Enhancing teacher skills in basic education in Guinea-Bissau

Participants in teacher training in Buba, Guinea-Bissau ©M.E. Sagna

The UNESCO Office in Dakar, with generous funding from the Government of Italy, runs the project, "Improvement of teacher qualification and setting up of a system for the management of learning outcomes". The project aims to assist the Ministry of Education with the strengthening of the education system in Guinea-Bissau by developing effective in-service and pre-service teacher training systems. The expected result is to sustain a homogenous body of highly qualified teachers able at delivering quality education. The $1.6 million project was launched in 2009 and will be implemented until October 2015.

Within the framework of the Guinea-Bissau’s Government plan: Development Program for the Education Sector (2009-2020), the program supports the building of a sustainable and resilient education system through:

  • Implementation of teacher training;
  • Improvement of the quality of learning management, and;
  • Strengthening of the Ministry of Education’s management capacity.

There is hence a strong emphasis on reinforcing national capacities, which will ensure a leading role of national institutions (National Institute for the Development of Education, pre-service training schools, and the Ministry of Education).

The first phase of the project (2009-2011)

The first phase of the project focused on two major issues related to: i) improvement of qualification of teachers, and ii) the setting up of a national exam system as monitoring and managing tool for quality of learning.

More specifically, the project aimed to support:

  • Improvement of qualification of in-service and pre-service teacher training at primary and lower secondary levels
  • Improvement of the management of quality of learning
  • Strengthening of the national capacities

Main achievements of phase I:

  • Conducted a national assessment, developed in-service teacher training plan and experimental training tools, and offered respective training workshops.
  • Institutional and pedagogical diagnosis of pre-service training schools and evaluation of students in teacher training institutions for basic and lower secondary education, with the elaboration of a proposal for a curriculum plan.
  • Supported the organization of national exams in 2011.

The second phase of the project (2012-2015)

The second phase of the project built on the success of the first phase by focusing on improvement of in-service and pre-service teacher training (grades 1 to 6). Relevant stakeholders and partners (UNICEF, Ajuda de Desenvolvimento do Povo para Povo, PLAN International, Fundação Fé e Cooperação, and African Development Bank,) were consulted during the implementation to build on their experience, establish synergies and avoid duplication of interventions.

More specifically, this phase II aimed to support:

  • Improvement of in-service teachers training modules and teaching skills (grades 1 to 6)
  • Pilot introduction of bilingual education in Creole and Portuguese (grades 1 and 2)
  • Improvement of pre-service teacher training quality (grades 1 to 6)
  • Reinforcement of national capacities

Major achievements of phase II up to now are:

  • Harmonization, revision and finalization of the various in-service teacher training modules and guides.
  • Four training sessions, for initial instruction and reinforcement purposes, were implemented, including that of instruction in Creole and Portuguese.
  • National workshop to restructure the teacher training program, and recommendations for the improvement of the curricula and programs for pre-service teacher training.

In order for students from Guinea-Bissau to receive quality education, the lack of qualified teachers must be addressed. By developing robust pre-service teacher training programs, while continuously strengthening in-service teacher skills as well, we are working towards building a brighter future for Guinea-Bissau.


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