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Sossion: Use global curricula in training teachers

OPINION
By Wilson Sossion | March 22nd 2021
Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion.

Globalisation and education are highly interrelated from a historical view. At the basic level, historical processes identified as essential precursors to political-economic globalisation during the late modern colonial and imperialist eras, influenced the development and rise of mass education.

Thus, what we commonly see around the world today as education and mass schooling of children could be regarded as a first instance of globalisation’s impact on education.

As in many non-Western contexts, traditional education was conceived as small-scale, community-based and apprenticeship or religious training.

It is against this spectacle that Unesco and World Bank Group, in their Education 2030 Agenda, note that education is a public good, a fundamental human right and a basis for guaranteeing the realisation of other rights.

The two bodies reaffirm that teachers are the key to achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all.

Hence, teacher education and training requires urgent attention, with a more immediate deadline, because the equity gap in education is exacerbated by the shortage and uneven distribution of professionally trained teachers.  

The role of teachers in a child’s education has changed fundamentally in the new paradigm.

Instruction by teachers doesn’t consist primarily of lecturing learners, but rather, teachers will offer every child a rich, rewarding and unique learning experience.

The educational environment is not confined to the classroom; it extends into the home and community.

In the new model of teaching and learning, students are not consumers of facts. They are active creators of knowledge. Most importantly, teaching is recognised as one of the most challenging and respected career choices vital to the social, cultural, and economic health of a country.

We are talking of teachers who can adapt the new practices and changes in education fast enough, considering the current pedagogies and course designs are giving way to new approaches that are learner-centered, involve active learning, active processing of information, latest technology and real-world applications model on professional practice.

The new teacher education and training initiative prescribes the incorporation of languages, cultures and traditions in community contexts as well as technology in the broadest sense.

Moreover, a modern teacher should promptly understand learners and find a way to nurture their talents.

To do this, teachers would need the knowledge and skills to construct and manage their teaching and learning activities.

They should also be able to communicate well and use technology efficiently. Hence, teachers should be given appropriate tools during training, including content knowledge and modern skills to be able to do their work professionally.

As a result of the teacher education and training initiative, a concept being advocated by Unesco among other development partners, Kenyan teachers would now need to acquire additional knowledge and skills, both general and specific to be able to survive and be successful in the 21st Century school environment.

The globalisation concept fronted by Unesco and World Bank Group, if taken into account, would require that teachers and teaching to be recognised just like other professions.

Moreover, teachers should go through stringent training and acquisition of knowledge and skills; and more importantly, there should be a global council for unified teacher registration to allow for easy mobility of teachers across the globe.

Potential candidates

This means teacher education and training should be globalised by means of common-core curricula, which would dictate the form initial and in-service teacher education and training takes.

It is necessary that we understand and accept the fact that the globalisation scenario has come, and it is here to stay forever.

Once teacher education and training are globalised, it will enable us to develop global/regional teacher qualification frameworks with clear guidelines on standard entry requirements to teacher training colleges and university at various levels of training. 

The Ministry of Education has set the entry requirement to TTCs just too high, locking out hundreds of potential candidates.

Interestingly, setting entry requirements for TTCs according to Article 237 (3) (a) and (c) of the Constitution is a prerogative of Teachers Service Commission and not the Ministry of Education, which now purports to decide who qualifies to proceed for teacher training.

-Mr Sossion is a nominated MP and Secretary-General of Knut

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