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Case Studies

United Arab Emirates

The UAE ministry approached the Education Reform team to partner on their Bridge to Success project, which aimed to improve students’ English to reach CEFR B2 level by Grade 12, in line with the UAE Vision National Agenda 2021.

This involved both contextualising existing Cambridge content and creating new resources that reflected the most up-to-date approaches and embedded core 21st century competencies into the learning of English as a second language. 

We piloted materials and assessed the use of these resources. Based on this research, we then:

  • Adapted eight grades, including textbooks, workbooks and teacher’s guides
  • Custom published for Grades 1, 10 and 11
  • Collaborated with the Ministry team to write and produce a textbook, teacher’s book and workbook for Grade 12 

The Ministry also identified a need for professional development training to help teachers adopt more modern teaching methods. To this end, we conducted three in-country training workshops a year, ranging in size from 200 lead teachers to 1,200 attendees. These workshops: 

  • Provided a sustainable training programme for lead teachers, focusing on pedagogy such as using the new learning resources, active learning, and assessment for learning
  • Provided specialised training for Ministry staff and selected teachers in topics such as content and language integrated learning (CLIL), change management, and coaching and mentoring

Since implementing Bridge to Success, we have begun collaborating with the Ministry on a further suite of English resources for the advanced Science and Mathematics programme.

Kazakhstan

The Kazakh government adopted a trilingual policy requiring schools to teach subjects in Kazakh, Russian, and English. NIS, an elite network of schools with no previous experience of publishing, planned to support the new curriculum through writing and publishing trilingual textbooks for five core subjects. We were instrumental in designing a programme of training and remote capacity development support that could:

  • Provide quality assurance in preparation for external approval reviews
  • Manage design and typesetting until NIS was ready to manage these aspects
  • Deliver in-country training workshops in authoring, editing, illustration and design
  • Develop enhanced author and editor manuals
  • Deliver management training for the senior team

In five years, NIS has developed from an organisation with no publishing experience to one with significant capacity and versatile staff able to author, edit and typeset complex, high-quality textbooks.

‘We can highly recommend working with Cambridge, as their enthusiasm and professionalism is matched only by their research and academic excellence.’ 
Director, Center for Educational Programmes
Zhanar Abdildina

Thailand 

In 2016, the Ministry of Education announced plans for a more rigorous approval framework to raise the standard of textbooks available in state schools. We worked with The Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST), an independent organisation under the Ministry, to provide capacity development during this period of curriculum reform. This collaboration grew from IPST’s work with Cambridge International Examinations to review and refine the new curriculum.

This project began with an in-depth needs analysis, interviewing IPST senior management and publishing teams, and a programme of capacity development training was designed based on these findings. Our expert team also:

  • Delivered author training during the writing stages
  • Delivered process training during the production stages
  • Developed subject-specific, research-backed guidelines for creating high-quality textbooks in line with the new approval framework
  • Provided three in-country training workshops that specifically addressed issues identified in the needs analysis 

Maldives

The Ministry of Education created a new national curriculum framework aimed at developing students’ key competencies, such as critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills. To support the implementation, the Ministry partnered with us to develop teaching and learning resources for Key Stages 1 to 5.

Prior to the new framework, schools had used international resources for their teaching, but the Ministry wanted to develop their own resources that were aligned to the curriculum framework and reflected the culture, history, and values of the Maldives. We worked with local authors and the National Institute of Education to produce:

  • Contextualised resources in English, Maths, Science, Social Studies, Creative Arts, ICT, Health, and Physical Education
  • Contextualised resources for Key Stages 3 and 4
  • Brand-new resources for Key Stages 1 and 2 

Oman 

The Ministry of Education wanted to improve the country’s performance in Science and Mathematics – the aim was that students would be taught in Arabic with curriculum materials reflecting the Omani context.

A partnership across Education Reform and other University of Cambridge departments is currently collaborating to deliver a programme of support that helps to achieve these goals.

We are contextualising resources and translating them into Arabic, as well as providing continuing professional development on how to effectively use the resources in the classroom

  • Cambridge Assessment International Education is providing test specifications and sample tests, as well as training the Ministry teams to develop valid and reliable assessments
  • The Faculty of Education is conducting monitoring and evaluation, assessing the impact of resources before and after the reform

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