We got our feedback on our first policy briefs today. The professor’s comments were specific, and some said they were very meticulous. But I understand the reasoning and rationale behind that. It’s because these policy briefs are meant to be thought of as real life policy briefs that get presented to policy makers. So if a policy maker receives a policy brief with formatting issues, or with typos or anything unclear in the writing or structure of the brief, then they automatically disregard it. This is coming from the fact that they don’t have much time and usually look for something specific, straightforward and neat to read. So this whole exercise and experience of writing the brief and getting this kind of feedback was very beneficial for me as an individual. The discussion we had after we read the feedback was also eye opening because there were certain things in the instructions that we missed, maybe because we didn’t read it clearly or because we didn’t give it the importance it needed, so going over the instructions again and looking at warning signs is a good practice for the next time around we submit our policy briefs. We are to do this 3 times during the semester, the last being a synthesis of all briefs together so it would be a holistic document that is revised and critically thought of and presented. There might have been a negative atmosphere in class, simply because a few of my classmates started being defensive about the professor’s feedback. Maybe if we internalize the idea that this feedback is critical and meticulous for a good reason, then I don’t think anyone would have an issue with the kind of feedback that was given to all of us. It was pretty constructive in the way it was phrased and the suggestions for improvement he gave each group were quite substantive.
Our policy brief was on the professionalization of teachers and how that leads to success in the educational system and consequently the economy of the country. We used Japan, Finland and Singapore as three case studies that implemented teacher professionalization and it lead to amazing results in the quality of their education. The brief ideally, as explained by our professor, needs to have an issue, research, implications and recommendations. In our issue section we explained the problem with teacher status and education in Egypt. In our research section we outlined out case studies and their success. In the implications portion we highlighted a few possible outcomes, based on the research, that could take place if Egypt professionalized teachers. Finally in our recommendations section we outlined a few points that we recommend the ministry of education does in order to reach a successful model of teacher professionalization in order to reach higher quality education. In order to not make this lengthy I will just include our recommendations and they will hopefully help make the rest of the research inferable 🙂
- For education to be of good quality, the first cost effective step is for teachers to possess professional and pedagogical skills as well as adequate subject knowledge, which can be ensured through teacher certification. This will enable teachers to deal efficiently with other problematic elements associated with the educational system in Egypt. Hence, this will gradually lead to the improvement and achievement of quality education.
- Continuous, well-planned and advanced teacher development should be provided to teachers through in-service trainings and research opportunities, which will aid in the professionalization of teachers, as well as their lifelong learning.
- A policy must be implemented to increase Egyptian teachers’ pay at the beginning of teacher’s careers, with an annual increase to match their newly and yearly acquired skills and experience.
- Teacher unions in Egypt should be established and their activities for the professionalization of teachers must be encouraged as well as shared by the Ministry of Education.
- After adequate training, certification and professional development of teachers has been established, autonomy should be given to teachers to practice decision-making, participate in the educational policy planning and provide input on curriculum development regardless of the government in power in Egypt10. This however should not occur unless teachers acquire the proper knowledge and therefore become ready for such a responsibility.
Gotta go work on my assignment for the other class, which is a synthesis report of our reflection paper on the readings we’ve done in class so far.