August 19, 2016

Teacher education forum

Dr. Myo Win
Yangon University of Education

A forum on teacher education was held in Community Zone, Gold Camp in Nay Pyi Taw, from 4 to 5 August 2016. Participants were different stakeholders of education such as ministers, rectors from different universities, teacher educators from Yangon University of Education, Sagaing University of Education and University of Development of National Races, principals from Education Colleges, international organizations, etc.  In this forum, 9 papers were submitted and discussed. In the morning  section of the first day, 4 papers were read and they were  discussed in the afternoon. The other papers were read and discussed on the second day. The objectives of this forum are:
1.    To discuss developing advanced teaching methods for academic, educational and co-curricular subjects, teacher competency standards framework and future plans
2.    To discuss  teacher quality according to education law
3.    To discuss future plans for upgrading courses on teacher education
To fulfill these objectives, 9 papers were submitted and they are as follows:
Paper 1 – Upgrading the present education colleges with a 2-year training programme to education
degree colleges with a  4-year training programme
Paper 2 – Proposed curriculum framework for 4 year education degree colleges
Paper 3 – Teacher certification system and teacher licence
Paper 4 – English proficiency courses for in-service teachers
Paper 5 – Quality assurance of in-service teachers
Paper 6 – Teacher competency standards framework
Paper 7 – Learning opportunities for teachers for upgrading teacher education
Paper 8 – Investigation into KG teachers’ understanding on KG curriculum
Paper 9 – Promotion system and teacher salaries
The main purpose of paper (1) is to upgrade present education colleges to 4-year education degree colleges. Teacher education systems of some ASEAN countries are also presented in the paper.  According to the proposed plan, education colleges will be upgraded to 4-year education degree colleges and affiliated with local universities and colleges.
In Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) (phase1), some key findings in analysis of Teacher Education include:
A.    Teaching competency is not specifically recognized, and the teacher education curriculum requires significant strengthening.
B.    Time for qualified practice teaching at ECs is inadequate, and teaching contents are not specialized.
C.    Teacher educators at teaching institutes should be well-qualified if these institutions are to be upgraded to international level.
Major recommendations include:
A.    Formulate a Teacher Competency Framework according to the levels set by the Government or revise the present draft, as well as prepare a skill-centred teacher education curriculum.
B.    Upgrade the present two-year training at ECs to a four-year degree, including the teaching of specialized education subjects.
C.    Promote Teacher Competency and Services ranks to Educationist level 1, 2  and 3 at each school level, based on a teacher’s academic degree, and ensure that this system is practised.
D.    Reorganize the Teacher
Education Supervisory Committee to ensure that members are qualified educationists. Establish a Department of Teacher Education under the MoE.
It is, therefore, found that proposed upgrading programme is based on the recommendation of CESR.
In discussion section, some suggest that there may be some issues of insufficient material resources and human resources in upgrading 22 education colleges to 4 – year education colleges simultaneously. Therefore, some suggested to upgrade only some education colleges in big towns as a pilot project. Some suggested education colleges should be affiliated  with universities of education.
Paper (2) is proposed curriculum framework for 4 year education degree colleges. In the introduction of this paper, it is stated that teacher education should be reformed according to the reports of CESR, JICA, STEM, etc. As in paper (1), teacher education training programmes of some ASEAN countries are also stated. In this proposed framework, educational subjects, academic subjects, co-curricular activities and practicum are stated in terms of semesters.
Paper (3) is concerned with teacher certification system and teacher licence. According to this paper, there will be three types of certification.
1.    1-year basic course + 3-year primary teacher education         primary teacher certificate
2.    1-year basic course + 3-year junior teacher education            junior teacher certificate
3.    1-year basic course + 3-year senior teacher education            senior teacher certificate
In type 3 of this proposed certification system, a trainee can become a senior teacher after attending only four years. But the present universities of education offer 5-year courses for the senior teachers. Then there will be a question if four year course is sufficient to produce a senior teacher while other age-old universities of education still take 5 years to do so.
Paper (4) is discussed for the English language proficiency of in-service teachers. Paper (5) is for the   quality assurance of in-service teachers. This paper suggests not to appoint primary teachers without teacher training. It also suggests to revise entrance system for selecting trainees for education colleges, not only to consider academic qualification, but to include attitude on teachers. This paper also suggests to establish Department of Teacher Education under the Ministry of Education. It is found that this suggestion is line with one of the recommendations of CESR.
In paper (6), teacher competency standards framework is discussed. Paper (7) suggests some learning opportunities for the quality assurance of teacher education. Paper (8) is research- based paper which investigates the understanding of the KG teachers on KG curriculum. Findings are based on the responses of questionnaire.
Paper (9) is concerned with promotion system and teacher salaries. In this paper, promotion systems and pay scales of some countries are included. For instance, it is stated that income of primary teachers in Japan, Britain, America and Singapore is higher than that of other professions in these countries. Promotion system is based not only on services but also on work performance. Based on these findings, some suggestions for changing present salary and promotion system are suggested.
It is an undeniable fact that education plays an important role for the development of a nation. Successful education system depends on teacher education system. Therefore, this forum is important for the country. This forum can be said to be a milestone in an attempt to reform teacher education system of Education Colleges.


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