NUT's ICT Skills Programme in Sierra Leone

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NUT's ICT Skills Programme in Sierra Leone

The NUT is making great strides in setting up its 'ICT Skills for Women Teachers Programme' with the Sierra Leone Teachers' Union in Sierra Leone. The pilot programme is funded under the TUC's International Development Learning Fund, itself funded by the Department for International Development.

Jane Messervy, NUT Project Worker, writes on the recent NUT needs analysis trip to Sierra Leone. While Samidha Garg, NUT Principal Officer - Equal Opportunities/Race, outlines the programme's goals and hopes for the future.

Focusing on the Future of Sierra Leone

Jane Messervy, NUT Project Worker for the 'ICT Skills for Women Teachers' Project

In January 2008, I joined two NUT colleagues, Arthur Jarman and Andrew Parry Williams as well as Kofi Amo, a tutor from the College of North East London, on an intense three-day needs analysis trip to Sierra Leone. The principal purpose of the trip was to meet with officials from the Sierra Leone Teachers' Union (SLTU) to discuss all the practical issues involved in setting up an 'ICT Skills for Women Teachers' programme in Sierra Leone.

Whilst in Freetown we met with the Abdulai Koroma, the SLTU President, Davidson Kuyateh, SLTU Secretary General and Hawa Koroma, SLTU Project Coordinator. Sarah Umu Sankoh and Kathleen Charles, two women Sierra Leonean teachers, and former NUT sponsored Chevening Scholars, were also involved in the meetings. We discussed the ICT skills programme and agreed that the courses would be held over five days during school holidays. We also discussed the best way to recruit women teachers to the courses as well as how the SLTU could adopt and use the NUT's basic ICT skills course materials. We agreed that the first course would take place during the spring term holidays and the remaining courses would take place in summer holidays. We also agreed the purchase of computers for a learning centre, which would be based at the SLTU Headquarters in Freetown, as well as the recruitment of local tutors, who would be commissioned to carry out the ICT training for the 80 SLTU women members.

One of the highlights of our trip was our visit to Kathleen Charles' school, the Freetown Teachers' Training College Practicing Elementary School. We visited each class and spoke to the teachers and students, exchanging information and experiences. We were all very impressed by the dedication of the teachers and the enthusiasm of the pupils. The Year 1 class had 73 pupils and they were all incredibly well behaved. By the end of the trip we all gained a good understanding of the Sierra Leone education system and the many difficulties faced by teachers and children there.

Following the recent election of President Ernest Koroma and his Government, there is a feeling of hope and determination to bring about a significant change in Sierra Leone which the NUT is extremely proud to be involved in.

NUT's ICT Skills Programme Rolls Out in West Africa: Project Background

Samidha Garg, NUT Principal Officer, Equal Opportunities/Race and Joint Project

Manager for the NUT/SLTU 'ICT Skills for Women Teachers' Project

The National Union of Teachers has been successful in securing funding from the TUC International Development Learning Fund for an ICT Skills for Women Teachers project in Sierra Leone. The funding will enable a pilot programme, working with the Sierra Leone Teachers' Union (SLTU), for four ICT skills courses, accommodating 20 female teachers, eighty teachers in total. The programme will be based on the NUT's successfully established ICT Skills for Teachers programme and will reflect the National Union of Teachers commitment to high quality professional development and training, as well as to international development.

The NUT invited existing partners to work with the NUT to contribute to the project, including the Sierra Leone Teachers' Union, British Council in Sierra Leone, the VSO in Sierra Leone, Education Action International, Education International Africa, ITUC and the DFID office in Sierra Leone. The courses will be delivered at the SLTU's training centre for teachers, known as Hotel 5 10. Partners will meet as a Steering Group on a regular basis to develop the programme.

It is expected that the ICT skills gained from the programme will facilitate participants' capacity to develop their learning further through electronic networks and communication links, for example through the internet. It is anticipated that this will contribute to the teaching provided by women teachers to their pupils. It is also hoped that, once they have completed the programme, the teachers will disseminate what they have learnt to colleagues, thus maximising the impact of the programme.

The pilot will be fully evaluated and it is expected that a successful pilot will lead to the submission of a further bid to facilitate a similar programme in two other African countries. The sustainable benefits of the programme will additionally include the potential to develop capacity within the teacher organisations that work with the NUT on the programme.

For more information contact the NUT at www.teachers.org.uk

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