Manuals, Toolkits and Guidance

Working for Change in Education: A handbook for planning advocacy

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Save the Children UK

Change in education is continually needed because the world is changing. The purpose of education is to prepare children and young people to take their place as active citizens. To do this, it must develop the potential of children, encouraging them to think and reflect so that they can deal with situations that school could not have envisaged. It must also maintain a dynamic relationship between school and the society around it. For this, education systems need constantly to adapt to changes in society, and the process of educational change should draw on the perceptions of people in the whole society, not just those of government officials, politicians, and professionals. Many groups in society need to be active in pressing for the kinds of changes which their own life experience tells them are necessary.

The handbook is a practical guide on how to do advocacy on education. It does not deal with the content of education, its policies or practice, but sets out a way of approaching advocacy work, whatever educational issue you are seeking to raise. Our experience makes it clear that non-governmental and other groups can have a greater influence on the direction of educational change if they have a well-thought-out advocacy strategy; in other words, if they are clear from the beginning about what they are trying to achieve, if they consciously direct their activities towards that aim, and continually review what they are doing in the light of a changing situation.

We describe this as a “planned but responsive process”. The handbook gives you a framework for planning to work in this way. It takes you through a logical set of questions about the task, and presents tools, or exercises, to help you clarify what you aim to achieve and how to go about it. It gives examples of the experiences of a variety of organisations, with their conclusions about what works well and what problems can arise. Many of these approaches apply to advocacy work in any area, but they are illustrated here by examples from work on education.


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