Mrs Elizabeth Gabona, the Director of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education and Sports has called on teachers to keep traditional practices as they embrace new approaches.
“New approaches such as ICT and Open education resources (OERs) will only develop smoothly if teachers keep some traditional best practices such as instilling core values like self esteem in children,” she said.
The comments were made at the Teacher Education in Sub- Saharan Africa (TESSA) workshop on ICT and OER pedagogies organised by the Department of Science, Technical and Vocational Education (DSTVE), CEES recently. Dr Henry Busulwa, the Chair DSTVE said the workshop aimed to establish a forum on ICT and OERs pedagogies for professional development of primary and lower secondary science teachers.
The TESSA project is made up of a consortium of universities in Africa which brings together teachers and teacher educators from across sub-Saharan Africa. It offers open education resources to support school based teacher education and training.
The Minister of state for Higher Education, Hon John Chrysostom Muyingo, in a speech read for him by Mrs Gabona urged participants to continue to inspire change in the teaching and learning environment not only through greater awareness of pupil centred teaching and learning using ICT and open education resources but also by continuing to support positive action for such changes through continued networking and through forums.
“We must be a source of hope for the remote schools that cannot harness resources constantly. The constant advance in the use of ICT and Open resources in the teaching and learning arena will do it for us and we must utilise it fully,” he added.
Commenting on the success of the project, Kris Stutchbury Senior Lecturer Faculty of Education and Language, Open University U.K and Coordinator TESSA Secondary Science shared that versioning the TESSA materials made them relevant to children’s everyday life and authentic to the country they were being used. She said a considerable number of countries had integrated the materials into their courses. She observed that the TESSA materials had registered a positive influence on teacher training and teacher education and noted the bottom up approach in which teachers were using materials in their practice and changing the policies.
The Principal Education Officer in the Ministry of Education Mr Wilber Wanyama said the TESSA materials made teaching and learning more interesting. He advised teachers to change their teaching approaches in order to meet the challenges posed by ICTs which are here to stay.
In Uganda the TESSA project is working with Makerere University College of Education and External Studies and Kyambogo University along with several Primary Teacher Colleges. Initiated by the Open University of the United Kingdom, project materials are available on the TESSA website www.tessa.africa.org, as printed booklets and on CDROMS. The materials are flexible, can be easily shared and reused within the TESSA network.
As a means for project sustainability, a TESSA-OER teachers’ network was formed at the end of the workshop as a platform for continued use of ICT and other OERs in teaching and learning. The network will meet annually at Makerere University to share achievements and challenges.