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New edtech to help tackle ‘the pandemic of learning poverty’

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Teachers using Teach2030 resources to learn and upskil

In a bid to change the future for hundreds of millions of children impacted by the global learning deficit, the Commonwealth Education Trust (CET) and its partners are today inviting millions of teachers and education leaders around the world to use their new approach to invest in teachers. The charity is today offering global access to its new digital professional teacher training programme, Teach2030.

These digital courses are mapped to Cambridge Teaching Standards to improve core teaching skills such as classroom management, lesson planning, assessment and other critical areas. It is a low-data solution designed for teachers working in under resourced settings, especially those in rural locations with large classrooms. These online training experiences are already delivering stronger teachers in a number of countries and are well positioned for the COVID-19 era.

Nabeel Goheer, Assistant Secretary General at The Commonwealth Secretariat, said, ”The pandemic has had a devastating impact on education across the Commonwealth and exacerbated the existing Learning Poverty crisis. Training for teachers is paramount to improve the quality of education across the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Education Trust is focused on a long term approach to investing in teachers and improving learning outcomes. We fully support its innovative initiative and approach to building the capacity of governments and educational organisations. Partnerships are the best way to deliver impact in today’s complex and dynamic world.”

Nick Jenkins, BBC’s Dragons’ Den, Moonpig.com founder, entrepreneur and EdTech investor is a CET Founders Circle member, he said, “Almost all African governments are already spending a significant amount on teachers’ salaries, but that money is wasted if they don’t have the training to teach well. A small amount spent on giving teachers the tools to be more effective has an impact on every child that teacher teaches, for the rest of their career. What CET is doing is thoughtful, sensible and much needed.”

CET is now actively looking for global investors like Nick as well as socially motivated schools and corporates to join its Founders Circle. The CET will be publicly and privately campaigning over the coming months to mobilise philanthropic investment from the private sector to fuel action. Corporate and individual philanthropists committed to promoting global education are invited to join its Founders Circle, to be involved in this international effort.

Those who join the Founders Circle benefit from directly funding this low-cost, globally scalable educational intervention and in creating new partnerships with schools, the charity and other Founders Circle members.

Mark Florman, CET Trustee and Founder of Time Partners is actively reaching out to potential funders. He said, “I am proud to be a trustee of the Commonwealth Education Trust.

This initiative will deliver improved teaching to hundreds of thousands of children for years to come, improving the quality of life for untold numbers. I urge supporters everywhere to get behind this initiative and help us make the Trust one of the cornerstones of delivering a better life to many.”

The Trust has already launched the Teach2030 professional training platform in partnership with a number of organisations in Zambia, Ghana and Tanzania, but now these teacher training tools are available in any country. The platform offers a wide curriculum of bitesize courses designed for teachers in developing nations.

All schools or education authorities in the private and public sectors can use this online training to upskill teachers and the roll-out can be almost instant as the resources are based online. The facilitator, head teacher and coach training modules, along with all part one of the courses, are free of charge.

Vikas Pota, Founder, T4 Education, said, “Quality teaching is the route to improving learning outcomes for underprivileged children. I am impressed by and fully support The Commonwealth Education Trust’s initiative to upskill teachers to drive down Learning Poverty. Teachers are at the heart of this capacity building intervention enabling them access to much needed, contextualised professional learning opportunities.”

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Betty Abeng, CET Trustee, said, “I joined CET because growing up in Cameroon I saw these education challenges first hand. I remember struggling to really learn from well intentioned but ineffective teachers. Looking back, I realise what they needed was support and CPD. That’s why what we are offering is so important.

OurTeach2030 programme encourages teachers to try new techniques that are more child centred while at the same time they are developing their own digital literacy. I think it’s important to say that this is a blended approach bringing together relevant technology, low data usage, local governments and teachers all into one holistic solution. So it’s a win win situation that our partners and users are finding works very quickly and effectively to improve outcomes for children in the long-term.”

The Executive Director of CET, Kat Thorne, said, “During school visits in both urban and rural communities in countries such as Zambia and South Africa, I have seen for myself the challenges that teachers face. One class I spent time in had 120 children in it. Teachers are under supported and desperately need contextualised and flexible learning opportunities in order to be empowered to teach better.”

Warwick in Africa, which supports teachers in various African countries to build capacity, has partnered with CET to bring Teach2030 to their underserved communities. CET provides these organisations with the materials and tools to deliver and run long-term, high quality Continuous Professional Development.

Ruth Dorrell, Programme Manager, Warwick in Africa said, “We are delighted to be working with CET and have seen a tremendous response and appetite for this form of learning from teachers who are really excited to have the opportunity to learn online. We plan to have 500 teachers from our partner schools on the platform by the end of 2021. We are proud to see our partnership and the network of Teach 2030 teachers grow.”

Educational organisations can start training programmes immediately without the need for travel into hard to reach, remote areas due to the whole school programme modules, available on the digital platform. The tool provides partners with a bespoke CPD solution aligned to their specific context.

Today, CET also reveals its completely new brand to emphasise the exclusive focus on digital upskilling of teachers in lower income countries. The whole charity has been rebranded and the Trust now has a contemporary, interactive website with a fresh look and feel that brings to life its new programmes and campaigns. The new communications strategy including brand and website were implemented and designed by international strategic consultancy, Raise Partners.

Kat Thorne continued, “Traditional teacher CPD has not been working for too long with disastrous consequences for children and teachers. We needed to re-think the whole approach to CPD and change the traditional model to be one that is far more effective, even in the most remote, challenging contexts that many teachers find themselves in.

We now have this new model and I’m thrilled to see it making a huge impact on the ground. I want to encourage anyone who’s interested in seeing this work expand to contact us at CET so together we can change the future of even more children.”

Jeffrey Twentyman, CET board chair, said, “The learning crisis now holds back the potential of 1 in 2 children around the world and it is a root cause behind so many human rights issues. It’s almost like a learning poverty pandemic that is gripping hundreds of millions of children, stifling their life chances. We believe that there is one key actor to change a child at risk of not learning and that is their teacher.

So we are empowering local teachers with what they need to grow and develop over the long-term, with context relevant tools. That’s why we have re-launched the Commonwealth Education Trust today with a renewed emphasis on up skilling teachers. And of course this is all in alignment with the aims of UN Sustainable Development Goal 4.”

Since the 1950s, the Commonwealth Education Trust has been dedicated to advancing education across the globe.

Teachers or education leaders interested to know more can get in touch with the Commonwealth Education Trust.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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