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«TECHNOLOGY - CURRICULUM - COST - EVALUATION Summary of Case Studies Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, India, Mongolia, Nigeria, South Africa (two ...»

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Summary of

Case Studies

Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, India, Mongolia,

Nigeria, South Africa (two studies), United Kingdom


October 2001


Education Sector, Higher Education Division, Teacher Education Section in cooperation with E-9 Initiative

UNESCO editorial co-ordination:

Ratimir Kvaternik The studies were designed and executed by the International Research Foundation for Open Learning under the direction of Hilary Perraton, under contract with UNESCO.

Contracted principal authors:

Hilary Perraton, Bernadette Robinson, Charlotte Creed International Research Foundation for Open Learning, (IRFOL), Cambridge, UK

Contracted authors of the country contributions:

Bernadette Robinson – Mongolia Charles Potter – South Africa Cristian Cerda, Miriam Leon, Miguel Ropoll - Chile Joao Batista Oliveira- Brazil Jean-Francois Terret – Burkina Faso Ram Narain Mehrotra - India Rashid Ederinoye - Nigeria Rob Walker – United Kingdom Wei Yuan Zhang, Niu Jian – China The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of facts contained in this book and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization.

The designations employed and the presentation of materiel throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Any part of this document may be freely reproduced with the appropriate acknowledgement.

For further information please contact:


Higher Education Division, Teacher Education Section 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France Fax: +33 (0)1 45 68 56 26 ©UNESCO 2001

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E cation. By releasing this summary document early it is hoped that Member States will be able to consider the overall trends and national experiences described therein, in F their present teacher training development activities. The rich detail, which will follow in the individual full-text case studies, is intended for use by programme planners and researchers during 2002-2003.

A These case studies represent a major activity in one of UNESCO’s main lines of action, C as summarized in the Organization’s Approved Programmes and Budget for 2000C/5), paragraph 01240. In that paragraph reference is made to the fact that “The General Conference authorizes the Director-General: (a) to implement an interE sectoral project entitled ‘The status of teachers and teacher education in the information society’, in order to assist Member States in renewing teaching methods and the training of teachers at all levels, and, using open and distance education approaches, adapting them to the emerging information society, and…” These case studies also follow up the recommendations concerning teacher education using distance learning that were made by the World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE, Paris, October 1998), the World Forum on Education (Dakar, April 2000), and the Seventh Sesssion of the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee on the Application of the Recommendations concerning the Status of Teachers (Geneva, September 2000).

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The world needs better teachers and more teachers. The Dakar conference revealed that there were still more than 100 million children out of school: they need teachers as the world moves towards the 2015 target of education for all. And we need to raise the skills of the existing 60 million teachers, too many of whom are untrained and unqualified. Beyond that, the skills and knowledge all teachers need are no longer fixed and familiar targets but moving ones. Teachers therefore need more opportunities than ever before to go on learning throughout their careers. One of the ways of strengthening the teaching profession is to use distance education or open and distance learning.

1.1 Why the case studies UNESCO commissioned this set of case studies because of demands from Member States for guidance on implementing programmes of distance education for teachers. The studies are therefore intended to document experience on which to base the Guidelines for teacher education at a distance, a separate document from this, to be published in 2002.

More specifically we wanted to find out what open and distance learning was being used for in teacher education, how effectively it was working, and what methods it was using. In asking how effectively it was working, we wanted to examine its record in attacking the major problems confronting teacher education.

There are two kinds of question here: about effectiveness and about relevance. To gauge effectiveness we were looking for data on completion rates and comparative costs and for any indicators of effects on the work of teachers in the classroom or the community. To assess relevance we wanted to discover whether the initiatives were a significant, sustainable, part of the service of teacher education or a small, peripheral, activity with little chance of making any major impact on the problems.

If open and distance learning for teachers is effective, and working on a big enough scale to be actually or potentially significant, then it is worth going on to ask how it is managed. We therefore went on to ask about the curriculum of open and distance learning initiatives, and the extent to which this matches that of other forms of teacher education and professional development. We also looked at organisational structures, and the kinds of organisations that provide teacher-education programmes, and the different patterns of funding. We looked at the technologies, ranging from print to computers, and the relationship between work done through the technologies and work done face-to-face, including all-important issues about classroom practice.

1.2 Educational needs and problems Many countries still do not have enough teachers. In some, the expansion needed in the teaching force is far beyond the capacity of traditional colleges. The supply of teachers is also adversely affected in countries where retention rates are low for newly trained teachers or where significant numbers of teachers are being lost through HIV-AIDS or in rural areas which have difficulties in recruiting and retaining teachers.

Teacher quality is an issue in most countries. Many teachers are untrained or underqualified or teaching subjects in which they are not qualified or trained. In addition, teachers face a widening range of demands and roles. National governments, international organisations and specific circumstances continually set new goals: gender parity by 2005 and universal basic education by 2015; inclusive education; education for democracy, peace and social cohesion; multi-grade teaching; increased accountability for achieving learning targets; the development of learners who are self-managing and independent, skilled in critical thinking and problem solving, equipped with life-skills; the preparation of learners who are competent for knowledge-based economies, capable in the use of information technology; and the expansion of teachers’ roles to include social work in communities where child-headed households and orphans are common as a result of HIV-AIDS.

The attention given to teacher education and their continuing professional development has in many cases lagged behind that given to other parts of the education system. Some countries lack a policy for it, though the importance of teachers is emphasised in many international reports (e.g., UNESCO 1998, UNESCO 2000, OECD 2001). Although there is wide recognition that teacher education, training and professional development need to be integrated, in ways that operationalise lifelong learning for teachers, the resources allocated to it are usually inadequate and the opportunities too few. In some countries teachers can expect one week’s in-service professional development once every five to ten years. On average, countries spend around one per cent of their annual education expenditure on the continuing professional development of teachers (business and industry typically spend 6 per cent on staff development).

All of this creates new challenges for teacher education and continuing professional development: the need to find ways of using existing resources differently, of expanding access to learning opportunities at affordable cost, of providing alternative pathways to initial teacher training, of drawing on new constituencies of the population to work as teachers, of using technologies appropriately to enrich a teachers’ context and support practice, of stimulating and supporting teachers’ active learning and of reconceptualising the traditional organisation of initial teacher education and continuing development.

Can open and distance learning respond to these challenges ? The case studies here offer some answers, in describing a range of uses of open and distance learning for both initial and continuing teacher education, using a variety of technologies.

1.3 The case studies Initial teacher education and training is the programme of studies which leads to qualified teacher status according to the official standards of a country. It is the basic or first level of qualification for a teacher. It may be taken as a pre-service programme (before a trainee teacher begins work as a teacher) or an inservice one (while an untrained teacher is working as a teacher).

Continuing professional development enables teachers to extend existing knowledge and skills and develop new ones. Some of this takes the form of long structured courses leading to formal qualifications (diplomas or bachelor’s or master’s degrees). Other forms are shorter, concentrate on skills in managing children’s learning or curriculum change and do not lead to additional qualifications. In some countries, qualified and unqualified teachers alike participate in continuing professional development. It may be provided as inservice activities (on-the-job learning) or out-of-school courses of varying length (off-the-job or in vacations).

We have categorised the case studies in four ways. First, some countries have used distance education to provide a route to initial qualifications for significant numbers of teachers, both new entrants to teaching and experienced unqualified teachers. The China Television Teachers College and the National Teachers’ Institute in Nigeria have long experience of this approach and have become a recognised and institutionalised part of the regular education system in their countries. In a programme that reflects an official policy shift towards more school-based training, the Open University in Britain has run a school-based qualifying programme for graduates who want to enter teaching but have had no professional teacher training.

Second, initial teacher education is no longer seen as enough. Distance education is therefore also being used to raise the skills, deepen the understanding and extend the knowledge of teachers. Some programmes are broadly focused while others are targeted at specialist groups. Programmes are taken either by individuals or by groups of teachers who are encouraged to participate by their schools or their employers, as can be seen in these case studies. For example, a non-profit television station is taking the lead on supporting school groups in Brazil. In other cases, programmes are available for individual teachers who want to improve their skills and their status, often enrolling on an individual basis, and at their own expense. Indira Gandhi National Open University in India has a number of programmes of this kind of which its Certificate in Guidance is one. The University of South Africa also offers programmes on this basis.

Their BEd programmes are for experienced underqualifed teachers and also new entrants to teaching, which serve to meet individual goals as well as contributing to the policy goal of a graduate teaching force. Some programmes are aimed at the upgrading of teachers’ qualifications required by official policy as new standards are set in a country (as in China).

Third, distance education can have a role in programmes of curriculum reform which aim to change either the content or the process of education. In South Africa, the Open Learning Systems Educational Trust is using radio to improve the teaching of English, and to support teachers in this work. In Mongolia, radio and print are used across large distances to re-orient teachers to official changes in curriculum and teaching methods within a country in transition. In response to policy initiatives aimed at establishing the use of ICT in schools, the Universidad de la Frontera in Chile is using ICT to support teachers who are teaching these subjects.

Fourth, distance education has been used for teachers’ career development. As they seek promotion, or aim for the next qualification level, or aspire to become a headteacher, or work in a teachers’ college, or become an inspector, teachers need to acquire new skills. A multinational distance education project in West Africa has developed a training programme in school management for headteachers and aspiring heads.

These categories inevitably overlap: career development may be regarded as part of continuing professional development; it blurs a distinction between the initial education of new recruits to teaching and of experienced but unqualified teachers. Some of the programmes have more than one audience, qualified and unqualified teachers, teachers studying for initial qualifications and those using the same programmes to upgrade their qualifications.

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