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VVOB tested the feasibility of a new tool created by the Brookings Institution and Education International. This ‘Breadth of Learning Opportunities’ tool measures the learning opportunities students are exposed to.

21st century skills

Students across age groups are missing out on critical learning opportunities that prepare them for the complex challenges of today. These learning opportunities go farther than just literacy and numeracy. They also include competences such as collaboration, problem solving, empathy, and creativity – skills that transform our children into their “better selves”. Governments have recognised the importance of this ‘breadth of skills’, and nearly 80 per cent of countries have included them in their education policies.

The Brookings Institution seeks to identify how exactly national governments aim to equip students with these crucial skills in their education goals and policies, and has taken VVOB on board its mapping efforts.

Targeted interventions

The Brookings Institution and Education International developed the ‘Breadth of Learning Opportunities’ tool. Education authorities worldwide can use this tool to measure the learning opportunities their learners are exposed to in schools, policies, and curricula worldwide. The Brookings Institution commissioned VVOB to test the feasibility of this tool in Zambia.

In the feasibility testing of the Breadth of Learning Opportunities tool, VVOB Zambia and a Zambian government representative organised workshops with teachers from relevant grades, standards officers from district/provincial level, and senior government officials. The participants completed the tool and were asked to comment on its clarity, design, and usefulness.

Based on their feedback, VVOB Zambia formed recommendations for the Brookings Institution to consider before upscaling their tool. When definitive, the Breadth of Learning Opportunities tools will provide national governments with the ability to examine their education systems and target interventions toward certain learning domains or levels of the system, to eventually include the necessary breadth of skills. This will contribute to the relevance and quality of a 21st century education.