Varkey Foundation Teacher Training

Project Representative
Mr. Vikas Pota
Creation Date: 2007
Headquarters: London, UK
Geographical Reach: International
Nature and number of beneficiaries: 23,000 teachers and students
Expertise: Unspecified
Contact

Varkey Foundation Teacher Training

About the Project

The Varkey Foundation believes that education frees people from poverty, and that the greatest impact on student outcomes can be achieved by improving teaching quality. The Varkey Foundation’s vision is for every child to benefit from a great teacher. To this end the Foundation have designed a suite of teacher training programmes, aimed at school principals and senior management team members, teachers, and government officials, is based on best-practice international teaching methods that build student-centered learning approaches into the classroom, whole-school leadership and management techniques, teacher self-efficacy and student/teacher performance/commitment. The Varkey Foundation Teacher Training Program has committed to train 250,000 teachers over the next 10 years for communities across the world. A creative approach to developing a learning community of professionals is a key success criterion for the program.

Context and Issue

The project addresses the following educational challenges:

- Training effectiveness: quantity and quality of training available is limited. Traditional approaches to teacher training are not successful in changing behavior
- Resource constraints: schools poorly equipped/increased class sizes due to free primary education
- Teacher absenteeism: poor teacher pay/low status/lack of accountability, resulting in teacher absenteeism, seeking alternative incomes
- Teacher skills: teachers have limited qualifications/training. Trainee teachers tend to enter teacher training colleges having completed only basic education (UNESCO, 2011)
 
The challenge is to transform traditional methods of teacher-centered teaching into student-centered teaching and learning methodologies that encourage higher-order thinking skills, going beyond just repeating or memorization to applying and learning. It is known that  developing the quality of teaching through child-centered interactive professional development activities has a greater impact on educational attainment. Both the Instructional Leadership Program (ILP) and Train for Tomorrow (T4T) aim to empower and enable educational leaders within Ugandan and Ghanaian schools to deliver powerful pedagogy that will directly impact student outcomes.

Solution and Impact

The project model was developed by converging concepts applied to other Global Teacher Training Projects, reshaping ideas to suit the immediate context and the cultural and social environments. Each module is designed to have the capacity to address individual challenges and practices, building on identified strengths. Training can be delivered both via face-to-face rtraining or through distance learning via satellite technology. Identified educational leaders learn how to use active engagement strategies to train other adults, as well as developing their pedagogical knowledge. Through inclusion of partners, the ILP can facilitate the formation of Learning Communities to support a sustainable context-focused project.
 
Over the three and a half years since the ILP was introduced in Uganda, the Foundation has trained 22,000 teachers to improve the educational experience of students, of which over 3000 have been trained face-to-face. This has had a positive impact on the educational experience of over 1 million students (with an average of 50 students per class). A key factor was the program implemented at multiple levels of the Ugandan education system to ensure sustainability and empower school leaders to create their own professional learning communities built on outstanding practice to transform the Ugandan education system from teacher-centered to student-centered learning.

Future Developments

Future Developments 
The project aims to:
 
1. Select and develop the "Beacon" schools of excellence. These schools will train other schools in their districts and offer opportunities for staff from other schools to observe identified staff applying strategies/pedagogy.
2. Develop a country hub, providing key training for staff undertaking roles in other countries to which the ILP is extended. The project would provide the systems, processes, materials, resources, and information to enable the program to be successfully implemented.
3. Undertake needs analysis, developing locally tailored content and delivery. This includes understanding current teacher-training approaches, curriculum, student performance, and typical strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges for teaching and learning.
4. Develop partnerships with local stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education and NGOs to establish support ensuring that it meets local needs, embedding the program within the context and making sure it has the greatest possible impact.
5., Establish a local advisory board to support fundraising and build program profile.

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