ODL policy framework for teacher training developed in Fiji

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As part of its commitment to ensure high-quality teacher training and professional development, the Fiji Teachers Registration Authority (FTRA) recently initiated a project to establish a sustainable mode of delivering content knowledge and pedagogical skills to educators across the nation.

Towards this objective, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) recently supported FTRA to organise a consultative workshop in Suva focused on developing a national open and distance learning (ODL) policy framework for teacher training. This initiative is part of the larger Partnership for Open, Distance and Flexible Learning in the Pacific project, funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The newly proposed policy framework is designed to elevate teacher training and professional development across Fiji, with a special focus on ensuring that teachers in remote and rural areas have ample opportunities to engage in continuous learning and professional growth. This effort highlights Fiji’s commitment to nurturing educational excellence and underscores the importance of international collaboration in achieving these goals.

A diverse group of 30 stakeholders – including educators, policymakers and representatives from teacher training institutions in Fiji – attended the workshop.

During her opening remarks, Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Education, Ms Selina Kuruleca, emphasised the importance of blended learning approaches and said, “The policy should include professional development sessions conducted via both online and face-to-face methods, to ensure inclusivity and effectiveness, especially where network issues may arise.”

The CEO for FTRA, Mrs Sangeeta Singh, thanked COL for supporting the initiative. She said, “We are grateful to COL for supporting us in developing this important policy framework that will challenge us to align our teacher development programmes with the context of the teacher, leaving no teacher behind.”

Discussions during the workshop focused on a range of topics, including the integration of technology in education, the challenge of internet connectivity in remote areas, and the importance of stakeholder involvement in policy development.

Dr Betty Ogange, COL’s Education Specialist for Teacher Education, commented, “ODL is a strategic response to the need for flexible and accessible teacher education. It enables continuous learning and professional growth, which is essential for the country to develop quality teachers.”

This workshop is part of a series that will include sessions in other parts of the country with a common goal to implement a policy that addresses current educational challenges and anticipates future needs.

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