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Teacher resource centres launched in the Maldives

MALE / MALDIVES, 26 November 2007 – The Ministry of Education and UNICEF celebrated today the inauguration of 20 teacher resource centres (TRCs) across the Maldives.

Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the centres 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 Education Minister 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 in the Maldives 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 per cent 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’.

The teacher resource centres 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 Teacher Resource website, teachers can sit in front of a computer in a resource centre in their atoll, 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 the Educational Development Centre by Cambridge International Examinations, up to 400 teachers could simultaneously receive training by participating in an online course and interacting with one another.

For UNICEF worldwide, TRCs also bring new possibilities. “TRCs are an example of the power of partnerships in delivering results for children,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde F. 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.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Dr. Naashia Mohamed, Assistant Director General, Educational Development Centre, naashia@edc.edu.mv 

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




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