GCRF Development Award: Languaging in post-conflict zones: Educating for success in Colombia, Lebanon and South Africa

Lead Research Organisation: University of Stirling
Department Name: Education

Abstract

The development award lays the foundations for an international research network which will address an urgent challenge: in Colombia, Lebanon, and South Africa many students do not have access to education in their home language, often leading to educational failure. For students in these post-conflict contexts, accessible, high-quality education is essential to protect against threats to lives and livelihoods. The development award will address this key challenge, establishing a capable, equitable, and sustainable research network which connects academic researchers, non-government organisations, policy-makers, and local stakeholders in Colombia, Lebanon, and South Africa.

The development award will identify complex challenges faced by people in post-conflict zones, and will put in place networks to conduct innovative and original research which addresses those challenges. The development award will examine language in education policy in each of the three national contexts, and will analyse historical interventions in policy and practice. This learning will inform the development of calls for innovative and original research in language education policy and practice in Colombia, Lebanon, and South Africa.

The development award will play a key role in setting the research agenda for the Network Plus. In Beirut, Cape Town, and Medellin Network Assemblies will bring together academic researchers and non-academic partners, government officials, local authorities, non-government organisations, and teachers. A key outcome of each Network Assembly will be identification of challenges, themes, and research questions related to language in education policy, to shape Network Plus activity. Community Meetings in each country context will be co-ordinated and hosted by project partners. The Community Meetings will enable grassroots stakeholders including teachers, lecturers, students, and community groups to set the agenda for the Network Plus. These meetings will address the educational, welfare, and economic needs of minoritized groups who are excluded by ethnicity, gender, language, poverty, race and social class. Following the Community Meetings, a Progress and Advisory Board in each country will take forward the learning from the Network Assembly and the Community Meeting, to synthesise research questions and themes, and to develop processes for commissioning original and innovative research. The Progress and Advisory Board will firm up identified research themes, establish research project commissioning procedures and protocols, and put in place processes for the evaluation of research. A final report will synthesise learning from the development award phase across the three countries.

Working with educators and policy-makers, the development award will put in place capable, equitable, and sustainable partnerships which will underpin the inception of the Network Plus. In Colombia, Lebanon, and South Africa the Network Plus will build on the structures and knowledge generated through the development award, to conduct original, innovative research which will inform language policy for educational success.

Planned Impact

Impact Summary

The primary beneficiaries of the Development Award will be students in all sectors of education in Colombia, Lebanon, and South Africa. The impacts of the award will be achieved through close collaboration between academic researchers, project partners, policy-makers, and local stakeholders. Project partners are well positioned to influence reforms to language policy and practice in education. In this document we set out plans to achieve the impacts of the Development Award.

Universities South Africa (USAf) represents South Africa's public universities to promote an inclusive and equitable national system of higher education. USAf will host and co-ordinate a Community Meeting to engage grassroots stakeholders including teachers, lecturers, students, and community groups in discussions about challenges faced by students in South Africa. In Colombia partners include the Secretary of Education in Medellin, and Organizacion Indigena de Antioquia, which runs programmes and projects for indigenous groups in Antioquia. The Secretary of Education will host and co-ordinate a Community Meeting to consult teachers, lecturers, and students about the challenges of implementing equitable language in education policy. Organizacion Indigena de Antioquia will run a Community Meeting to engage language activists, policy-makers, and local stakeholders in discussions about the development of appropriate language policy which incorporates minority Amerindian and Creole languages. In Lebanon network partners include Ana Aqra Association, which supports literacy learning in Lebanon, and Lebanese Alternative Learning, a non-profit organisation which provides students with high quality education in conflict and post-conflict settings. Both of these organisations will host and co-ordinate Community Meetings to involve refugee support groups and local stakeholders in discussions of the challenges faced by students in Lebanon.

Involvement of these key government and non-government policy-making groups will ensure that the outcomes of the development award will pave the way for the Network Plus to make an impact in enhancing access to, and success in education. Learning from the three national contexts will be co-ordinated in a final report, which will both synthesise the outcomes of the Development Award, and point forward to the launch of the Network Plus. The knowledge generated by the Development Award will inform the commissioning of original and innovative research on language policy and practice in education in Colombia, Lebanon, and South Africa.

The Development Award benefits from considerable experience of successful research impact work. Leading an AHRC Large Grant, Creese collaborated closely with government and NGO partners to ensure that research impacts were sustained, and provided a lasting legacy of change. Blackledge has presented research findings to MPs in the House of Commons, on live BBC TV, on BBC radio, to European commissioners, to city councillors, and to local authority policy-makers. Madiba is Chair of Universities South Africa's Community of Practice for African Languages, and was formerly Chair of the Pan South African Language Board. He has presented several reports in parliament on multilingualism, and has given many radio and TV interviews on multilingualism. Usma Wilches works with teachers and local policy makers to bring about reform in language education.

The impact of the Development Award derives from its robust and cohesive partnerships. Academic researchers will work hand in hand with policy-makers and practitioners to inform and reform language in education policy and practice. These partnerships will put in place the foundations which pave the way for the Network Plus to generate new knowledge about effective language in education policy and practice in Colombia, Lebanon, and South Africa.

Publications

10 25 50