Competency-Based Teacher Training Reform to Facilitate ICT-Pedagogy Integration
With generous support from the Korean Funds-in-Trust (KFIT) and within the framework of the "Enhancing National Capacity to Foster Digital Citizenship Education in Asia-Pacific" Project, UNESCO Bangkok provides technical assistance to Member States that would like to implement competency-based teacher training reforms to facilitate ICT-pedagogy integration. This initiative will guide Member States in determining and developing the required ICT competencies for teachers that are clearly aligned with their policy vision, goals, and ICT in Education Master Plans. These national standards would serve as the basis in the development of a comprehensive roadmap that promotes competency-based teacher ICT training programmes where teachers’ development is systematically guided, monitored, assessed, and tracked at policy and institutional levels.
Riding on the success of the previously implemented "Supporting Competency-Based Teacher Training Reforms to Facilitate ICT-Pedagogy Integration” Project, this project expands the national capacity building efforts to more Member States in the Asia-Pacific region. It will continue to reference from exemplary country cases featured in the Diverse Approaches to Developing and Implementing Competency-based ICT Training for Teachers: A Case Study vol 1 and the experiences of three pilot countries (Nepal, Philippines, and Uzbekistan). The entire process and primary set of materials will be featured in the Guideline for Competency-based Teacher Training Reform to Facilitate ICT-Pedagogy Integration that consists of a package of generic tools/instruments, step-by-step guidance in developing and operationalizing the national ICT competency standards for teachers, training modules on development processes and mechanisms, and model country cases that will serve as valuable references for other governments and institutions in replicating and adapting the process in their own context. It will be available online by February 2018.
Realizing the importance of teachers’ capacity in successfully integrating ICT into their practices, governments, teacher education institutions, private sector, and NGOs alike provide various training for teachers – ranging from how to use a particular software, to how to integrate educational technologies, to how to innovate teaching to promote 21st century skills. However, more often than not, teachers’ actual use of ICT in the classroom is reported as incremental, merely reinforcing traditional teacher-centred approaches using slides and drill-and-practice exercises. Teachers’ use of ICT to innovate teaching is an exception rather than a norm.
A close examination of lessons learned from the past ICT in Education projects of UNESCO Bangkok revealed that the needs of the Asia-Pacific region are associated with a lack of alignment and coordination between national ICT in education policy and actual teacher development on how to effectively use ICT to enhance pedagogy and student learning. One-time off-site teacher trainings hardly create any impact on teachers’ instructional practices. Inappropriate tracking and monitoring of the teachers’ development and actual use/integration of ICT in the field, along with a lack of ongoing in-school support mechanism, have also been constantly raised in the region and beyond. This ultimately leads to low capacities among teachers to support ICT-in-education policies at the practice level.
This issue has been verbalized in various regional and local meetings in the region. In fact, in the “Asia-Pacific Regional Strategy on Using ICT to Facilitate the Achievement of SDG4” (Regional Strategy) that was recently endorsed by the Member States in the region, “ICT for improving the quality of teaching and teaching practices” came out as one of the four key priority areas in the region, with a special emphasis on the teacher’s central role in achieving this particular target. Towards this end, the Regional Strategy sets out the corresponding action point: “On the Quality of Teaching and Teaching Practices, Member States to develop competency standards for teachers towards ICT-integrated transformative pedagogies, and establish learning spaces and communities of practices to support teachers and share innovations.”
Last 16-17 October 2017, the project held its first annual meeting where pilot country teams shared their progress and achievements in relation to developing competency standards and enhancing their teacher training curriculum, along with key success factors and challenges faced. The new beneficiary countries (Mongolia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka) had an opportunity to consult the pilot countries as well as international experts and deliberate on the feasibility and action plans for their respective country implementations.The project team plans to sustain this learning-mentoring partnership throughout the project life, based on the recommendations from the Advisory Committee and the previous project’s external evaluator. The countries were able to come up with their initial workplans that they will discuss with their respective Ministry officials, for review and approval.
The six country teams were likewise requested to review and provide suggestions to the usability and effectiveness of the “Guideline for Competency-based Teacher Training Reform to Facilitate ICT-Pedagogy Integration”. They also had the chance to consult the Advisory Committee, invited experts, and project evaluators on next steps, including training of trainers, accreditation of training providers, assessment & recognition of teachers’ ICT competencies, and evaluation of the competency standards.
Country implementations are expected to commence in early 2018. Key stakeholders from relevant groups will be involved in various project activities (i.e. workshops, consultations, curriculum review and enhancement, training) at different phases to contribute to the development of the national roadmap for teachers’ professional development. These would include policy makers (agencies involved in ICT in education, curriculum, teacher training), national experts, teacher education/training institutions and providers, school administrators, teachers and teacher educators, teacher organizations, certification bodies and training accreditors, and other ICT in Education players in the country.