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20 Teacher Resource Centres to be launched in the Maldives

MALE’, Maldives, 22 November 2007 – The Ministry of Education and UNICEF will celebrate the inauguration of 20 Teacher Resource Centres (TRC) across the Maldives on 26 November 2007.

Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, TRCs are part of a broader programme with the Ministry of Education and UNICEF to bring an improved quality of education to every Maldivian child.

“One of the main constraints of achieving our goal of quality education has been the remoteness of individual communities,” said the Minister of Education, Honorable Zahiya Zareer. “The establishment of TRCs and the provision of broadband internet with access to virtual learning environments is a giant leap towards achieving quality education.”

“All children should have access to the same opportunities, regardless of where they live,” said UNICEF Representative Ken Maskall. “A good quality education will help Maldivian children to make more valuable contributions to their communities.”

To help children become more actively engaged in their education, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF have been working to transform the education system in the Maldives from teacher-centred rote learning to child-centred active learning. This initiative has helped introduce child-friendly learning to all registered pre-schools and 105 primary schools throughout the Maldives.

Ensuring teachers are trained in child-friendly methodology is key to sustaining these hard-won gains and – in the future – expanding the programme across the country. Transport has been one of the most significant barriers to teacher training in the Maldives. Up to 80% of staff training costs  in the Maldives are transport-related and qualified trainers, especially those with expertise in child-friendly teaching and learning, have previously been only available in Male’.

“In a country where the population is dispersed over 200 islands, and where transportation is prohibitively expensive, bringing teachers for in-service training to Male’ was a huge challenge,” said UNICEF Education Specialist, Ameena Mohamed Didi. “So the strategy that the Ministry of Education and UNICEF came up with was to establish Teacher Resource Centres.”

The TRCs also facilitate the establishment of one learning community in the Maldives – for the first time linking administrators and teachers all across the country to a common network. Through the Educational Development Centre (EDC) Teacher Resource website, teachers can sit in front of a computer in their atoll’s TRC, search for materials for their next lessons, download syllabi, and share their own ideas with colleagues in other islands. Through the virtual learning environment developed for EDC by Cambridge International Examinations, up to 400 teachers could simultaneously receive training by participating in an online course and interacting with one another.

“TRCs can revolutionize communication and education possibilities to bring communities in the Maldives closer, as well as expand opportunities for students and teachers to be exposed to new ideas and people globally”, said Mr. Maskall. 

For UNICEF worldwide, TRCs also bring revolutionary possibilities. “TRCs are an example of the power of partnerships in delivering results for children,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde Johnson. “It is a model for reaching the most excluded and vulnerable communities, bringing them empowerment through education. It is an innovation in overcoming logistical hazards. No matter where they live, every teacher and student can now receive the training and quality learning support they deserve.”

“This is a model that UNICEF will learn from and could apply in many countries around the world,” said Ms. Johnson.

The official launching ceremony for the TRCs will be held on 26 November 2007 at Dharubaaruge at 21:00.

For further enquiries, please contact:

Dr. Naashia Mohamed, Assistant Director General – EDC naashia@edc.edu.mv 

Ameena Mohamed Didi, Education Specialist – UNICEF amdidi@unicef.org

 

 

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