical Tips: Aflatoun and PEDN Advise on How to Engage Governments

In Uganda, the Private Education Development Network (PEDN), a non-profit organization that promotes youth empowerment through the establishment of entrepreneurial, financial, and business skills programs in primary and secondary schools, partners with Aflatoun to promote childfriendly banking. They advise the following:

  • Identify local curriculum gaps where the Aflatoun program can add value. Identify the government’s education policy priorities so that you can devise a tailor-made elevator pitch for the Ministry of Education.
  • All advocacy is local. While the Aflatoun network can lend international credibility, advocacy to the MoE comes from in-country partners who already have long-standing relationships with MoEs at the district and regional level. Partners talk about Aflatoun as a methodology which can be adapted to suit local circumstances.
  • You need proof of concept. Give ministries something they can visit and see. PEDN, for example, asks local officials to inaugurate opening ceremonies and participate in events. PEDN identifies champion schools and head teachers who can demonstrate that the methodology is both fun and rewarding.
  • Approach ministries rather than schools: PEDN used to begin working with schools and then approach the MOE; now they find that approaching the MOE first is more effective.

For more information, see www.pedn.org.