Upgrading the competence of its human resources is one of the priority tasks of the Ministry of Education, which in turn will play a decisive role in improving the overall educational system. Teachers and other members of the Ministry have from time to time received various forms of training ranging from short summer courses to postgraduate studies overseas. Shabait conducted an interview with Mr. Tedros Sium, Director of Human Resource Development at the Ministry of Education regarding the ongoing endeavors of the department to advance the skills of teachers. Excerpts follow:
Can you tell us about the efforts of the Ministry of Education in upgrade its human resources?
The Ministry of Education offers various training programs ranging from certificate to post graduate level to teachers from different parts of the country. We also hire teachers from foreign countries with good experience in a bid to further improve the quality of education in the country.
What is the objective of the summer courses you provide every year?
The summer course program was started to alleviate the shortage of elementary school teachers by providing short courses during summer. Elementary school teachers were given three to five month training in the Teachers Training Institute (TTI). Later on, we began to provide training to upgrade teachers’ capacity at certificate and diploma levels to further improve their capacity. The objective of this summer course was to introduce the new student-centered curriculum to teachers, directors and supervisors thereby advancing the entire educational system as well as upgrading the knowledge of information technology. It is also aimed at creating an opportunity where teachers, directors and supervisors can exchange their experience.
How many people have received such training so far?
A total of 1,500 members of the Ministry, 600 of whom are women, have participated in summer training programs. The participants studied 15 different courses in relation to the respective field of courses they teach as well as other complementary courses.
How about the opportunities of distance-learning programs?
Distance-learning program from diploma to postgraduate level is being offered to over 170 staff members working in different positions in the Ministry of Education with the collaboration of a German university.
What is your overall assessment of the outcome of trainings being offered in the teaching-learning process?
It is difficult to evaluate the result of the trainings in short period of time. We need to conduct a research to evaluate the outcome of these trainings on the ground. However, from our observation we can say the upshot has been very encouraging. Many of the trainees are striving to upgrade their skills encouraged by the new ideas and information they learned from these trainings. Besides, the trainings have fostered a good working relationship at workplaces as the participants share their experience to further enhance their understanding. This is vital for development of consistency in the quality of education the country.
Are there any new methods the Ministry of Education has adopted in procedures of providing these courses?
Previously, courses offered in TTI were given within a short period of time. But now the method of teaching has changed to a form of self-study and practical support. Instead of teaching the trainees in summer time only, materials are handed out to them at their workplaces so that they can learn by themselves and apply what they have read. These materials are prepared by foreign teachers. After this, the summer course is given as supplementary training. This method of teaching has proven to be effective and will be employed in other training programs.
What future plans does the Ministry have as regards to human resource development?
English language lessons will be provided in the evening hours in schools in Asmara, Mendefera, Massawa, Barentu and Keren in a bid to upgrade teacher’s fluency in the language. In addition to this, we will focus on offering various distance-learning courses in collaboration with local and international colleges and universities. Moreover we are planning to create conducive environment for teachers who score suitable grades to continue higher college education. Our objective is to upgrade the teachers’ skills so as to enable the provision of quality education to our students.