Two years ago, the Ministry of Education gave us the opportunity to work along with them in the great
challenge that implies training school principals. We embraced it with a lot of enthusiasm and a shared vision.
But apart from working with commitment, we knew it was necessary to measure the process “step by step”,
assessing each of the various stages, talking to principals and looking at what schools were going through.
In our country, many aspects have significantly improved and others still need to get better, but to continue
moving forward we need to refocus our view with clear and transparent indicators. This is why we produced
information that the education system, the programme and school principals would find useful.
When we handle clear information, we make better decisions that eventually result in better learning
outcomes for students every day. This report enables us to describe what we are doing but especially lets us
visualize progress and challenges. Furthermore, all these indicators and findings represent a source available
for anyone who would want to consult it and we hope to include new stakeholders who can collaborate to
It is true that some aspects are harder to measure than others. We do not seek to categorize them as
approving or not but to assign value to the whole process we carried out with the National Ministry of
Education and the Provincial Ministries of Education.
In this sense, to assess ourselves means a great chance to rectify, improve, adjust, strengthen and consolidate
the path we took. Evaluation, as a continuous process, provides us with an excellent opportunity for reflection.
Proposing a continuous evaluation process implies humbleness and transparency. Both of them are
conditional on building trust. First, the system stakeholders who should trust in their transformation capacity
and then building trust in the education system and its capacity to positively impact on the students and their
We hope that what is stated in these pages helps principals and teachers in our country so that, by making
better decisions, they can transform their schools.
Varkey Foundation Argentina
2.1 Pedagogical proposal
2.2 School Innovation Project (PIE, in its Spanish acronym)
2.3 Varkey Academy
2.4 Innovation Studio
2.5 Case study
3.1 Evaluation points within the PLIE
3.1.1 Satisfaction surveys
3.1.2 Programme monitoring
4.1 Final survey – Perception of participants on PLIE’s relevance and quality
4.2 Survey on institutional environment and teaching practices – Perception of teachers not participating in
4.2.1 Exposition of results obtained in items inquiring about the PIE, for teachers whose principals participated in
the PLIE in 2017
4.2.2 Compared analysis 2017 vs. 2018
The Varkey Foundation is a charitable organisation established by Sunny Varkey to improve the standards of education for
underprivileged children throughout the world.
Our mission is that every child should have a good teacher. We do this through building teacher capacity, advocacy campaigns to
innovative solutions in support of our mission.
Every year the Global Education & Skills Forum is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,
UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Emir of Dubai.
The Global Teacher Prize was founded in 2013 as an annual US $1 million award for an exceptional teacher who has made an
outstanding contribution to their profession. The Prize serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that , through out
The Varkey Foundation
grown around the world, however, the concrete implementation of programmes in schools is usually one of the biggest impediments
that management faces. This document presents the action of Varkey Foundation Argentina (FVA) and the axes of its programme. For
1) International experts, who had developed successful training models in leadership in education in countries such as Singapore or
2) The National Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology and the provincial Ministries of Corrientes, Jujuy, Mendoza and
Salta. All the contents of the programme are articulated and reviewed by the corresponding ministerial authorities. The Secretary of
Educational Evaluation has been another one of the key actors involved. The results of the national standardized evaluations and other
educational management data are an input required for the design of the School Innovation Project (PIE).
3) NGOs with local experience and universities
a. We worked in partnership with EDUCERE, a civil society organization that has been developing teacher programmes for 20 years
in the province of Buenos Aires.
4) Local experts: the PLIE is dictated by a team of local experts who implement the Programme.
This type of articulation among numerous actors is a feature of the Varkey Foundation's work that made possible the rapid
implementation of the programme.
and adjusting the pedagogical approach.
ProgrammeonLeadership andInnovation inEducation
With the support of:
2.1 Pedagogical proposal
The pedagogical approach of the program, based on socio-constructivism, is developed in a workshop format with emphasis in the analysis
of cases of study, the resolution of problems in teams and the collaboration between participants. They worked face-to-face and in groups that
Sessions are organized by conceptual aspects addressed through various dynamics in groups of 25 participants. On the other hand, tutorial
The material used in the program is in Spanish, completely digitized and includes academic, practice readings, cases and audio visual material.
A variety of local, regional and international authors are used. Participants are asked to attend with an electronic device, in case of not having
it, the foundation provides one for the duration of the program.
The PLIE aims to highlight the value of leadership and innovation by strengthening communication and the use of technologies. During the
programme facilitators enhance the development of the participants autonomy so that they can think and propose actions in order to achieve
This module explores how teams are built and empowered in schools. In particular, the
development of models of distributed leadership. The second part of the module
addresses the issues of leadership through the challenges of the 21st Century.
2. Managing Technology Integration
Through this module, participants will understand how to plan, manage and
sustain the IT implementations in their schools to optimize their management
processes. It also addresses the risks that students face from technological
In this module, the different levels of consolidation of the curriculum are
analysed. Participants will learn about innovative curricular practices such as
Teaching for Understanding, while being able to analyse different approaches
to implement in their institutions.
6. Leading Teacher Professional Development
In this module, the participants are challenged to discover their own
leadership skills, their strengths and any areas for development. It also
examines how to analyse and design new strategies for teacher training for
the institution itself.
5. Leading and Developing Community Relations
In this module, the different relationships of the members of the educational
community are analysed in order to improve the school environment.
Relationships within the school, with families and the community at large are
4. Leading Quality Assurance for Performance and Improve
Performance in the Teaching and Learning Process
This module works specifically on the processes of teaching and learning that
lead the teachers. Different topics are addressed such as the contributions of
neuroscience, the impact of emotions in the learning process, the
heterogeneity in the learning process and the education for inclusion.
2.2 School Innovation Project
(PIE, in its Spanish acronym)
The preparation of the PIE is a crucial part of the Programme and
its design is based on the principles of research and action. From
the diagnosis of the situation of the educational institution, an
innovation project is developed that responds to the identified
To address the challenge, four sequential phases are proposed:
problem identification, analysis, anticipation and evaluation. This
leads to elaborate a project that will be presented in the institution
and carried forward in the six months after the completion of the
face-to-face training. This stage, is accompanied by "project
followers", who visit the schools to support and boost the
development of the projects.
2.3 Varkey Academy
Graduates also have the possibility to continue their training
through Varkey Academy, a collaborative learning virtual platform
whose main objective is to promote the creation of a community in
which primes the continuous teaching of teachers. Through
courses, interactive activities, videos, live classes with experts,
spaces for debate and content curation, this initiative brings
together formal and non-formal learning opportunities.
Through the virtual platform it is allowed to extend the learning
possibilities of the participants including the TIC. The courses
deepen the contents of the face-to-face stage of the Programme,
develop new themes and collaborate in the acquisition of
2.4 Innovation Studio
In order to feed curiosity and awaken creativity of educators
through technological experiences we designed the Innovation
Studio aimed at teachers and school principals that have already
participated in the PLIE. Through different innovation sessions, a
group of teachers are guided in diverse subjects such as robotics,
virtual reality, digital and collective art, inverted class design, 3D
impressions, learning based on projects, among others.
The first Innovation Studio was inaugurated thanks to the support
of Banco Nación Foundation and the Ministry of Education of the
Corrientes province at the beginning of August 2018.
2.5 A Case Study1
Andrés Alonso, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of
Education (HGSE), was invited to Argentina in 2017 to lecture as an
expert. On that visit, he recognised positively impressed about the
outcomes of the PLIE that FVA was developing and decided to
return to the country the following year with the goal of focusing on
a case study that applied the academic evidence in the classrooms.
The case study is now part of the Certificate of Advanced
Education Leadership professional programme.
The case was formally presented at Harvard University on April
25, 2018. In his work, the professor collects the genesis,
development and implementation of the PLIE in Argentina.
Some of the points that stood out are:
1 To access full case:
"The focus of the Programme was on creating a vision
with others, in collaboration and the creation of teams.
This resonated between participants, who constantly
concentrated part of their reflection on the needs and
work challenges with their teams in schools".
"The participants commented again and again that
they had found a new sense of company, they were
not alone anymore, they had passed to talk about "us"
and "our" when talking with principals about their
Ahead is set out the number of participants – school principals and teachers - who have completed the PLIE since the first
cohort held at the end of 2016 until the end of 2018, and the number of schools impacted
PROVINCE PARTICIPANTS SCHOOLS
Corrientes 1.254 552
Jujuy 1.262 582
Mendoza 949 527
Salta 1.128 527
TOTAL 4.593 2.188
Districts with graduates
or for the same ongoing process.
Di Virgilio (2012) appropriately summarizes the idea by saying that to evaluate is “to make a value judgment” and “evaluations are not
performed unless the possibility to create a consequence leading to an action or modifying the intervention course is taken into
consideration”. (p. 41).
Aiming at reshaping and strengthening the role of principals, VFA has an area for monitoring and evaluating its programme in some
VFA monitors participants’ level of satisfaction with the course and how the course impacts on their leader competences. At the same
time, it intends to measure how participants impact on other members of the faculty who did not attend the course. VFA also
prepares reports with the information gathered from surveys so as to enhance the information that the school has about itself.
To evaluate is important since it provides us with a diagnosis to then foster each school’s development and the education system in
general. The report Aprender 2017 shows that 92% out of 10.500 principals responding to the survey rendered the Report per school
changes in their schools.
Thus, the evaluation is not an end in itself but another stage in the path towards improving.
4 When we say “school” we mean any education institution.
3.1 Evaluation points within the
With the purpose of evaluating others and itself, the
Monitoring and Evaluation Area (M&E) of the VFA has
developed and optimized different instruments which have
nourished its task. M&E implements several online surveys
classified in two groups:
1) Satisfaction surveys: their purpose is to find out PLIE
participants’ level of satisfaction with the programme in
2) Results monitoring: it inquiries about PLIE’s effect on
participants and non-participants.
Through these surveys for participants, VFA intends to
discover whether participants understand the need to
innovate, to change the traditional leadership approach
which was associated with the authority and a centralized
decision-making process. The surveys are aimed at finding
out how appropriate the PLIE is within the current context of
problems that education institutions face nowadays. In the
end, these surveys are aimed at discovering how much the
PLIE is contributing to change.
On the other hand, as we know that change is not
accomplished unless the whole school staff participates, who
should be aware of the leadership aptitudes the environment
needs, VFA also designed a survey to get to know the
learning impact that PLIE direct participants have on other
school members. There is an underlying idea confirming that
change is not possible unless all school stakeholders are
Below, we briefly introduce the surveys and each of their
3.1.1 Satisfaction surveys
Entrance survey: it is implemented when the course starts. It
inquiries about the participants’ expectations and challenges.
Weeklysurveys: They are implemented by the end of each of the
6 weeks the programme lasts. It inquiries about the facilitators and
tutors performance (terms that designate VFA teachers,
differentiating them according to their role in the classroom),
content, activities and applicability of each week’s work.
Final survey: It is similar to the weekly surveys but it inquiries
about the course as a whole.
Impact on the principal and his/her partner
Self-evaluation on competences
Evaluation 180 (co-evaluation) about
Impact on schools according to
Survey on institutional environment
and teaching practices
Impact on the students’ performance
Self-evaluation on competences. Both the principal and his/her partner respond to a
questionnaire about their perception on their competences as a leader.
Evaluation 180 (co-evaluation) on competences. Both participants simultaneously respond to a
questionnaire about the leader competences they observe in his/her colleague.
Both evaluations are implemented while participants are taking the course and six months later,
which is the time we expect they will take to carry out the project designed along the course. An
evolution should be observed in the participant’s leader competences.
PIE: School Innovation Project created by participants from the same school who work jointly
during the PLIE’s in-person stage. After diagnosing their institution, they decide on an action plan
to address the problem detected. When they go back to their schools, they socialize and
implement the PIE with the faculty. VFA helps in the implementation by visiting schools.
Survey on institutional environment and teaching practices. It inquiries about peer
communication and bonds among the institution stakeholders and, in general, about the
environment perceived within the institution. It is also aimed at finding out whether teachers
implement varied and innovative practices in the classroom, whether they work in teams, and if
they participate in the school’s decision-making process, etc.
This survey is intended for teachers whose principals have participated in the PLIE. It is issued
for the first time when the principal and his/her partner are taking the course and then
implemented again to the same teachers after 6 or 7 months.
From VFA we are facilitating the design of an impact evaluation made and financed externally
(there are several groups interested in carrying it out). It would take place in 2019 and should
guarantee impartiality when measuring the results observed in the students’ performance.
3.1.2 Programme monitoring
In the following pages, the results of the first evaluation of the PLIE implementation, which takes eighteen months in process, will
be presented. These were obtained by means of the satisfaction survey ("Final Survey") applied to more than 2420 PLIE
participants so far, and the “School Climate and Academic Practices” survey, answered by teachers that have not attended the
PLIE, divided into two groups: control and treatment. The treatment group was defined for a total of 572 teachers who finished
the PLIE before September 2017, while the control group had 749 teachers which principals were attending the PLIE in July 2018.
Throughout the exhibition of quantitative results, parts of declarations of 45 principals and teachers from the provinces of Jujuy
and Salta who have been interviewed will be cited as to complement the study with testimonies.
The assembly and the size of the sample, by self-selection mechanism, do not allow for statistical inference,
but it can reasonably be assumed that it is representative of the results of the program, at the level of the total
number of schools reached by the PLIE.
teachers and principals
from schools which
attended the PLIE
more than one year ago.
from schools which
principals had not
finished the PLIE at
the moment of the
PARTICIPANTS NOT PARTICIPANTS
Answered the satisfaction survey applied
at the end of the presencial stage.
Answered the school climate and academic practices
4.1 Final Survey - Perception of the participants on the relevance and quality
of the PLIE
93% 96% 92%
the Program to their
More than 98%
of the participants
indicate that they
are "totally in agreement"
or "strongly agree"
with the methodology.
Considers that the
“content” was “excellent”
or “very good”.
Express that the
facilitator teachers were
“excellent” or “very good”.
"I would tell a colleague not to miss the opportunity to participate in the
Varkey course. It is a very enriching experience both personally and
Director of rural school of initial and primary level of Salta with 31 years of
"We socialized the project using the recreational resources that Varkey
gave us. We did several meetings in which we used the game (...) The
objective was to invite the teacher to enjoy his task and then invite him out
of his comfort zone."
Director of rural school of primary level in Salta with 29 years of antiquity.
With the intention of knowing the efficiency of the PLIE, FVA
performs, at the end of each cohort, the "final survey", which is
anonymous and is aimed at knowing both the satisfaction of the
participant with the contents and with the FVA teachers during
the course and with the course in general. As a result of the final
survey, when asking participants about the likelihood of
recommending the PLIE, more than 82% said they would
"Definitely" do so and more than 10%, "Most likely" would, as it
can be seen in the following graph, which includes the
responses of all the participants of all the cohorts that passed
through the PLIE until today.
Would you recommend the PLIE?
In accordance with the above, this is expressed by the Principal
1 of Salta6:
Regarding the content of the course itself, the satisfaction
expressed by the participants is extremely positive. 73.74% of the
participants say that the content is "Excellent" and 22.25%, which
is "Very good", as can be seen in the following graphic:
Evaluation of the content of the PLIE
Reaffirming the previous information, the Deputy Principal 1 of
Salta, as regards the content of the PLIE, says:Definitely yes (82,6%)
Most likely (10,44%)
Probably yes (4,87%)
Definitely no (1,52%)
Probably not (0,57%)
Very good (22,25%)
"I would tell a colleague not to miss the
opportunity to participate in the Varkey course.
It is a very enriching experience both personally
and professionally. [...] Varkey made me notice
that, to see that I have to do everything in my
power to improve the school and help the
children learn. When I returned from the course
I felt more committed, responsible for what
happens at school."
"The bibliographic material is very good. It left
us many ideas that the truth is that we did not
6 The numbers assigned to the interviewees correspond to the order in which they were interviewed.
"We socialized the project using the recreational
resources that Varkey gave us. We made several
encounters in which we used the game. That
already gave the guidelines to the teachers that
this was something different. It was not a
vertical line descent. The objective was to invite
the teacher to enjoy his task and then invite him
to leave his comfort zone."
When asked about the assessment made by teacher
facilitators, more than 92% said they were "Very good" or
How would you rate the facilitators?
With reference to the methodology used by FVA teachers, more
than 98% said they were "Totally in agreement" or "Strongly
agree" with it.
Appropriate learning methodology?
Principal 5 of a rural primary school in Salta, regarding the FVA
Very good (17,08%)
Very bad (0,09%)
Totally agree (68,16%)
Strongly agree (30,21%)
Do not agree (1,63%)
7 It should be noted that the results that will be shown are still provisional and aim to show a trend rather than a strong statement.
Even so, it is fundamental to show the path taken in measuring the impact of the PLIE on the teachers whose principals have participated in the course.
4.2 Survey of institutional climate and teaching practices7 - Perception of
teachers not participating in the PLIE
Manifest to have perceived changes in his school
after the participation of his Principal in the PLIE.
Affirms to know "Much" or "Fairly" the PIE designed
by his Principle during the PLIE.
Say they have formed "Much" and "Fairly" part of
the implementation of the PIE in their school.
FVA is interested in knowing if its PLIE is having effects, not only
on the principal, but in the school environment. Thus, under the
name of "Survey of institutional climate and teaching practices",
dimensions such as school climate, culture, interpersonal
relationships, levels of aggression, cordiality, confidence and the
teaching practices themselves were included. It is precisely in
this sense that this survey is designed. As already mentioned, it
seeks to account for the spillover effect that the PLIE would have
on the institution, beyond the principal. The organizational
climate is usually associated with the "internal environment of
an organization that is not physically palpable, but you can feel
it" (Caligiore and Díaz, 2003). Gonçalves (cited by Caligiore and
Díaz, 2003) states that the organizational climate resembles the
personality of the organization and is made up of structures
such as its size, current forms of communication and leadership
All of the above interacts with the individual who is part of the
organization, through their perceptions of what surrounds them
and their experiences with that environment influencing their
behavior at work. Hence, the organizational climate reflects the
interaction between personal and organizational characteristics.
The school, as an organization, follows the same logic. In the
words of Caligiore and Díaz, "highly bureaucratic educational
systems (highly structured and centralized) were seen as closed,
restrictive climates." (P.646) That is, the climate of an institution is
not only generated by its members but they are also molded
and the principal of a school occupies a fundamental place in
terms of delineating, thinking and acting according to the
climate that exists and wants to achieve.
"The school climate makes a difference in the learning
environment within educational institutions, affecting the
behavior of teachers, principals and school staff, and influencing
the performance of their students." (Hurtado Bottero, 2008, p. 11)
Next, the exhibition of some results.
4.2.1 Exposition of results obtained
in the items that inquire about the
PIE, oriented to teachers whose
principals participated in the PLIE in
The following graphs show the answers of the teachers whose
principals participated in the PLIE during the year 2017, that is,
who have already been able to observe the performance of the
principal when returning from the training of FVA. These
teachers make up our treatment group.
The 87.22% of the teachers surveyed were aware that their
principal had participated in the PLIE of FVA, while only 12.78% 8,
Before receiving this survey, were you already aware
that the principal of your educational institution had
participated in a leadership and educational
innovation course taught by the Varkey Foundation?
"Varkey gave me the opportunity to analyze the
school from another angle. I returned from the
course and what I saw was another possible
school. To see in another approach the way in
which I have to do in the matter of management
and in the teaching-learning practice".
Director 1 of Salta
8 The responses considered were of those teachers who had more than one year in the institution.
More than 93% of teachers reported knowing the PIE. 70.23%
declare to have known between "Much" and "Fairly" the PIE,
while 23.08% said they had known "Little" and only 6.68%
"Nothing". This could be the result of a work of sensitization and
socialization of the project in the school, when the participants
return, a task that is not always simple and even less immediate,
given the limited space available for meetings outside of class
To what extent would you say that you knew about
the project that the principal put together during this
On the other hand, 64.89% of teachers say they have been part
of the implementation of the PIE between "Much" and "Pretty" so
it could be inferred that there was teamwork, this being one of
the pillars of leadership. It not only refers to the mere knowledge
of the PIE, but to its involvement in its execution. 25.50% of
teachers surveyed said they had formed "Little" part of the
implementation of the PIE, which also implies some
To what extent would you say were you part of the
implementation of the project?
A final question asked teachers about the degree to which they
observed changes in the institution after their principal
participated in the PLIE. 90.23% reported having observed
changes in their institution. Of these, 74.68% said that those
changes were "Notorious" or "Partial".
Did you notice any change in the management of the
educational institution after its principal studied the
Much - Fairly (70,23%)
Much - Fairly (64,89%)
Observed notorious or parcial changes (74,68%)
Observed minor changes (15,55%)
Didn’t observe changes (9,77%)
"Now we are using the Mobile Digital Classroom in all grades (...) Teachers
changed their attitude because they saw how students are motivated when
using computers. They saw how the teaching-learning process improves. (...)
We began to analyze with the teachers some of the practices and dynamics
of the course such as the 'inverted classes', the 'traffic light' technique, the
'feedback staircase' ".
Director of a rural school in Salta, 31 years old.
4.2.2 Comparative analysis 2017 vs 2018
572 teachers from schools
whose principals had completed
the PLIE more than a year ago.
SCHOOLS THAT MADE THE PLIE VS SCHOOLS THAT DID NOT FINISHED IT:
SCHOOLS THAT STUDIED THE PLIE IN 2017
749 teachers from schools
whose principals had not yet
completed the PLIE.
for the best for his team"
strives to carryoutprojects
"There is effective
communication between the
management team and
When the Foundation goes around Argentine schools every day to follow up the School Innovation Projects (PIEs) we have
found countless stories of teachers and principals who, empowered with new tools, could represent an actual inspiration for
As we prepared this intermediate results paper we wondered how to portray those resonances that can only be breathed and
are impossible to measure. When asked about what was going on in her classroom, a teacher from Mendoza told us “there is
something ineffable”. It is something present like the chalk dust than can only be seen through a light beam.
The answer was found in a handful of stories. We gathered them in our own record book and took one per province for the
purposes of this paper. These small stories make figures more understandable, shaping and providing them with forms, colors
and voices. In other words, they get figures closer to us and when these stories are related to others they build a potential
dimension. We know that what motivates people is not competence but collaboration. That is why we would like to share it.
If the transformation a school can carry forwards is, as we have been told, “something amazing”, these stories make transforma-
tion believable, possible, and feasible. We want these stories to make us think, to provide us with ideas that can help us face the
problems we come across every morning, every afternoon, every night. To top it off, we want these stories to inspire us.
This is not about gathering great feats but simple and real experiences that correlate thinking, action and feeling. Even though a
school experience is not transferrable, we know it can be told: a simple story can become an example, not a role model, but a
concrete possibility to make the complexity of teaching and learning easier, acknowledging those who make their own job.
To inspire is to motivate others to produce their own creations. Something that touches us, something that produces some-
thing different is an innovation story where the experience is stuck to the change.
Transformation cases, inspirational stories
“Kids used to come to school with their cell phones but were not allowed to come in with them; they had to leave
the phone outdoors because they were forbidden. However, when we finished the Varkey Foundation
Programme we presented a project to work with cell phones and virtual reality. Our idea was to take advantage
of this friendly and prohibited tool, managed by students and teachers daily and including 80.000 education
apps for free.”
“Our aim was to innovate and change the traditional education structure by incorporating the responsible
use of technological tools that attracted children. During the months we have implemented the project,
there has never been a problem due to the misuse of cell phones. We had robotics classes where, resorting
to our creativity, we built robots using tooth brushes, cell phone vibration motors, syringes, cardboard and
little hoses”, says the teacher and added: “We pursued to transform and change the traditional education
paradigm. And we made it. Students feel enthusiastic, they are amused, they learn while playing,
absenteeism decreased, we work collaboratively, make use of the time and great positive results are being
accomplished in the three-month evaluations, using gamification and a lot of creativity so that students do
not feel stress while taking an exam.”
“Back at home, when we did have Internet connection, teachers downloaded the apps we would need on
the following day and when we got to school we downloaded the apps into the kids’ phones, one by one”.
School No. 553
School No. 553 is located in San Cayetano, a rural area 20 kilometers away from the city of Corrientes. There are no supermarkets or
sport clubs. Most students’ parents work seeding vegetables or in the construction trade.
Nahuel, one of its teachers, says:
However, there was a problem: there was no Internet connection. But they turned this problem into a great opportunity, using the apps
says Nahuel, the Computer Science teacher. The same thing happened with virtual reality, depending on the cell phone model they had,
they decided which tools to download.
School No. 243
This school is located close to the rural area known as La Dormida in the province of Mendoza. Disabled adults and young people
attend this school. The school was surrounded by a dispersed community, characterized by low-esteem and lack of motivation. It was
a vulnerable socio cultural context taught by a homogenous teaching model.
Mabel says that when she was little her father made her drop out of school, but not so long ago “a teacher came home and left a note.
On Monday I took an eraser and a pencil and that’s how I started”. María Veneranda, the area’s healer, explains she always had to take
care of her mother but now she can finally go to school. Rosa started last year. “The teacher fetched us”, she recalls with tears in her
eyes. Now she attends school with her husband and her son, who is also disabled. Carlos has Parkinson’s disease but that does not
prevent him from learning how to write in the computer. María del Valle had to drop out in second grade, then she had an accident and
nowadays, aged 40, she has an important motor disability but a new opportunity to learn. Another student, Margarita, says she could
not study as a child so she started working as a leather crafter. However, now she has this new opportunity she recognizes that “school
makes me freer; I am learning what I could never learn”.
Not only did the faculty convene and involve the community but they also convinced the students, once they were part of the school
that they did know things and that knowledge was important. Adriana, the teacher, started by identifying the emotions students had
when they first arrived to the classroom.
The principal, Elisa, says that “if you study and if you are trained, everything changes”. Then she adds: “We liked the programme so
much that now we train each other”. Their project called “strengthening education inclusion” recognizes the transformation possibility
in diversity, building an environment of high expectations.
Main points involved: (a) institutional policy of inclusion, (b) inclusive teaching practices, c) high expectations from students, (d) valued
and distributed learning environment, (e) alliance with the community.
Agro Technical School No. 10
In the Agro Technical School No. 10 in Maimará, province of Jujuy young people were in general not interested in acquiring new
technical skills. There were various reasons for this lack of interest but mainly young people did not render those tools as a potential job
opportunity in the local production and shepherding or cheese production tasks were associated with a useless or obsolete activity.
They associated these activities with old people, the only ones who sustained this sort of tasks. On the other hand, as the area received
plenty of tourists, there was a chance to provide local products, like meat and cheese, not leveraged by the local people as they were
not included in the formal production chain. Paradoxically, local people dreamt of offering their products and tourists were interested in
consuming them, but the concretion of this dream seemed to be far away.
“It is all about recognizing our own emotions and the students’ emotions to create a bond. Then we proceed to
recognize the things they know, which is called a diagnosis in other modalities, and we work on capacities. We
need them to feel part of the school; we need them not to lose their eager for learning. Some women start from
scratch with literacy, but Varkey taught us that hope has to be our horizon. When students saw our attitude they
realized we wanted to work with them and trusted they could continue learning. In other words, Varkey opened
our minds to the fullest”.
“Our school is not surrounded by a town, which is why we receive kids from different rural areas” says Eduardo, one
of its teachers, and adds: “we tried to motivate students and readapt our job to the area’s needs. We chose local
productions like quinoa and Andean crops, goat breeding and by-products”. Pedro is a veterinary teacher and has
focused the parasitosis project with public health and traceability in the productions to have, through technical
education, new possibilities: “we go to the butcher’s and buy meat but we forget about the traceability process. We
think that as the animal has received its vaccines, it is already safe. However, when we eat meat many parasites are
transferred into our body. In this area liver flukes abound, developed because there is a snail that is intermediate host
of this parasite. The animal eats it because it is the only green thing he finds, it swallows the snail and then no
bromathology controls are carried out. Besides, goat cheese is highly demanded in this area and we try to raise
awareness regarding its handling so that we can compete with the foreign product, because local restaurants buy
their products oversees due to the lack of traceability. We, local people, should be able to produce what hotels need”.
After finishing the Varkey Foundation programme, teachers from technical school no. 10 recognize they found new motivations and, in
turn, they could drive the students’ motivations and consolidate that dream of working in a process that registers traceability and thus,
be able to offer tourists products made by their families. Pedro, the veterinary teacher, puts it this way: “Children are really excited
when presented with this new challenge. Besides, they have known how to work with animals since they were kids. They have
done it at home and the enjoy it. They might resist to new ways of working, but they really enjoy working with animals. The
scientific technical part is tough because it is new. However, it is not about eliminating what they used to do but to find a balance
and be able to offer what others need”.
Main points involved: (a) inclusion institutional policy, (b) inclusive and quality teaching practices, c) high expectations from students, (d)
valued and distributed learning environment, (e) alliance with the community.
Camino del Inca School
This school, located in Vaqueros, province of Salta was characterized by committed but individualized work. Moreover, work was done
behind closed doors. The evaluation attitude was too strict and absenteeism was high.
Zaira, its principal, says:
Teachers observed that there were many parents who could contribute to the education tasks. So, they gathered information on their
jobs or professions. Then, they created a database and invited them to be part of a shared educational planning. When it came to the
evaluations, they implemented a regular exercise called “accomplishment day”, where they shared their learning in a process that they
define as “non summative”. To overcome absenteeism they inquired the families and their reasons and after detecting them they
supported students and deepened the dialogue with their families. In order to stimulate kids learning they created, among other things,
a creative spot available for children during their breaks and literary breakfasts.
Zaira puts it this way: “What Varkey gave us was the chance to realize we are not alone, we should open our doors and work with
others: health institutions, NGOs, the local police, family entrepreneurships, everyone should be involved. Now, the school has
enabled kids to develop to their fullest.”
“Since we were trained by Varkey, our commitment is to create learning communities, including parents and
different local stakeholders. We started to build teams, having meetings and sharing favorable strategies. To
leave the individualism and isolation behind and to get involved with our peers and their families has been quite a
As we could observe in the figures presented in this report, the satisfaction revealed by direct participants of the PLIE in the “Final
survey” clearly means the programme has been accepted. The answers show that when participants are asked about VFA’s develop-
ment and transmission of the course results are excellent.
In the answers to the “Survey on institutional environment and teaching practices”, regarding the items of reference or relationship
with the principal – “Explicit reference”, “Indirect-permission” or “Indirect-institutional”- we observed important positive differences in
favor of the treatment group. In other words, teachers who did not participate in the PLIE observe changes in their principals and
his/her performance within the institution.
The “Survey on institutional environment and teaching practices” also addresses how the course trickles down from course partici-
pants to other teachers or members of the institution. The difference in responses between the control groups and treatment groups
in the most significant dimensions – “teaching practices”, “culture” and “relationships” - shows a clear positive trend in the treatment
Interviews are supplementary to the quantitative approach and, despite having reinforced it on the one hand; they have, on the other
hand, shed light to a dimension that had not been considered in the survey: the many-times-mentioned word “motivation” that the
PLIE brings to its participants. They have also shared their stories and the way these stories grew and their effects go far beyond
A study by Robinson (2009) shows that concrete actions in comparison with administrative actions are the ones that increase
efficiency among principals. These sorts of actions are the ones we address in the “Survey on institutional environment and teaching
practices”. They showed a positive impact: collaborative work with teachers; incentives and accompaniment to the teachers in their
professional development; fostering interchange among teachers; creating consensus, communication and participation of the team
in the decision-making process, etc.
However, most principals and teachers have an initial teacher training that prepares them with the leadership principles (Pont, 2018).
Blejmar (2015) says, “What we see today is the existence of a specific role in the education institutional leading: the leadership space.
The whole should sustain, nourish, limit or expand the power held by the management” (p.55). In this sense, it is not just the principal,
but the whole team who should occupy that “leadership space”. All this reinforces the need to train leading teams and teachers, in
general, so that they can act as school leaders.
So far, results obtained show that the PLIE is on the right path to achieve the improvement stated in the Theory of change, which
enables us to be optimistic regarding the transformation proposed.
Finally, it should be noted that the tradition of evaluating programmes, projects and policies in Argentina is generally scarce. The lack
of this habit hinders a massive participation in the surveys. The false idea of rendering an evaluation as an end in itself misses the
point. The path to walk is arduous but we have started walking and VFA will continue improving and enhancing its measurement
instruments, its implementation and thus enriching its programme based on those improvements.
13 Source: Robinson, 2009, p. 656
CLIE: Leadership and Innovation Centre in Education.
VFA: Varkey Foundation Argentina.
Control group: school teachers whose principals were taking the PLIE at the moment the “Survey on institutional environment and
teaching practices” was implemented (July to August). Only schools where 5 teachers or more responded to the survey were taken into
Treatment group: school teachers whose principals were taking the PLIE a year before the “Survey on institutional environment and
teaching practices” was implemented (July to August). Only schools where 5 teachers or more responded to the survey were taken into
M&E: Monitoring and Evaluation.
PIE: School Innovation Project.
PLIE: Programme on Leadership and Innovation in Education.
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1) Final survey
2) Survey on institutional environment and teaching practices applied to the control group14
3) Survey on institutional environment and teaching practices applied to the treatment group