Teacher Training at Tubman University, Harper, Maryland County, Liberia PDF Print Email

Visions in Action has recently completed a teacher training session for 100 teachers in Maryland County, Liberia, serving both Liberian and Ivorian refugee populations, as part of its UNICEF-sponsored Emergency Education Program.

 

Following the disputed national elections in the Ivory Coast in
November 2010, incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo refused to transfer power to challenger Alassane Ouattara, though Ouattara won the election. Violence had erupted due to political uncertainty and rival groups. The violence forced many Ivorians to flee to neighboring Liberia. The total number of Ivorian refugees in Liberia as of December 2011 is 135, 208, with
12,819 registered in Maryland County. The Ivorian refugees that have remained in Liberia have required communities to provide support, such as housing, healthcare and clean water, often assisted by NGOs. Refugee camps have been established along the border to address these needs. Approximately 60% of the refugees are children.  These children have no access to education while in the camps.  VIA has partnered with UNICEF to provide education to 7500 Ivorian refugee children in Maryland County in need of education services.


 

Ivorian ClassTeacher training at Tubman University developed out of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Visions in Action signed with Tubman University (TU) in the fall of 2011. The MOU describes a collaborative training that would benefit both our Ivorian teachers as well as the TU Education students. Many of Visions in Action's Ivorian teachers are not certified teachers but were selected out of the refugee population to meet the schooling needs of the refugee children; it is important for them to have the opportunity to further develop their teaching skills to better serve the students.The training started on February 11, 2012 and sessions were held over four Saturday mornings on different subjects each week: Bloom's Taxonomy and Lesson Planning, Testing and Evaluation, Classroom Management, and Early Childhood Development (ECD). Last week was the final week of training. There was a test on the material followed by a graduation ceremony this past Saturday March 17th.

 

"I was glad to have the training, as it brought me up to date with new research in early childhood development and the essence of play and child-friendly spaces for children 0-8."

 

-Priscilla Tanyon, kindergarten teacher in the Liberian section at Assembly of God School in Pleebo, Maryland County

 

There are 74 Ivorian teachers, 12 Liberian teachers, and 14 TULiberian Class students who have participated in the trainings. The trainings are conducted in two groups, in French for the Ivorians and in English for the Liberians. One American and two Liberian professors from TU facilitated the sessions for Liberians, and the Ivorian sessions have been conducted by two Ivorian education experts recruited by VIA. The two groups have worked to ensure a common curriculum.

 

The overall goal of the project is to provide quality inclusive education for the Ivorian refugees. In the first phase of the project VIA has been working hard to assess the needs of the refugee population and open schools to ensure that the children have access to education. Currently VIA has opened several schools and is preparing to open several more. VIA staff have distributed textbooks to all the schools and are currently utilizing additional UNICEF materials including the school-in-a-box, ECD kits, and recreation kits, all of which will provide the teachers with more resources to create a quality learning environment. Following the TU training, VIA hopes to see the teachers, especially those without much previous teaching experience, utilizing improved teaching methods.

 

"I would like to say thanks to Visions in Action, UNICEF, and Tubman University. Through the training I have learned new teaching methodologies and evaluation styles."

 

-Mr. Hotto Tayou Jules, principal and 5th/6th grade teacher for the Ivorian section at Big Town School in Harper

 

In peace and justice,

The VIA Team

 

VIA Emergency Education Advisor Ryan Hathaway contributed to this article.

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