Earth Institute Research Projects

Education Reform in Paraguay

Lead PI: Alejandro Adler Braun

Unit Affiliation: Center for Sustainable Development (CSD)

September 2019 - November 2019
Central America ; Paraguay
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The Center for Sustainable Development in The Earth Institute at Columbia University will subcontract with the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST) at Teachers College, Columbia University to collaborate on a one-year project with the Ministry of Education of Paraguay to reform education in Paraguay. The scope of work for the collaboration will include: 1) the design and implementation of a series of national summits at which diverse stakeholders across Paraguay will meet to come to consensus on a vision and purpose for the reform, 2) produce a education sector analysis on Paraguay, and 3) a roadmap for implementation reform based on the findings of the summits and sector analysis.

Scope of Work: The Center for Sustainable Development will collaborate with NCREST and CTSC to conduct research and provide technical assistance for the Paraguay Education Ministry’s Strategic Committee for Education Transformation (PSC) to:

1. Conduct an education Sector Analysis including:
o The identification of current knowledge base on K-12 teaching and learning (e.g., learning science, use of technology, etc.) and school and system organization and best international practices corresponding to the priority axes; data on current state of Paraguayan K-12 education organizational structures, demographics, and contextual conditions; inputs and outcomes including curriculum and pedagogy, student behavioral, academic and graduation outcomes; effective local practices; perspectives of indigenous leaders, etc.
o The identification of current status of technology capacity (hardware, software, and internet); availability of digital content; and the use of technology tools in K-12 schools.
o The development of an ongoing technology “census,” identifying the growth of access to hardware, software, and internet connectivity
o The identification of the current policy and practice in Paraguay regarding the education knowledge base and pre-and in-service K-12 teacher education organizational structures, contexts, curriculum and pedagogy; technology access and related professional development, admission criteria to pre-service institutions, licensing policy and processes, and career ladders; and best international practices.

2. Co-construct a series of National Summits to generate a national conversation in which diverse Paraguayan stakeholders can come to consensus on a vision for Pre-K-12 Paraguayan education and the reforms needed to achieve it. The National Summit Initiative will include:
o a design and implementation plan and timeline for the execution of a local summits in targeted Paraguayan communities identified by the PSC to:
 come to national consensus on a vision for PreK-12 education in Paraguay
 develop broad based stakeholder understanding of the connection between the Paraguayan Constitutional commitments to education and the need for education reform (e.g., ; inclusive, equitable and quality education
 provide information on the current state of Paraguayan education, where it is on the continuum for achieving the vision and Constitutional commitments and its connection to the need for educational reform in the thematic axes at this time; and
 build local knowledge of current research on teaching and learning (e.g., learning science, neuroscience, etc.)
 secure broad based diverse stakeholder engagement and consensus in support of education reform to ensure its success and sustainability
o a communication strategy that includes:
 use of multi- media to ensure that the focus group initiative is broadly communicated, that diverse stakeholders feel they have equal access, and through which activities and results can be communicated so that there is transparency throughout the entire process
 a mechanism for ongoing feedback to respond to issues that may arise during the process and need correction
o an implementation plan and timeline including:
 the framework for the focus group conversations (based on the “Appreciative Inquiry” approach of Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver);
• The Discovery component might include for example:
o Open ended questions for participants to express their personal perspectives
o Information on the current state of Paraguayan education
o Introduction of new knowledge (e.g. science of learning) and international best practices
• In the Dream component, participants would be able to apply their discoveries to the expression of their ideal education reform vision
• Discovery and dream components will generate consensus and inform the reform design and delivery.
 summit group design, (e.g., focus groups based on each priority axis (e.g., professional development) populated by mixed stakeholders and/or specialized groups such as teachers); summit group protocols (e.g., norms for discussion); and summit group activities (e.g., sort activity to generate consensus; questions that give voice to individual perspectives and professional knowledge).
 a protocol for summit groups facilitators, selection of Paraguayan facilitators, support and training for facilitators by CUA and PUCC partners
 a digital component to ensure that stakeholders not participating in summit groups can express their points of view and have access to the Discovery component and make contributions to the Dream component. The digital component will also contribute to ensuring transparency of the initiative.
 a data collection strategy for gathering information from various constituencies involved in the summit groups as well as online responses. These responses will be analyzed for the report deliverables, to be used as the basis for the co-design of the implementation plan
 a co-analysis of the data to insure ownership and authenticity of the implementation plan
3. Produce a Road Map for K-12 school and system education reform and pre-and in-service teacher education reform including policy, practice, and organization, based on the findings from the sector analysis and the national summits. The road map will feature:
o A statement of goals and outcomes for the national reform
o A strategic plan and time line for the reform
o An implementation plan, timeline, identification of roles and responsibilities, and assessment and accountability process for monitoring implementation so that self-correction can occur as needed

OUTCOMES: o Design and implementation of a series of national summits on education reform to generate consensus on a vision for Pre-K-12 Paraguayan education and the reforms needed to achieve it.
o A report on the results and findings of the summits and the implications for the next steps
o An education sector analysis report
o A report that is a road map and time line for implementing the Paraguayan vision for K-12 education and pre-and in-service teacher education reforms.


Ministry of Education, Paraguay


Ministry of Education, Paraguay




Ellen Meier, Jacqueline Ancess


Center for Technology and School Change, Teachers College; National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools & Teaching, Teachers College


education financing sustainable development goals sdg4 curricular development systemic education reform socio-emotional skills education teacher training measurement and evaluation education policy ict 21st century skills