Delivering transformation at scale is quicker if led by strong political leadership. The Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation, known as EdoBEST, is an impressive illustration of this. EdoBEST is a programme designed and led by the Edo State Governor who is radically transforming the public education system within his State.

In April 2018, Edo State launched a programme to retrain and support all 15,000 government teachers—novice and experienced. This was in order to transform the learning outcomes for the 300,000 children across 1,500 public primary and junior secondary schools in Edo State.

Through a new teaching philosophy focused of the ‘big four’ teaching skills and associated teaching techniques, Edo’s government teachers are returning to the classroom inspired and equipped with new knowledge and skills. They are already improving learning for their pupils.

Boosting the capacity of teachers

Instead of taking part in slow pilots and trials over many years, EdoBEST boosted education capacity in the State in a single stroke. During April and May 2018 over 6,000 government teachers and more than 800 headteachers were trained as EdoBEST teachers across five, ten-day training sessions. Exactly a year later an additional 6,000 government teachers and 600 headteachers are being added to the EdoBEST programme.

In EdoBEST, all government teachers have been taught the big four teaching skills so that they can deliver the most effective lessons in the classroom.

This approach prioritises:

  1. Using the teacher guide: enhancing lesson delivery and teacher-pupil interaction;
  2. Checking on every child’s learning: helping those who are struggling with one-to-one guidance;
  3. Responding with feedback that accelerates learning; and,
  4. Motivating children towards good behaviours and academic effort.

Streamlining administration

All headteachers are given additional training to enhance the management of their schools and cultivate a mindset geared towards excellence of both teacher and pupil. Much of the traditional administrative ‘burden’ associated with managing a school is streamlined through the use of technology, giving more time to monitor classrooms and develop good relationships with parents/guardians and the wider community in which they work.

Across-grade ability grouping

In additions all schools in the EdoBEST programme are using a school-wide pupil placement approach known as across-grade ability grouping; which sees pupils grouped according to their ability and not their age, in order to strengthen their literacy and mathematics skills. This seems like an ‘obvious’ approach but it rarely happens.

An exemplar of public education transformation in Africa

The EdoBEST programme is enabling the government to improve learning outcomes quickly and at scale using existing government teachers and headteachers. We’re very proud of the learning gains made so far in Edo State. We’re excited to watch EdoBEST grow into an exemplar of public education transformation in Africa.

EdoBEST celebrated its 1st anniversary in April 2019, having trained 8.700 teachers and much more.