Improving teacher’s delivery through need based trainings

Jan 17, 2019-

British Council Nepal has been supporting government and non-government entities in Nepal to improve the quality of education at the school level. The organisation has successfully implemented many programmes targeted to bring positive changes in the education system and is currently involved in programmes such as teacher training and school partnership and policy support. Starting last year, the organisation has been organising an annual education symposium on different themes by bringing together experts and stakeholders to share and discuss on the issues that they face in their respective fields.

The symposium titled ‘Teachers Professional Development’ was held on January 14. The event had policy makers, administrators, head teachers, leaders of teachers associations, researchers, NGOs and private sectors, and development partners, who shared their experiences and perspectives on teachers’ development and its impact in the classrooms.

Until very recently, training the teachers was the sole responsibility of  the federal government. But with the country embracing the federal set-up, the responsibility is now shared by the provincial and local government. In the federal government’s School Sector Development Plan, a six-year programme designed to enhance the quality of school education, one of the top priorities is teacher development. The programme not only talks about face-to-face training but also highlights the importance of the senior teachers to mentor the junior teachers, action research and other blended forms of professional development. The changes in the government structure and education priorities come with great opportunities for teachers’ professional development but not without challenges.

The symposium was also a platform for British Council and other education stakeholders to present evidences from their researches and projects related to the professional development of teachers in schools, to the concerned stakeholders. There was also a discussion among the internationally acclaimed experts about issues and challenges around continuing professional development of teachers’ in South Asia.

Education Secretary Khag Raj Baral, said that such symposiums are crucial as they come with informed recommendations on how the education system can move forward as the system undergoes decentralisation. He also added that teacher trainings need to be designed in such a way that the teachers show willing to adopt them.

During the discussion, the experts said that the trainings must be designed according to the need of the ground reality rather than being supply driven. They also said that trainings has to be applicable in the classrooms. Prof. Arifa Rahman, an expert from Bangladesh, said that talking about using audio-visual and information and communications technology (ICT) during teacher trainings were meaningless unless the schools that the teachers teach are equipped with those facilities. “The use of resources varies with the affordability of respective countries. Training on use of modern technology to the teachers would be meaningless unless students have access to them,” she said.

In his remarks, the British Ambassador to Nepal Richard Morris said that professional development of teachers is a very important subject tied to the future of the country. “This is a conference that really matters, and where the deliberations can make things better, not just for individual young people, but for the country as a whole,” he said.

Country Director of British Council Nepal Dr Jovan Ilic said teachers are an important part of the education system. He said that the teachers are on the front line to improve the country’s education, but they alone can’t transform the entire system. He said that it should be a joint effort of the teachers, students, parents and policy makers. “If any of these parts doesn’t work, the whole system doesn’t work. Thus, we need to keep ensuring that this process runs smoothly to improve the country’s education quality,” he said.

The day-long event also saw experts and stakeholders raised questions on the extent of knowledge gained by the teachers during the trainings are actually transferred to the students. They highlighted the status of the knowledge transfer in Nepal and the South Asian region and also explored the reasons behind its failure. They concluded that delivery in the classrooms is not possible unless teachers are dedicated, trainers are competent enough to motivate the teachers, training packages are contextual and there are appropriate policies to support. During the discussion, experts from India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh said it was necessary to engage the learners in learning, measuring impacts instead of just keeping records of the trained teachers, reviewing trainer’s license, using technology to enable learning. “I strongly believe scrutiny must be in the classrooms to evaluate the performance of the teachers. However, special attention should be given so that teachers are not intimidated by the scrutiny,” said Maya Menon, director of The Teacher Foundation, an NGO that works for teachers and school development in India.

Published: 17-01-2019 08:40

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