c Relationship between student survey and contextual inquiries
The core of the study rests on the student survey in the four countries, which was first analysed by each national team. But it was agreed that this would only make sense in a wider context. Additional elements undertaken were:
i An initial survey, in each country, of how human rights are treated in that country's secondary school curriculum, and the materials for students and other types of support (including initial and in-service training) which are available for teachers.
ii Qualitative interviews with each of the heads and two of the teachers from each of the schools in the study. These sought to test teacher views on objectives, achievements and problems - the aim of education for human rights, the suitability of the syllabus and resources available, and the school context for the student survey. They were to be supplemented by interviews with a number of educational administrators or advisers, with a similar purpose.
Specific issues covered were: perceptions of human rights education in the curriculum and its effectiveness; school ethos and human rights education; relevant teacher education; availability of learning materials; the age at which human rights concepts should be introduced; the potential for Commonwealth cooperation; the role of teacher associations and NGOs; whether or how there should be exams; views on a cross-curricular, permeation, infusion or single subject strategy; the scope for new Ministry initiatives.
iii Qualitative follow-up interviews with a 10 per cent sample (that is, ten students aged roughly 14 and ten aged roughly 16) in each country, to discover how they perceived this curriculum, what impressed them and so on. These interviews enabled researchers to check beyond the questionnaire, to see how far students in the two age groups had a genuine understanding of the concepts involved.
Topics included possible difficulty with the questionnaire; whether human rights are important and the familiarity of the term; whether the seven dimensions of the Conceptual Map are being covered at school; whether there are adequate resources (such as textbooks or copies of the constitution); whether the student's family is interested in human rights; and whether-they are better covered in one or two subjects or as a cross-curricular theme.
The basic methodology of the study was intended to be simple, in order that it could Be carried out in varied circumstances by busy people. Interviews were semi-structured, not expected to last for more than an hour at most, and in fact were conducted differently in the various countries. For example in India three teachers from each of the project schools were interviewed together, separately from school principals; in Northern Ireland educational advisers rather than administrators were interviewed; in Botswana ten administrators were interviewed.
The curriculum audit provided a policy and analytical framework in each country and the interview material was used in two ways - to amplify and contextualise the raw data arising from the student questionnaires, and to support the project's recommendations to the Commonwealth Education Ministers' Conference, 1997.
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