UNESCO rolls out training of teachers on open and distance education

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa is rolling out training of over 1500 teachers through its Rapid Teacher Training Programme on Open, Distance and Online Learning. 20 teacher trainers produced in February 2021 are rolling out the training to teachers on WhatsApp.

The programme is divided into three modules focused on high-tech, low tech and no tech tools. Various methods of teaching learners remotely will be explored, including hybrid or blended learning approaches, relevant for the Zimbabwean context. The objective of the programme is to equip Zimbabwean teachers with skills and resources to deliver different forms of remote learning.

The COVID pandemic has shone a spotlight on the need for countries across the globe to invest in education systems that respond effectively to disasters and enable teaching and learning to continue during and after crises. It marked a pivotal moment towards the worldwide adoption of open and digital learning as part of attempts to promote learning continuity under home-confined lockdown conditions.

Technology can and will not replace teachers in the coming years but we see technology playing a major role in complementing and improving the quality and access to education. This means that teachers need to accompany and facilitate this process and therefore need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to do so.

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa, is therefore investing in capacity building and training of teachers to fully utilize open, distance and online learning opportunities.

The first group of trained teachers welcomed the training and appreciated its relevance as a response to COVID.

I am now better equipped to respond to the needs of my learners during the COVID 19 times. Better equipped and empowered as a teacher summarizes my experience this week.
Pricilla, Mutare Adventist Primary School teacher

Arnold, a teacher from Marlborough High School in Harare described the programme as timely and solution-oriented during lockdowns.

Other teacher trainees acknowledged the fact that the training allowed them to change their attitude towards open and distance learning.


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