Parents train on how to keep children learning during pandemic related restrictions

Parents train on how to keep children learning during pandemic related restrictions in Timor-Leste

UNICEF Timor-Leste
Training participants discuss on how to keep children learning should pandemic-related restrictions disrupt schooling in Timor-Leste.
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2022/SMdasilva
09 August 2022

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Global Partnership for Education, are training parents on how to keep children learning should pandemic-related restrictions disrupt schooling in Timor-Leste.

Since the first positive case of COVID-19 was identified in March 2020 in Timor-Leste, there were several instances when schools closed, disrupting learning for thousands of children across the country.  The intermittent school closures meant children had to stay at home and depend on remote learning. This placed more responsibility for children’s learning on parents. 

And while all parents want the best for their children, many were unsure of what to do to help their children continue learning. 

To help parents keep children learning should schools close again, UNICEF has been working with the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYs) to conduct ‘Parenting Sessions’ training for members of Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs). The training provides practical learning opportunities for parents and caregivers, strengthens basic knowledge and skills to create a safe and secure environment for children and support and stimulate children’s learning at home. The trainings also incorporate a component that will help children learn to maintain COVID-19 safety protocols at schools and homes, and prevent stigma against those who have contracted the disease. 

A total of 280 PTA members from Bobonaro, Manatuto and Manufahi municipalities underwent training between November 2021 and May 2022. These trainings will continue to be rolled out in 12 municipalities, including the Special Administrative Region of Oecusse, through 2022. Parents and caregivers who receive the training are expected to share their knowledge and experience with other parents and caregivers.

Parents train on how to keep children learning during pandemic related restrictions
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2022/SMdasilva
Training participants discuss on how to keep children learning should pandemic-related restrictions disrupt schooling in Timor-Leste.

Minister of Education Youth and Sport, H.E Armindo Maia, says parental engagement is key to ensuring children learn in schools and homes. “Education and learning are collective responsibilities. Each and every person has an important role to play for the best interest of our children,” he said, as he launched the first training session in Maliana, Bobonaro Municipality. “These trainings will help parents and caregivers understand the key role they need to play in educating children.”

The training sessions were facilitated by 15 trainers from the National Directorate for Preschool and Basic Education of MoEYS. The training incorporated presentations, role plays, discussion groups and question and answer sessions.
 

The participants presented the result of their group discussion on how to keep children learning should pandemic-related restrictions disrupt schooling in Timor-Leste.
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2022/SMdasilva
The participants presented the result of their group discussion on how to keep children learning should pandemic-related restrictions disrupt schooling in Timor-Leste.

Carlito Beremali, a 54-year-old father of five children, and the president of the PTA from Basic Education School (EBF) Aidaba Leten of Atabae Administrative post, is one of the PTA members benefitting from the training. He was excited to learn about things he could do to make sure his children continue learning during pandemic-related restrictions.

“After 15 years of being a member of the PTA and now its President, it is the first time I am attending a training on parenting education. The sessions helped us understand new concepts which parents could easily put into practice. They also provided new insights about the roles and responsibilities of parents and community members to help children continue learning at home,” said Beremali.

 "It is important to continue these trainings. [Then, positive] change will happen,” he said.

Parents train on how to keep children learning during pandemic related restrictions 3
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2022/SMdasilva
Mr. Beremali in one of the schools where he sometimes spent his time to talk to the teachers and students.

As part of the training, parents were taught how to use local and existing materials at home to encourage learning.

“Participants enjoyed the sessions delivered by the facilitators. The topics and how they were delivered them were fun and practical, helping participants to quickly get a grasp of the contents,” said Estelita Soares, National Director of Basic Education. “They can now share this information with other parents and communities.”

“I have never seen such enthusiasm from participants, they actively engaged and showed their keenness to learn.  I believe that everything they have learned in the sessions will gradually help them understand that educating their sons and daughters are not the sole responsibility of teachers and schools, but that parents also have an important role to play in making differences in children's learning and development,” said Lindalva Maria Sarmento Guterres, staff from National Directorate for Basic Education. 

 

“I recommend continuing these sessions. It will help children learn, and make life better for their families and the society they live in,” said National Director of Pre-school at MoEYS, Domingos Soares.

The parenting education initiative is supported by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Accelerated Fund and UNICEF.