Developing education in Peru: How Polar Partners is impacting over 114,000 children’s lives

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The program for establishing 75 new schools in Peru is progressing at a good speed. Companies from UK and Finland, including Polar Partners, are bringing their expertise and international best practices to Peru. The consortium called KOULU leads the program and works together with Peru’s Ministry of Education’s special project team PEIP-EB to develop local school construction know-how – and raise the level of education in Peru’s public schools.

At the end of 2021, the first meetings and workshops were held, and over 80 people from different companies and countries joined the program in the KOULU consortium. The members from Finland bring their pedagogical competence in leading the knowledge transfer team, creating a formal training program for clients team PEIP-EB as well as designing the new learning environments in Peru.

Senni Muiniekka, Polar Partners’ Knowledge Transfer Lead located in Lima, Peru reports:

“Since the beginning of 2022, we’ve been creating knowledge transfer processes, tools and management plan, among other things. In KOULU, we have teams in charge of different activities in the program such as schedule, cost, technical assurance, and my team for knowledge management, which has 10 members located in Finland, Spain and Peru. We are all creating the baseline structure and plans for the program, and getting to know our client. We have a committed team and we’re doing well.”

Senni Muiniekka

Maturity and capability assessments guide the competence development

The Bicentennial school program is a historically great opening for Finns and Finnish education experts. Expectations in Peru are high not only for the actual physical school buildings but also for measurable results in knowledge transfer. So far, the program and Polar Partners’ work have proceeded on schedule.

“An important part of the knowledge transfer process and measuring its impact are assessing the maturity of our client organization and the capabilities of its individuals. These assessments are made three times during the program to figure out the baseline and the target level at the end of the program. Based on the assessments, KOULU will adjust the plans and activities to help our client reach the target level of organizational maturity and individual capabilities. The expert-validated assessments are compared to the target levels with a visual heatmap tool,” Senni Muiniekka says.

Photo: PEIP-EB

Maturity and the capability assessments’ results guide the knowledge transfer team in creating the program-wide training program for PEIP-EB employees so they will be able to build their competencies in managing and implementing large-scale school infrastructure programs with international best practices in the future.

“We have already launched 55 different training courses in the Learning Management System (LMS), and the total of 120 courses will capacitate the client’s teams. As part of the knowledge team’s activities, Polar Partners’ team will carry out a pedagogical analysis, including a survey for teachers in these 75 schools and open dialogue with the Ministry of Education about future’s education development and teacher training in the country. The analysis of the current state of Peru’s education system is needed in providing training over 5,000 teachers on 21-st century education, social-emotional learning, and how to best use the new school facilities and learning environments for learning,” Senni Muiniekka illustrates.

An important part of KOULU’s and Polar Partner’s work is the legacy – all the documents, materials, and workshops, the whole LMS – the basis for the client to continue the work after the program. However, the most important legacy of the program is the benefit that more than 104,000 students and their families will gain within the scope of the program’s influence.

“For Polar Partners’ team the project foremost about education development rather than just constructing schools. This is our first project of this scale and as a result, the professional expertise of our team has grown enormously. Despite the different time zones and some challenges in information flow, we’re doing excellently. There’s a lot to be done and figured out this year, but I believe the year will be brilliant!”

Senni Muiniekka

Read more: Proyecto Especial de Inversión Publica | Escuelas Bicentenario

Photo: PEIP-EB