Education for All

Connecting to the power of people’s personal stories, Education for All (EfA) is a community-based project

  • to inspire community wide active participation to improve education
  • to create a dialogue-based process that builds public involvement in significant community issues, and, 
  • to strengthen community influence on public policy decisions and other avenues of social change.  
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Education for All

Purpose:

Education for All (EfA) is a community project to increase people’s involvement in and contribution to education and to serve as a model for public participation on issues facing our community. The three main goals of the project are to:

  • inspire community wide active participation to improve education,
  • create a dialogue-based process to build public involvement in significant community issues, and,
  • strengthen community influence on public policy decisions and other avenues of social change.

Summary

The EfA process begins with the systematic collection of people’s experiences of schooling in Bermuda and uses the themes that emerge to provide context for community conversations that surface clarity on the meaning of education for Bermuda, as well as foster a sense of collective responsibility for the work of schools in Bermuda. Going forward, dialogues for change will support public engagement with decision-makers around policy development and reform, all the while, strengthening alliances and building/re-building relationships.

Background:

Active and inclusive community involvement is a key factor for success in any educational system. There have been numerous changes to our education system over the years but the quality of education remains a primary concern for many Bermudians – the success or failure of education impacts everyone.

Recent reports and strategies place a high priority on the contribution of parents and the community as forces for effective change in our education system (Hopkins Report 2007; Education Blueprint for Reform 2010). However, there remains little organised, widespread community participation in shaping and defining the education system.

Education for All aims to increase and inspire public participation in education by developing a process that gives voice to peoples’ lived experience; reaching out, in particular, to those not typically heard or included in education planning or decision-making. Through this we will be able to create community dialogue and identify avenues of action to support and improve the education system.

The project starts from the principle that if we are to move forward as a community, we must ask: What are our individual and collective experiences of schooling? What stands out? What do we want for the coming generations?   Gathering multiple stories is a well established research approach that provides insightful information about past events and experiences that can be used to build a bridge for action. Storytelling uniquely promotes a deeper understanding and awareness for teller and listener alike.

The process of this project is very important; Education for All is not starting with pre-defined solutions but will identify and support actions that emerge from sharing, discussing and learning from our experiences.  Below is an outline of the three phase process.

Method:

  1. Storytelling circles and oral history interviews:
    The first step is to collect  stories about peoples’ experiences with education in Bermuda. Once this is started, we will conduct one-on-one interviews to capture more in-depth oral histories.  The project will specifically include approximately 25 parents who went to school in Bermuda and currently have a child in school on island. We will ensure, also, a diverse range of stories are caught from various community members who are not actively engaged with the education system.
  2. Conversation Cafés
    Based on themes and meanings generated through the story collection of phase 1, questions on the topic of education can be discussed in parish-based conversations in which decision-makers are invited to be involved. The aim of these conversations is for the community to learn from the individual experiences what is collectively important and use that knowledge to guide change.  
  3. Dialogues for Change
    In the final phase, the understanding of education in Bermuda developed through the first two phases of the project will point to the key area(s) of education on which to focus and engage the public. Education for All will explore options and advance actions in relation to education and education reform with the aim of influencing policy and effecting positive change in the key area(s).

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