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Many countries in the Asia Pacific region have been stepping up their efforts to achieve the Education for All and education-related Millennium Development Goals by the end of 2015. Despite these efforts, the overall regional progress is still uneven and slow. Many quality and access related challenges still remain. One particular challenge for most countries is how to meet the educational needs of rural populations living in scattered, very thinly populated highlands, mountainous regions and small inhabited islands.

“Multigrade teaching”, where one teacher teaches students from more than one grade in one classroom, is often the only choice for many small, incomplete schools serving the rural populations. Despite widespread use of multigrade teaching, many countries in Asia-Pacific do not have national policies that guide the management, administration, financing, curriculum provision, deployment and training of teachers in multigrade schools.

In this context, UNESCO Bangkok has received financial support from the Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) to implement a project entitled “Promoting Quality Education through Enhanced Multigrade Teaching in Asia-Pacific” with an overall aim of improving the quality of learning for the poorest and marginalized children living in rural, remote and less populated areas in the region by strengthening national capacity in planning and implementing multigrade teaching.

Specifically, the project aims at achieving the following objectives:

  • The prevalence of multigrade teaching assessed and current strategies, promising practices and possible impacts in terms of providing quality learning opportunity to disadvantaged and hard-to-reach groups documented;
  • Country capacity in analysing policy issues and practical challenges associated with multigrade teaching enhanced;
  • Policy options and regional guidelines developed for improving policies and practices related to multigrade teaching;
  • A supportive policy environment created for continued upgrading of multigrade teaching and learning through policy dialogues, advocacy and knowledge management.


Overall, the project consists of three main activities; (i) undertaking an intensive policy analysis of multigrade teaching, (ii) documenting and analysing the multigrade teaching practices, and (iii) developing evidence-based advocacy brief, regional guidelines and a knowledge portal to support education policymakers and practitioners to enhance the effectiveness of multigrade teaching.

Expected results of the project include (i) increased national capacity in documenting and analysing policy issues and practical challenges with multigrade teaching; (ii) increased access to new knowledge and promising practices concerning multigrade teaching as an effective educational strategy; and (iii) supportive policy environment for the continued upgrading of multigrade teaching and learning.

Research workshops

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Photos of data collection