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A teacher with his students in class.

Credit: Commonwealth Education Trust

Working together to upskill teachers during Covid-19 and beyond

15 July 2020

Myself and Lucy Kendall, CEO of COCO, both lead charities that place education at the heart of improving children’s lives and break the cycle of poverty. We met at Bond’s Funding for Development Conference in 2018 and discussed working together in the future. 

We saw the opportunity on 3 April 2020 during a Zoom call about how to support teachers in vulnerable communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. COCO teachers in Tanzania have been separated from their students and communities during Covid-19. COCO wanted to give teachers a tangible skill that they could gain during this global challenge.

They decided to provide access to Teach2030 to their teachers in Tanzania. Teach2030 is a low-cost, long term approach to professional development through the provision of bite-size, digital learning courses contextualized for teachers in underserved communities.

“It is amazing what good can come out of a crisis. The Teach2030 programme has given teachers a purpose, a focus and a challenge at a time when they have been anxious, afraid and alone. The training has brought teachers together, opened their minds and given them a new skill set that will be very valuable once the children are allowed back to school. ” 
Lucy Kendall, CEO, COCO

To begin with, the programme has been rolled out in COCO’s four partner secondary schools, all based in Ruvuma in Tanzania, as well as in the Hoja Teacher Training and Learning Centre. Teach2030 will soon be opened up to COCO partner primary and nursery schools across ; Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.


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COCO has received an incredibly positive response from participating teachers. There were initial challenges with data and digital literacy, but they picked it up very quickly. 
Teachers have been sharing ideas and techniques they have gained through video and resources on the platform, and are ready to put what they’ve learned into practice when back in their classrooms. 

The results so far have been incredible. We hope this will reduce the Covid-19 impact on education, as the teachers will be both pedagogically and digitally stronger and ready to return to their classrooms with new skills and a fresh mindset towards teaching and learning.

At Commonwealth Education Trust, we now want to reach out to more NGOs like COCO so that we can help teachers to reduce the impact of the pandemic on the already critical global education crisis.

Now more than ever is the time for teachers to upskill, stay motivated and connected. The Commonwealth Education Trust is already working with a number of partners including COCO, and we want to help others. 

It is of vital importance to get this low-cost and scalable learning opportunity in as many teachers’ hands as possible quickly to upskill them and help prepare for the return to school after the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. 

Investing in teachers’ development in underserved communities across the world will have a real, positive impact not only in children’s learning outcomes, but most importantly in their lives outside of the school walls.
 

About the author

Kat Thorne
Commonwealth Education Trust

Kat leads The Commonwealth Education Trust as executive director and has recently released its new flagship programme for teachers, Teach2030.

Lucy Kendall
COCO

Lucy is CEO of COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas) an International Charity based in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.