In another welcome move, the education ministry has introduced the Sherig Endowment Fund with the objective of providing equitable access to quality education to children across the country.
The fund is also being introduced to promote research in both private and government schools, to address challenges related to teaching and learning, school management, and youth issues.
It is no secret that we lack a strong research culture. As individuals, most of our research may have been limited to Google or a physical encyclopedia, during our college days.
Some may have gone further. A few may have undertaken serious in-depth research.
But in general we lack a research culture.
We have seen this demonstrated periodically. At the policy level, the infamous Tobacco Control Act is an example. More research may have allowed for a more gradual and effective strategy.
The re-introduction of Shakespeare in the curriculum, some critics say, has not been thoroughly studied on its possible impact on students whose English fundamentals are not yet strong. This could become a possible research topic for some teachers.
In recent days, our comments being made online are coming under scrutiny. Many arguments easily break down for lack supporting material or evidence and as a result become personal. Many also say that we don’t analyse or research enough and tend to accept information posted online as fact.
Clearly, we need a more research-based culture and the Sherig Endowment Fund will be another effort in this direction.
However, the main purpose of the fund is to enhance the quality of teaching and learning during the initial years of implementation. It will first be available only to teams from schools, both private and government. Eventually, it will open up to individuals like teachers and principals. An initial fund of Nu 10 million.
It is important that it is ensured that grants provided through the fund be used as effectively as possible. For that it is hoped that the ministry will keep a close watch on how research is being conducted, and that all research parameters are met for one to qualify for a grant. We cannot afford to have findings from poorly carried out research to influence policy making. We also cannot also afford to have duplication of research topics.