SUMMA – KIX LAC held the second webinar of the Lab-Ed project “Promoting the scalability of educational innovations in Latin America and the Caribbean”, which was co-organized by SUMMA and The Brookings Institution.
During the meeting, the importance of scaling and amplifying educational innovations to transform education systems was reiterated, considering the participation of all parties involved.
Maciel Morales Aceitón, researcher at KIX LAC, welcomed the more than 60 participants (representatives from ministries of education, civil society organizations, universities, teachers’ unions and researchers), explaining that this Webinar is part of the activities of Lab-Ed, SUMMA-KIX LAC’s Innovation in Education laboratory, which seeks to respond to priority issues and educational justice through the identification, support and dissemination of promising educational innovations with high potential impact. In addition, the researcher emphasized that given the regional context in which we work and thinking about promising initiatives that can have a considerable impact on the population, it is essential to reflect and discuss the need to make projects scalable and how to carry them out.
SUMMA’s Director, Javier González, then gave a presentation entitled “Scaling up to include”, in which he emphasized the importance of measuring impact and the need to evaluate the possibilities of replicability and scalability, “One seeks to scale up to amplify the impact, to generate more comprehensive, deeper and more lasting training over time, to institutionalize changes, which may come from different areas. There are two key concepts to achieve a good scaling and they are efficacy and efficiency, in the sense that the transformation we are seeking to generate is accepted at a low transition cost”.
Along the same lines, González explained how the current challenge of education to improve the quality of student learning requires a joint effort by the actors involved: teachers, managers, families and civil society organizations, who must share an approach that amplifies and deepens the impact of any individual action to transform entire educational systems and reach a greater number of students. In this sense, scalability plays a fundamental role where “pilot” projects can achieve greater impact.
Next, Brad Olsen, Senior Fellow at the Center for Universal Education in the Global Economy and Development Program (ROSIE) at The Brookings Institution, gave a presentation on “Lessons for Scaling Innovations in Developing Countries”, stating that when we talk about scaling impact, we are talking about how a promising innovation can be embedded as part of the everyday system and improve the lives of children, families and communities, impacting the whole system and becoming the new normal.
He also listed the fundamental principles of scaling up:
- It is not linear. It can move in several directions, even stop or turn back.
- It is not just about the size of the coverage but must create a lasting impact.
- Scaling must be integrated with systems transformation.
- Context matters. The particular conditions of each context will change and adapt depending on how the innovation is used, so it must be contextualized.
- There is no magic answer. Innovations must be worked on, adapted, evaluated and readapted as the project needs it.
Olsen stressed the importance of including scaling from the beginning of planning so that it is contemplated in the design and development of the innovation, and mainly, it must consider the users: students, parents, teachers and the community in general, so that they are part of the creation process, so that when the time comes to use it and scale it, they can understand it, support it and adopt it in their daily lives.
Subsequently, Rossny Peña, coordinator of the Research Department of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education and member of the Lab Ed follow-up committee, added that “one of the successes of the scaling-up process lies in understanding the social problems in search of solutions, but they must contemplate the co-construction and acceptance of the protagonists in the territory, articulating the needs and solutions through the projects, so that the scaling-up process is truly effective”.
Closing the meeting, Lisa Sargusingh Terrace, Technical Specialist Education Development Management Unit of OECS, thanked the participants and speakers for their active participation and emphasized that “it is very important that when planning an innovation we can ensure that the students of our Caribbean countries can be impacted in a positive way. We at OECS understand that scalability requires a space for partners to collaborate on projects.
At the end of the meeting, the Scalability Workshop was held for the implementation teams of the initiatives recognized in 2022 and the members of the monitoring committee that are part of Lab-Ed. The purpose of this workshop was to provide concrete tools to help them think about the scalability of the projects. Brad Olsen, from the Brookings Institution and Maud Seghers, Global Strategic Advisor for VVOB, participated in the workshop, where they worked on testing the scalability of education (ESC) for KIX LAC innovators, emphasizing two questions: What does it mean for a project to be scalable, and What tools do I need to be able to scale my project? The following is the material that was worked on during the workshop, which serves as a guide for developing a scalability program.
- Deepening education impact. Emerging lessons from 14 teams scaling innovations in lowand middle-income countries. Ongoing analysis from the ROSIE Project
- How do government decisionmakers adopt education innovations for scale?. Implications for national-level education policymaking in low- and middle-income countries
- (In Spanish) Herramienta de Seguimiento de la Institucionalización
- (In Spanish) Hoja de Trabajo de la Estrategia de Escalamiento