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HOW and WHAT to study in 21st Century?

© UNESCO Tashkent

14.01.2011

Enhancing educational quality is a constant process and is our top priority. Education systems work to prepare the next generation for a successful future in a changing world, the knowledge economy of 21st century. Today, it is necessary to help students develop the intellectual skills they need for a higher order of thinking and to assist them to realize their abilities and potential.

Intel is working to fruition with teachers all over the world, implementing one of the most effective and successful initiatives in the field of education. Their work in education includes programs for basic, secondary, tertiary and lifelong education. These multilateral projects between Intel, UNESCO Tashkent and The Ministry of Public Education of the Republic Uzbekistan present successful examples of private and public sector cooperation. They stand as mentors in the field of education for the professional development of teachers, sharing the ultimate goal of improving the quality of education.

This project, a teacher training program of the UNESCO Tashkent, was founded to help teachers master contemporary information and pedagogical technologies. The project was designed to enable teachers to expand upon their knowledge of these technologies, to enhance their approach to teaching. They have improved their classroom preparation and organization of teaching materials in schools. The central idea of the project is to harness the potential of information and educational technologies to develop effective, cohesive teaching strategies for students which are based on cultural values, knowledge and the skills needed in the 21st century.

This project allows teachers from a diverse background of subjects, with little to basic computer knowledge, to develop skills in information technology. Only this way may they contribute to teaching and learning in the 21st century. In participating in the training programme, teachers may comprehend and master such skills as critical thinking, collaborative learning, the teacher’s role as facilitator, project-based approaches to learning and student-oriented education.

This project began in May 2010 with the first training commencing in Samarkand. Tutors and school subject teachers were prepared through the instruction by teacher training- and pedagogical institutions. Following initial courses in Samarkand, teacher training materials were translated and adapted into Uzbek language. Since that time, teacher trainings continue to be conducted for secondary level teachers in the cities of Nukus, Urgench, Karshi and Termez. Today over 125 teachers have been adequately prepared to teach the next generation.

This program has been well acknowledged by education experts and participants as the program merges together both pedagogical technologies and ICTs while providing an effective methodology for their implementation into the educational system.

UNESCO experts have evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of this program and analyzed the influence and comprehensiveness of such a program in schools.

"We should keep in mind that our school graduates get accustomed to the most innovative educational and information technology, so that they should be able to shape necessary skills for perfectly positioning themselves in the dynamic developing technological world"

– Jorge Ivan Espinal, Head of the UNESCO Tashkent.

Observations reveal that training participants experienced a common question: “What kind of technologies, methods, and methodology complimenting one’s professional interests might they introduce into teaching practices... and how can it be ensured that these skills are regarded as worthy?”

This training program allowed teachers to look at their pedagogical activities from different perspectives; to master new approaches to project-based learning for students, to change their views on educational content and the effective organization of learning process and to understand the key role of a teacher in the 21st century.

The ultimate questions are: ‘What did participants acquire from these trainings?’, ‘What was the improvement?’ and ‘What are the action plans for changing the way of classroom teaching in response to what they have learnt in the given course?’ The answers to these questions are yet to be available, as we must await the long-term results of these trainings. However, we believe, from participant accounts, that these trainings had a positive impact allowing for the attainment of newly acquired skills. These skills contributed to a response of positive emotions and a sense of pride for one’s team and for one’s school. It appears as though the quality of life, for those involved with this case study, enhanced and changed for the better. Here, there is renewed hope for professional employment and continued opportunities for teachers to contribute to the universal education information space.

Today, this program is just beginning to receive wide recognition by teachers and the pedagogical community alike. That said, we are confident that this program presents great potential for professional success among the new teachers of Uzbekistan!

Source: UNESCO Tashkent