Female planners share 2017 summer school highlights

21 September 2017

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IIEP-UNESCO

In August, IIEP convened 32 women from 23 countries for a special Summer School course designed to bolster planning capacities and leadership skills in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The course, ‘Policy, Planning, and Leadership for Sustainable Educational Development’, consisted of a two-week online phase followed by a one-week residency at the IIEP headquarters in Paris, France.

From Bhutan, Oman and Kenya, three women reflect on new skills and their readiness to advance the SDG agenda.

New opportunities for career advancement

Tashi Lhamo, a Chief Programme Officer in the Ministry of Education of Bhutan, said the training represented a “feather in my cap in my career.”

“After attending this workshop I have some ideas about how to do planning, how to monitor and how to evaluate. This will really add to my profile. And attending such an international workshop does add to my career.”

What does parity mean?

Lhamo also had feedback on how the programme helped participants to truly understand and interpret indicators. “Not everyone here are statisticians. What does parity mean? Girls divided by boys but what does that figure mean, you know?”

Bushra Al-Busaidi, the Deputy Director of the Studies and Research Department at the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman, said she was able to improve her skills around the use of indicators during the course, including those used in primary and secondary compared to those in higher education.

“The course will help me in planning, how to monitor, and how to evaluate; how to have a discussion, how to lead a group, and to correct mistakes within the group. It is helping me a lot,” she said.

Taking on a stronger role in implementing and monitoring the SDG 4 agenda

Lucy Gaithi, a Senior Economist in Kenya’s Ministry of Devolution and Planning, said that the Summer School helped her to deepen skills in the SDGs’ data requirements.

“I’ve participated in the preparation on the SDG implementation data report, in terms of the progress we have reached so far. One of the things that I look for by doing this course is getting more insight into how to identify the information needs for SDG 4.”

Even during the online phase, Gaithi started to internalize a SDG-centred perspective: “During the online course I interacted with the Ministry of Education and I realized that they actually have a gap because while we generate a lot of statistics, they are not actually meeting the needs of the SDGs.”

The course material on projection and simulation models were of particular interest to Gaithi. She says that one problem often confronted by countries progressing toward SDG 4 is that they are not able to properly cost an education plan. In its essence, educational planning is about choosing priorities, and of course, as Gaithi said, “you need to cost those priorities.”

On the latter, she added, “[The simulation process] is amazing, it’s something that I’m really taking home”.

Interviews conducted by Kelsey Sherbondy and Vanessa Argote Ramos.