Building peace in the minds of men and women

Capacity Building on UNESCO’s OER platform under the Kenya ICT Competency Framework for Teachers

UNESCO and Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) proceeded with a face-to-face training on knowledge deepening in ICTs for teachers in Nairobi, Kenya on 10 and 11 February 2015 to be followed by a 12-week online course.

The integration and application of ICT in education is a high priority in Kenya and UNESCO is assisting the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the Teacher Service Commission and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development in the development of Open Education Resource materials in ICT integration in education. Fifty master trainers drawn from all the 47 counties, including two special needs teachers, attended the two-day face-to-face training in Nairobi.

With the integration of ICT in education, the roles of teachers definitely take a different turn. Instead of being the knowledge transmitters, they automatically become the facilitators of learning processes. Therefore this capacity building equipped the master trainers with various skills and competencies on how to train other teachers and holistically understand the concept of ICT integration. Ms Janet Mayora of Mwijabu Primary school, Mombasa County stated, “With the advent of ICT integration in education, most school operations are bound to change; there’s going to be a shift from the traditional way of teaching to the modern way. Learning will shift from the long boring lectures to student centered approach. Online learning and web-based courses will grow to enable students to directly access information sources on their own.”

The training also focused on teachers with special needs. Mr Collins Odanga, a visually impaired teacher at Tambach Teachers’ College, Uasin Gishu County, stated, “The ICT integration for learners with disabilities is extremely important avenue to manage disability related challenges. Some types of disabilities pose a big challenge when using the orthodox chalk-talk approach. For instance, for a visually impaired person or one with physical challenge it might be almost impossible to write on a chalkboard. Therefore, the use of computer and a projector is a good solution for this challenge. In addition, the voice programmes, such as jaws for windows, thunder, NVDA and many others will transform the digital life of visually impaired persons and enable them to use the computer just like everybody else. The acquisition of ICT skills will definitely improve the employability level of people with disabilities.”

At the end of the workshop, participants expressed their satisfaction about understanding how the KICT CFT fits into the larger picture of Kenyan educators’ professional development. They also appreciated a better understanding of Open Education Resources and UNESCO’s ICT CFT, as well as their potential use. Mr Bonga Jobunga from Asumbi Teachers’ Training College, Homabay County stated, “The introduction of new learning platforms will help teachers and learners meet various teaching, learning and communication objectives. The introduction of ICT will help improve communication with parents. This is considered to be important in reducing the home-school divide. For enhanced teacher delivery and improved learner participation, parents play a critical role. Enhancing communication with them will, therefore, result in an increased curriculum delivery.”

This activity falls within UNESCO’s mandate to assisting educational planners and teacher training course developers to prepare teachers for making effective use of technology solutions. This activity is a direct follow-up to the 2012 World Congress on Open Educational Resources which released the Paris Declaration on OERs calling on governments to openly license all educational materials produced with public funds. Supported by a generous grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (USA), UNESCO is working with the Governments of Kenya, Oman, Bahrain and Indonesia to implement dynamic and relevant policies to guide and recognize teachers and learners to find, adapt, use, develop and share Open Educational Resources.