In yet another accolade for Governor Godwin Obaseki’s basic education reforms in Edo State, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has applauded the Edo State Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) initiative which has improved learning outcomes among pupils in primary schools across the state.
According to the forum, “The governor of Edo State is becoming an international symbol of successful public-sector education transformation. Godwin Obaseki has become a trailblazer, quickly and dramatically lifting the quality of government schools and upskilling teachers in his low-income state. He has described his reforms – known as EdoBEST – as a means of boosting the economy and improving people’s life chances. Institutions such as the World Bank and the IFC have been looking at how Obaseki has so effectively reformed state education in only one year.”
The WEF noted that “education experts around the world and across Africa in particular are paying close attention to EdoBEST, and has become a beacon of light to other education ministries because it is improving learning for marginalised children and upskilling both novice and experienced teachers at scale, within existing state budgets and without western aid.”
The Forum said that the changes are happening within the existing system and being spearheaded by existing teachers and school leaders, and hailed the reforms as “a Nigerian solution to a Nigerian problem.”
They added, “The changes have been embraced at a grassroots level, with both teachers and union leaders celebrating the investment in their work. Government teachers are at the heart of the transformation and are being coached in some of the latest instructional and pedagogical approaches.
“The adoption of a new teaching philosophy and associated classroom techniques has left teachers emboldened and empowered in the classroom. They have been through intensive retraining that focuses on developing their teaching techniques and classroom management to create positive learning environments. They are returning to work more motivated, with new resources and knowledge around how to create a more child-centred classroom. They are also returning to the classroom as part of a consistent support network – underpinned by technology – that will see them benefit from ongoing coaching and training as they implement this new approach.”
On the impact of the reforms, the Forum said, “The impact on children’s learning has already been significant, even over a period of only three months. An initial study, commissioned by the state government in the first term of the programme showed learning gains were positive. Pupils learned more, spent more time learning, worked harder and experienced a more positive classroom environment. Girls in EdoBEST schools outperformed all other pupils.”