Development education programme 'exceeded expectations'

A programme to educate students on world development issues has "exceeded expectations", according to a review by the Department for International Development.

The Global Student Forum peer-led programme was co-founded by Nick Pollard and ran in schools across the UK.

"When DFID awarded us the grant we were challenged to find a cost-effective model for expanding our successful development education programme to enable all schools to participate," he said.

"Working carefully within budget and timescale, the Global Student Forum has hit its key targets and proven just such a model."

Over the last three years, the GSF programme has engaged 310 school groups and equipped over 2,300 students to educate their peers about development issues. In total, over 263,000 students were reached through effective peer education.

The project was funded by DfID and amounted to a cost of £3.62 per student, 16% less than the estimated cost when the grant was awarded.

"We have proved it possible to enable school students to focus on complex global issues in an informed way, at a unit price equivalent to the cost of a cup of coffee and a slice of cake," said Pollard.

"However, that is only part of the story. It is the quality rather than the quantity of the education which has been so well received by teacher and student alike."

The GSF peer educator programme has also proved a hit with schools and teachers, with 100% of participating schools rating it as either good or excellent for school learning activities.

"Throughout, the progression and personal development of individual students have been a huge highlight; especially empowering them to learn new skills, step outside their comfort zone and be educated about development issues," said Deborah Sparks-Kerss of John Leggott College, North Lincolnshire.

"And through GSF, the college has also developed more community links with the local schools."

Louis Spence, of The Duchess's Community High School, Northumberland, said: "GSF has changed the lives of the students involved, all of whom are now seeking further opportunities for global leadership."

GSF students have also had the opportunity to hear from leaders in development issues. Last year, international development minister Stephen O'Brien delivered a speech to participating students in which he called upon them to help change the lives of millions of people living without enough food and without hope.

"Global food security is not only a huge development challenge. It affects all of us," he said at the time.

"We all need to eat and we all want to be healthy and well nourished. Here in the UK we have choices, but many people in developing countries don't and that simply isn't fair. Using what you have learned today you can make a great difference and inspire others to do the same."

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