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IRN Start Date: April 1, 2017

This WERA International Research Network (IRN) will address the policy / curriculum / teacher education challenge with an innovative, inverted approach that examines the minimum literacy (basic knowledge, skills, access, support) levels that can be achieved in high, low and conflict/disaster affected countries through a core HPSD instructional program and across the curriculum within the emerging generic competencies models. 


The over-arching policy/program relevant research issues to be addressed are:

  • What can we reasonably expect all students to learn about health, safety, life/social skills and social inclusion at the end of primary and secondary schooling through a core HPSD curriculum, life skills education/co-curricular program or non-formal learning as well as in generic competency/skills models across the curriculum in three typical country contexts (high, low and conflict affected)?

  • How can such basic learning, essential to the achievement of the 2030 UN Goals be achieved, measured and monitored effectively? How can we inform, assist global organizations and countries in working towards these reasonable expectations and to build capacity to do so?

  • How can initial teacher education and in-service development programs be modified and strengthened so that all primary and secondary teachers as well as specialist teachers have the generic competencies, basic knowledge about relevant issues, beliefs, sense of efficacy and professional commitment needed to support their students learning and development? 


The key output of this IRN will be a synthesis report presented to the FRESH Working Group and relevant UN agencies that identifies potential, evidence-based and practical policy/program directions for consideration at the global and country levels. This report will provide a description of what is known from research and practice and what we need to know through different but aligned investigations. It will identify different models and structures for curriculum development in different contexts. It will identify and list successful examples as well as what we have learned from our mistakes.


A progress report (and additional stimulus for ongoing discussions) will be part of a large world conference being planned by leading global education and health organizations, FRESH partners and the Dubai Health Authority in December 2017. Other interim discussions will be held at other similar events such as the CIES 2017 conference on comparative education in Atlanta in March 2017. Other partial or interim reports will likely be useful at different stages of the UNESCO deliberations regarding Target 4.7 of the UN Goals. At the end of three years, a suitable concluding report and presentations will be made at the WERA conference.


Drawing from other policy and research networks

This IRN will work cooperatively with the global Working Group on Health Literacy/Life Skills/Social Inclusion (See Appendix C) being established by the FRESH Partnership.  UNESCO, WHO, UNICEF, UNODC and other UN agencies as well as leading International NGO’s such as Education International, ASCD, Save the Children and others have already agreed to serve as core policy/program participants in this Working Group. Experts in health literacy, life skills, global citizenship, social & emotional learning and other fields have already agreed to provide the latest knowledge from their respective research/ knowledge development programs.


The IRN will also build on the knowledge being developed in other WERA IRN’s and in similar Special Interest Groups in educational research associations around the world. For example, WERA research networks on globalization, large scale student assessments, and teacher development could be consulted and involved at specific junctures. The recent work of the Australian Council for Educational Research on global citizenship is another example. The American Association for Educational Research has similar groups working on adolescence/youth development, chaos/complexity theories, violence prevention, citizenship and educational change. This IRN would draw from these sources and not duplicate their efforts.


There will be many questions arising from these wide-ranging discussions and there will need to be a research group, with expertise in education, to address the challenge of identifying pathways for global organizations and countries to integrate the vast array of potential learning goals in a manner relevant to their context and cultures.


This IRN will also draw from the global Delphi Consultation on What We Know (And Need to Know) in School Health & Development. This process will combine a Delphi Consultation with 150 experts on an extensive list of statements that will integrate the current state of knowledge based on research, regular surveys and administrative databases and program/professional experience with online activities such as web meetings and webinars. It is being led by an editorial/writing team of experts from several disciplines, including education, health, development and other sectors and many different parts of the world. The initial statements in that consultation relevant to this proposal are listed in Appendix B. They provide an initial basis for this discussion of education, curriculum/instruction and teacher development.


Further, as part of that Delphi Consultation, a multi-disciplinary, inter-sectoral research consortium of established research centres and programs is being established to follow up on the questions relating to “what we need to know” in school health, safety, equity, relief and development aid, social and sustainable development. This IRN would be positioned as the education sector member of that multi-faceted consortium.



Daniel Laitsch

Centre for the Study of Educational Leadership and Policy (CSELP)

Simon Fraser University

Vancouver, British Columbia


Douglas McCall

Executive Director

International School Health Network

Surrey, British Columbia


List of Participants

  • Dr. Daniel Laitsch, Director, Centre for Educational Leadership & Policy, Professor, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC

  • Dr. Paul Downes, Director, Educational Disadvantage Centre, Professor, Dublin City University, Ireland

  • Dr. Don Nutbeam, Professor of Public Health, School of Public Health. University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

  • Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Director, Human Early Learning Partnership, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

  • Michel Janosz, Directeur, École de Psychoéducation, Directeur, Groupe de recherche sur les environnements scolaires, Universite de Montreal, Canada

  • Dr. Masamine Jimba, Professor, School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Japan Consortium for Global School Health Research

  • Dr Sachi Tomokawa, Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education, Shinshu University, Japan

  • Ms. Rachel Parker, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)

  • Mr. Manuel Cardoso, Education Specialist, UNICEF, New York

  • Dr. Helen Bond, Associate Professor of Education at Howard University, Washington DC

  • Sara Zeiger, Senior Research Associate, Hedayah Center, United Arab Emirates

  • Dr. Feriha Peracha, Director of  the Sabaoon Centre, Pakistan

  • Dr. Joy-Telu Hamilton-Ekeke, Head of Department of Teacher Education Department, Niger Delta University, Nigeria

  • Dr. Suzanne Hargreaves, Senior Education Officer, Education Scotland, Teacher Fellow at the University of Stirling

  • Ms. Jasodhara Bhattacharya, Policy Analyst, Brookings Institution

  • Professor Kerry Kennedy, Research Chair Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Hong  Kong Institute of Education

  • Dr. Emma C Pearson, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD)

  • Mr. Philip Purnell, Manager, Educational Research & Innovation, South East Asia Ministers Education Organization INNOTECH

  • Dr. Jonathan Shepherd, Principal Research Fellow, Southampton Health Technology Assessments Centre, University of Southampton, UK



UNESCO (2016) Target 4.7, Data by Target, eAtlas for Education 2030, Paris, UNESCO


WHO (2016) Draft Shanghai Declaration on Health Promotion in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:

Ensuring sustainable health and well-being for all, Geneva, World Health Organization, p.6


Parker, Rachel and Fraillon, Julian, (2016) Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM): Global Citizenship Domain Assessment Framework, Australian Council for Educational Leadership,


UNESCO, (2016) International Conference on the Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education, New Delhi, UNESCO, Bangkok


Click here for reports and/or activities of the IRN:

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