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Re-interpreting relevant learning: an evaluative framework for secondary education in a global language

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-407
Number of pages16
JournalComparative Education
Issue number3
Early online date12 Jul 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 29 Apr 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jul 2016
DatePublished (current) - Aug 2016


The 2030 education goal privileges ‘relevant learning outcomes’ as the evaluative space for quality improvement. Whilst the goal was designed for global level monitoring, its influence cuts across different scales. Implementation of the goal involves reinterpreting ‘relevant learning’ at the local level. One way that small scale projects engage in the creative work of reinterpretation is through the design of their evaluative frameworks. We illustrate this with the example of an innovation in Tanzania that aimed to improve language and subject learning amongst lower secondary school students making the transition from using an African language, Kiswahili, to using a global language, English, as the language of instruction. The project developed a framework for evaluating learning processes and outcomes that was grounded in socio-cultural theories of learning. The framework was founded on an understanding of subject learning consistent with the purpose of sustainable development. Sustainable development is understood here as a process of social learning engaged through local responses to issues that have global reach. We conclude that implementing the 2030 education goals as part of a broader ambition towards sustainable development, demands reinterpretation of its targets in a way that makes explicit our underpinning theories of learning.

Additional information

Angeline M. Barrett is a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Bristol, UK. For the last 15 years, she has conducted a range of research on the quality of basic education in sub-Saharan Africa. This includes work on teacher professionalism, pedagogic practices, social justice conceptualisations of quality and the development of innovative bilingual learning materials.

    Research areas

  • Education, Sustainable Development, learning outcomes

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