» UNESCO World Teachers’ Day prize-winner mentors Cambodian teachers to success
05.10.2016 - Education Sector

UNESCO World Teachers’ Day prize-winner mentors Cambodian teachers to success

© See Beyond Borders

“Teachers feel happy and motivated when they see results. They are like farmers growing rice in a field. They feel best when they see the first little green shoots. When children improve in learning so dramatically it is like harvest time,” said Phan Sophen, Education Programme Manager for See Beyond Borders, one of the two laureates awarded the 2016 UNESCO-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers.

The $300,000 award, which is given every two years and is supported by H.E. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, forms part of UNESCO’s celebrations for World Teachers’ Day 2016. This year the other prize goes to the University of Malaya, Malaysia.

The See Beyond Borders’ Teach the Teacher mentoring programme in Cambodia is geared to developing communities of teachers committed to quality teaching and ongoing professional development.

Mr Sophen said: “Our goal has always been to develop a community of quality teachers. The initial idea was to provide training on how to teach maths more effectively, to run the mentoring system in the school and offer ongoing support to teachers in workshops. Once the core people understand and can implement the concept we rely on the multiplier effect.”

In 2013 the programme reaped further rewards with pass rates for grade 1 to 3 students in maths increasing from 48 per cent in 2013 to 65 per cent in 2015.

“We have done a great job to improve the quality of education and we are so proud to see the results. Now that we have this experience with maths the goal is to extend the same methodology to other subject. When we have the money we will continue to deliver the core programme in Cambodia. We are a charity. We don’t have much money. Hopefully this honour will help us attract more funding. We have more of a profile no and we want to concentrate on the sustainability of the programme.”

Mentoring and motivation brings greater confidence in the classroom

Ms Prak Sokunthy, a primary school teacher who participated in SeeBeyondBorders’ Teach the Teacher programme, said: “About three years ago, I was not a skilful Mathematics teacher. I did not know ...what I should teach. I just taught what I myself understood from the text books.

“Fortunately, SeeBeyondBorders has run a Teach the Teacher and Mentoring programme in my school for three years and has recently started the transition programme. I was very lucky to be selected as a mentor and I have two mentees to work with. I got a lot of training on Math concepts and how to give support to mentees. I feel confident teaching Maths with clear learning objectives and using concrete materials with a lot of fun learning games during the lesson.”

World Teachers’ Day will be celebrated at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris and around the world on October 5 under the theme “Valuing teachers, Improving their Status” and will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. As well as the laureates ceremony the event in Paris will include panel discussions and a poster exhibition.

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