CFS Team at COL

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Mainstreaming Child-Friendly School (CFS) Models and Approaches in National Pre-service and In-service Teacher Education Programmes 

RADIO EXTENDS REACH TO NOMADIC POPULATIONS

The Child-Friendly Schools initiative has sparked several exciting new developments including the use of radio to educate nomadic primary school teachers in Nigeria about Child-Friendly Schools. The Interactive Radio Instruction initiative harnesses ODL in its best way – by targeting and benefiting some of the world’s most marginalised groups.

The nomadic population in Nigeria numbers more than nine million people, including three million school-age children. This learning programme focuses on more than 400 teachers in 110 nomadic schools in the State of Adamawa. Once the radio programmes are developed, piloted and produced, they can be easily replicated and re-used to promote Child-Friendly Schools concepts among nomadic teachers across Nigeria and other countries with nomadic populations, such as Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Over the next year, the remaining participating countries will complete their capacity building workshops, and COL will continue to oversee monitoring and evaluation of the Child-Friendly Schools project. Meanwhile, educators in all regions of the Commonwealth are beginning to embrace a “child-friendly” approach to education that will provide significant, long-term benefits for generations to come.

 

DEVELOPING CHILD-FRIENDLY SCHOOLS  

Child-friendly_schools

Representatives from five countries participating in the UNICEF-COL Child-Friendly Schools project met in November in Kochi, India to discuss progress made so far in the implementation of the project. Botswana, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa and Swaziland were represented at the Kochi workshop, which was also attended by representatives from UNICEF.

The Child-Friendly Schools model was developed as a response to growing global concerns about the poor quality of schools, teaching and learning at the basic education level, explained Ms. Susan Durston, UNICEF’s Global Chief on Education in her address to the group. The Child-Friendly Schools approach is based on the concept that quality education involves the total needs of the child as the central focus and beneficiary of all education decisions. Quality goes beyond good teaching methods and learning outcomes to also include health, safety and adequacy of school facilities and supplies.

The 17 participants at the Kochi workshop discussed challenges in implementing Child-Friendly Schools, lessons learned and the need to use open and distance learning (ODL) and school-based training to mainstream Child-Friendly Schools into teacher education initiatives.

COL is working in partnership with UNICEF to enhance the quality of education in schools by mainstreaming CFS models and approaches into teacher education curricula. In addition to the five countries at the workshop in Kochi, five other countries are involved in this initiative: Malawi, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago and Zambia. More than 1,000 educators have taken part in Child-Friendly Schools workshops sponsored by COL.

 

CREATING CHILD-FRIENDLY SCHOOLS

Regional education officers and trainers in Botswana

Photo caption: A five-day Child-Friendly Schools workshop in Gaborone, Botswana in August hosted by the Ministry of Education and Skills Development involved 70 education officers, lecturers from teacher training institutions and representatives from UNICEF Botswana and the UNICEF Regional Office in Kenya

More than 700 teacher educators from five Commonwealth countries have taken part in workshops this year that promote Child-Friendly Schools. The Child-Friendly Schools approach is based on the concept that quality education is multi-dimensional and concerned with the total needs of the child as the central focus and beneficiary of all education decisions. Quality goes beyond good teaching methods and learning outcomes to also include the health and nutrition status of learners; adequacy of facilities, services and supplies; and the safety of the learning environment.

In partnership with UNICEF, COL is working to enhance the quality of education in schools by mainstreaming Child-Friendly Schools models and approaches into the pre-service and in-service curricula in ten countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Trinidad & Tobago and Zambia.

The main areas of concentration for this project are:

  • Integrating Child-Friendly Schools models and approaches into pre-service and in-service teacher training curricula, and training teacher educators and other educational personnel about Child-Friendly Schools, and 
  • Strengthening the role and Child-Friendly Schools capacity of teacher resource centre managers, schools heads, inspectors and other in-service educational personnel.

Nineteen workshops supported by COL this year have focussed on introducing Child-Friendly Schools, reviewing curriculum and developing teacher training materials that incorporate Child-Friendly Schools principles, concepts and methods. Many of the training materials are currently being piloted and will then be made freely available to teacher training institutions.

Ministries of Education and teacher training institutions are showing a strong sense of ownership, demonstrated by their contribution of workshop resources, including facilitators, supplies, venues, transportation costs and accommodation costs.

www.col.org/cfs

 


Curriculum Revision and Materials Writing Workshop, University of Limpopo, South Africa, 13 to 16 April 2010
Curriculum Revision and Materials Writing Workshop, University of Limpopo, South Africa, 13 to 16 April 2010


In the course of UNICEF’s work with countries over the past decade, Child-Friendly School (CFS) models have emerged as a holistic approach for pulling together a comprehensive range of quality interventions in education. As such CFS models are now the major means through which UNICEF advocates for and promotes quality in education.

CFS models are based on a concept of quality education that is multi-dimensional and concerned with the total needs of the child as the central focus and beneficiary of all education decisions. Quality in CFS therefore goes beyond good teaching methods and learning outcomes. It includes: considerations of health and nutrition status of learners; adequacy of available facilities, services and supplies; as well as levels of safety and protection afforded by the learning environment. These are important not simply as means of supporting good teaching and promoting learning achievement, but also as goals in their own right and valid indicators of quality education from a child rights perspective. Quality in Child Friendly Schools comes not only from learners and teachers being set apart in special places as communities dedicated to the pursuit of learning, but also from their relevance and effectiveness as institutions linked to the wider community they serve. This is what makes education ‘real’ for children, families and communities.



Curriculum review and materials writing workshop at University of Limpopo, South Africa, April 2010
Curriculum review and materials writing workshop at University of Limpopo, South Africa, April 2010

In order to mainstream CFS models and approaches into teacher education curricula and enhance the quality of education in schools, UNICEF and COL signed a Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in 2008.  The overall goal of the PCA is to successfully mainstream CFS into the pre-service and in-service teacher education programmes of selected countries, and contribute to the improvement of quality education in schools throughout the countries concerned (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zambia). The partnership will promote and improve a gender sensitive, rights-based approach to schooling and support child-centred learning-teaching methodologies that emphasize learner participation and inclusion. It will also strengthen and cultivate capacity for CFS of teachers and other education actors, such as Teacher Resource Centre managers, school heads, administrators, supervisors, curriculum planners, physical planners, and local communities in the form of school committees and parent-teacher associations.