In Service Teacher Training
KTWG’s Mobile teacher trainers (MTT) have been providing in service training for Karen teachers since 2001. MTT visit teachers in their schools, observe their classroom practices and provide support and feedback. Based on classroom observation and feedback from teachers MTT provide training in response to identified needs.
Short training sessions for teachers are organized during the school year. The major training is Summer Vacation Training, an intensive four week training for teachers during the school summer break.
Mobile teacher trainers provide much needed support and training for teachers who are often isolated in their communities. Even as the conflict in many Karen areas has recently subsided, the remoteness of many communities and long travel times involved in Karen areas, mean that it is difficult for teachers to assemble outside their communities to attend training, without significantly disrupting student learning.
The model also allows MTT to engage with communities and school management along with teachers.
Pre Service Teacher Training (Karen Teacher Training Colleges)
The first Karen Teacher Training College opened in June 2004 as a training center for Karen youth interested in becoming teachers in schools in Karen State, Burma. A second campus opened in 2007. The colleges provide a two-year pre service teacher training program for aspiring teachers from Karen areas who commit to return to teach in their local communities after completing the program.
First year students focus on subject upgrade while second year students hone their teaching skills, studying teaching methodology subjects. The course also touches on education management and leadership skills, community based curriculum development and critical thinking.
The colleges maintain links with Karen state schools and communities to ensure that the curriculum remains responsive to the needs of local communities.
Education Assistance (Karen State Education Assistance Group – KSEAG)
The Karen State Education Assistance Group was formed in 2005 to provide education assistance to Karen schools in Eastern Burma. Every year we provide teacher stipends, teaching materials, student learning materials and recreation equipment to schools across Eastern Burma.
In 2013/2014, KSEAG supported 6154 teachers, 141632 students and 1294 schools.
The Karen Education Assistance Group is a partnership between the Karen Teacher Working Group (KTWG) and the Karen Education Department (KED). We work with the existing Karen Education system to strengthen the education governance structures while delivering education assistance.
The program emerged as a result of our mobile teacher trainers experiences visiting teachers and schools. They found that the teachers they were training had to divert their time and attention from teaching to focus on food production to support themselves and their families. Teachers who could afford to teach, had no materials to use in the classroom and students did not have access to basic learning and recreation materials.
In response to these needs, we now provide teacher stipends, teaching and learning materials and recreation materials to Karen schools across Eastern Burma, allowing teachers to teach and teach more effectively and improving students’ learning experience.
Multi-ethnic Network – Eastern Burma Community Schooling Project (EBCS)
In 2011 as the situation in Burma was evolving, KTWG recognised the need to connect with other ethnic groups across the country. We shared our model of working in Karen areas and helped develop a multi ethnic network of education actors. This network is now using the KTWG model to assist their own schools and communities across indigenous areas, through the Eastern Burma Community Schooling Project (EBCS).
The KTWG teacher training model is now being used by 22 local organisations across 14 indigenous areas to provide teacher training, school management support and community mobilisation across Eastern and Northern Burma. The project reaches indigenous communities in Chin, Kachin, Shan, Kayin, Kayak and Mon states and in Bago, Tannithiryi, Mandalay and Sagaing Regions.
As well as providing mobile teacher trainers the EBCS project oversees the Teacher Preparation Centre (TPC). TPC is a multi-ethnic pre service teacher training college providing teaching methodology, leadership and other relevant training for aspiring indigenous teachers, who are selected by organisations within the EBCS network.
You can find more information about the Eastern Burma Community Schooling Project here.
While visiting schools and teachers, our mobile teacher trainers (MTT) engage with parents and communities to support children’s learning and around education issues more broadly.
We conduct parent education sessions to help parents, who may have limited education themselves, understand the value and benefit of education for their children. The sessions provide guidance for parents about how to best support their children’s learning and provide a forum to facilitate greater understanding between parents and teachers.
We also engage the communities we work in more broadly around education issues such as mother tongue language of instruction, decentralisation and local curriculum. This work has been of particular importance in the current political environment in Burma. A number of policy decisions are being made which affect indigenous communities including around education. Our MTT take the opportunity to engage the community around these issues to better equip them to contribute and respond to the policy issues being discussed at the central government level.
Strengthening School Management
Through our programs we support and help to strengthen school management. We do this at the local level by supporting head teachers and school management committees and by supporting the Karen Education Department’s (KED) education administration system.
Our mobile teacher trainers engage local school management during their visits to communities and provide mentoring and training to help develop and strengthen day-to-day management of schools and teachers.
As part of the Karen State Education Assistance Group (KSEAG) we work with the Karen Education Department (KED) to deliver education assistance. Through this activity we also work to strengthen the broader Karen education management systems.
Through KSEAG we have supported the development of a Karen school and teacher database to help facilitate and coordinate administration of the Karen Education System. In 2014 we are supporting the development of a database of almost 150,000 individual students currently studying in schools administered by the Karen Education Department.
By developing education management at the local and at the systemic level we are supporting local governance of education for Karen people.