Over 100 Zimbabwean schools to benefit from rapid teacher training on open, distance and online learning

At least 100 schools in Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces are set to benefit from the “Rapid teacher training on open, distance and online learning”. This is the third phase for this capacity building exercise meant to strengthen the capacity of teachers to facilitate open, distance and online learning. 

The programme started in 2020 and gained momentum in 2021 with the training of 11 152 teachers. This collaboration between UNESCO and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) in Zimbabwe was necessitated by the advent of COVID-19 which had serious ramifications on the Zimbabwean education system in terms of learner outcomes. The closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic reversed some of the previous gains that were made in areas such as literacy and numeracy. 

The Rapid Teacher Training programme on open, distance and online learning in Zimbabwe aims at equipping teachers with skills to teach online in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The training provides support for teachers to deliver distance education and to use information and communication technology (ICT) in education during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis. The course introduces teachers to basic digital skills, remote learning methods, and pedagogical use of ICT for teaching to ensure the continuation of learning and equips teachers with the skills and resources to deliver alternate and appropriate forms of remote learning using no-, low-, and high- tech digital tools. 

While the first and second phases targeted individual teachers in all provinces through virtual means, this third phase is a school-oriented model focusing on conducting training in individual schools such as the least resourced primary (P3) and secondary schools (S3). 

The training of trainers’ session was held to introduce trainers to the new model which was last applied in the UNESCO-Korean Funded teacher training programme. The training of trainers equipped trainers with skills to deliver a school-oriented model that specifically delivers training to individual schools while addressing the ICT skills gaps in the schools. 

The advantages of the school-oriented model entail the involvement of school leaders who are key role players in implementation and improving educational outcomes. With over 11 000 teachers already trained across different provinces in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is set to ensure preparedness for learning continuity during the current crisis in education and transform the teacher professional development landscape in Zimbabwe. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is providing the funding support for this initiative.