1.0 - Introduction

DevelopmentEducation.ie is a key online reference point for development education in Ireland managed by a consortium of 7 non-governmental organisations and is co-financed by Irish Aid. As part of its work programme for 2012, it was agreed to undertake an audit of available DE resources as part of a broader agenda of building up an annotated online database of such resources. In discussions with the members of the Management Committee and Irish Aid the following terms of reference were agreed.

Terms of Reference for Resources Audit by www.developmenteducation.ie, agreed June 28th, 2012

The core purpose of the audit is as follows:

  • Research, list, describe and categorise (by sector and issue) Irish-produced DE resources (from a variety of sources) published since 2000 (there may well be exceptions to this rule as regards date). There has been some discussion of the fact that many DE practitioners in Ireland use resources from international sources but to identify and categorise such resources would be a much larger and far more complex exercise. This fact will, of course, limit the scope of the audit.
  • Following an introduction which will clearly describe the limitations and difficulties involved in developing a resources audit, the work will focus on 5 sectors – Adult and Community Education (including Further Education); Youth; Higher Education; primary and post-primary educational resources.
  • The audit will be completed by December 2012 with a budget of €10,000 allocated to the task from the total overall budget to year end and will be linked to the resources library and annotations already completed with the final product as a separate report/resource (to be made available online).
  • Each resource listed will be initially ‘audited’ as follows: title, publisher, author, date; brief description of the resource; intended primary audience; primary theme (and core sub-themes); availability details (if appropriate).
  • Each resource will be then also be audited with the following information (this will allow users to assess the nature of the resource according to a common set of reference points):
      • Issue description, presentation and analysis (content) – this might be broken down further as we get into undertaking the audit
      • Its relevance and suggested use in various educational settings (methods and use; there could be some description of types of activities here also); criteria could include: reference to the curriculum; subject reference; activities; teacher notes – these additional notes could denote the level of ‘interactivity’ of the resource.
  • Each entry will also have a ‘comments section’ where additional relevant information will be noted (linked to a website/other materials; part of a set; reprints etc.)
  • The audit will review the 5 relevant sections with the entries related primarily to each (with reference to overlap to other sectors) plus a necessarily brief set of ‘observations’ on the sectoral resource base.
  • The audit will conclude with an overall, brief set of general ‘observations’ relating to obvious strengths, weaknesses etc. It will include some broad observations relating to areas where resource availability is limited and where there are obvious opportunities for future resource provision. It will not make a set of recommendations on what resources should be funded or provided.
  • The audit will also comment on the availability or, more accurately, accessibility of such resources. We believe this will be a key issue arising from the audit.
  • The process described above will be done in Phase 1 and the outcome/audit will be placed online in Phase 2 (post December 2012); this will be additional to the current annotated library and will take time (and resources) to complete. It will not be completed by December.

The Management Committee envisaged that the audit would encounter a number of difficulties which could limit the research and mediate its impact; these included the following points:

  • Defining what is (and, inevitably what is not!) a DE resource – what criteria will be used for this; do we include purely intercultural or environmental resources; what, for example, about campaign materials?
  • Resources in the Higher Education category will need to (carefully) distinguish between development studies and development education; the need to avoid listing articles and research papers related generally to DE; ensure all resources have some direct DE relevance etc.; defining how DE ‘looks’ in Higher and Teacher Education is particularly difficult. The audit should avoid becoming a listing of third level research and conference papers.
  • Identifying ‘gaps’ – this is a mammoth task as deciding on what a ‘gap’ is in the first place controversial (and will be contested); ‘gaps’ as regards what – ‘development or human rights’ content; ‘educational’ content; perspectives offered (or excluded); diverse political analyses of the issues; ‘officially’ approved resources (DES, NCCA etc.); the ‘action’ agenda etc.?
  • Difficulties around obtaining information on, and access to the main resources as there is no central reference point but a series of such points which often do not include the more ‘obscure’ or ‘controversial’ resources.
  • There will be a number of significant limitations to the audit – chiefly its focus on Irish resources but this is necessary if we are to reach our deadline of December next. Other sites with similar components such as www.globaldimension.org.uk can be referenced in this regard.

For the purposes of the audit, the following ‘working definition’ of development education was adopted by those undertaking the research (recognising that definitions as such are routinely contested; the definition below is not offered as a ‘considered’ definition – it is simply a ‘working’ one for the purposes of the audit):

Development education is directly concerned with the educational policies, strategies and processes around issues of human development, human rights and sustainability (and immediately related areas).

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