In Kiribati, a remote island nation in the central Pacific Ocean, access to quality education and teacher training has been a persistent challenge. With limited resources, a growing population and high teacher-pupil ratios of up to 1:35, the need for innovative approaches to teaching and teacher training is more urgent than ever. Open Educational Resources (OER) and digital learning offer a unique solution to these challenges, as they provide cost-effective, easily accessible and customisable content that can be adapted to local contexts.
As part of COL’s support to the Ministry of Education and Kiribati Teachers College (KTC), over 100 teachers and teacher mentors recently participated in a two-day blended workshop on ‘Innovative Teaching and Learning with OER.’ The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to explore and develop skills in using OER to enhance their teaching and learning practices.
The Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Ms Roreti Eritai presided over the formal opening session, acknowledging the importance of OER and digital skills in effective teaching and learning, especially drawing from the lessons learnt after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over two days from 31 March to 1 April 2023, participants were introduced to various concepts in OER and mobile learning. As well as engaging in group discussions, they worked with mentors drawn from KTC to register for and access two COL courses which are available as OER – ‘Understanding OER’, and ‘Mobile Learning with Multimedia.’
While contending with frequent power outages and internet downtimes, a number of teachers made significant progress in the courses during the workshop. Mr Uere Toorua, a principal at a local school was among those who completed the ‘Understanding OER’ course and had this to say of his experience: “The course is very informative. I managed to sign up with the help of the mentors and my colleagues. I encourage colleagues to take note of the information in the course, especially on copyright and open licencing.”
In a virtual address during a closing event hosted by the Ministry of Education and attended by the Principal of KTC and senior education officials, the Minister for Education, the Honourable Mr Alexander Teabo expressed the Ministry’s appreciation for COL’s support for teacher training and professional development adding, “We prioritise effective delivery by our teachers for the benefit of the children of Kiribati. We are grateful for the support from COL and hope that the knowledge that the participants have gained will make a difference in future.”
COL’s Teacher Education Specialist, Dr Betty Ogange the workshop’s facilitator said, “By integrating OER and innovative teaching methods into the professional development of educators, we believe that our partners are able to incrementally improve the quality of education, bridge the digital divide and attain last mile reach.”