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Deans' Forum - Colombo

Colombo Deans' Forum

From 26 to 28 June 2007, UNESCO Bangkok, in cooperation with project partners Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFIT), Microsoft (initiating partner) and Cisco Systems, convened a second Forum for Deans of Education.

This forum, convened in Colombo, Sri Lanka, brought together Deans from Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs) in four countries of the Asia-Pacific region: Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia and Indonesia. The Colombo forum follows the Bangkok Deans’ Forum, held in May 2007, which was attended by Deans from TEIs in Lao PDR, Malaysia, People’s Republic of China, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. The forums were organized as part of the UNESCO Next Generation of Teachers (Next Gen) project.

The aim of the forums was to collectively explore the challenges of integrating information and communication technologies (ICT) into teacher education in the ten countries participating in the project (Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, People’s Republic of China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam) and to assist the TEIs to develop plans for the implementation of Next Gen project activities in their respective TEIs.

The Colombo forum was co-sponsored by JFIT, reflecting the Japanese Government’s commitment to building the capacity of Asia-Pacific educators to harness the potential of ICT for enhancing education. JFIT has been the major sponsor of the UNESCO Bangkok ICT in Education programme since it began in 2002 and the contribution made by JFIT has been a key factor in the programme’s success so far.

At the forum the Honourable Minister of Education of Sri Lanka, A.D. Susil Premajayantha, declared that “We now have a programme to achieve the Education For All (EFA) goals by 2011 and to maintain a 92.5% literacy rate. Furthermore, Sri Lanka’s success in achieving high level of basic literacy and numeracy can be strengthened through a well thought out strategy for utilizing ICT effectively in education. We are pleased to work with UNESCO on the Next Generation of Teachers project which will help teacher educators in Sri Lanka to better utilize ICT in teaching.”

During the forum, the Heads of TEIs reviewed the current situation and assessed their respective institutions’ readiness to utilize ICT in teaching and learning. In addition, the Deans discussed and planned for curriculum development and training of TEI instructors. As one of the Deans remarked, “The forum was conducted in an interactive way, leading to brainstorming opportunities and discussion.  We also learned from the experiences of experts in this field, and examined the practical aspects of utilizing ICT in TEIs.”

The forums will be followed by activities to raise the capacity of teacher educators to utilize ICT in teaching, and curriculum development activities in the participating TEIs.

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