JICA Grassroots Project Phase 2 on Teacher Development with ICT (Aug 2018 – Current)

Background

Mongolian social and economic background

According to the World Bank (2016), the GDP of Mongolia was ranked 126 out of 199 countries and is regarded as the medium-low-income country in Asia. In Mongolia, the New Education Law came into effect  twice (1993, 2003) as a part of the democratization process moving from the planned economy of the 1990s to the capital economy. As a result, most of the administration and management obligations of public schools were decentralized, the degree of freedom and identity were respected, and the role of local educational administrators, school principals and faculty members expanded significantly. Among them, the introduction of ICT into education has been drawing attention as an important element for improving and maintaining the quality of education, and the integration of education and ICT is expected as a method to promote sustainable educational development.

Recent features in the field of basic education in Mongolia include: 1) increased roles and responsibilities of teachers in the newly introduced 12-year education system; 2) expansion of disparities between cities and rural areas; 3) encouragement of learning guidance proposal in line with the “Core Curriculum” implemented in 2016; 4) emphasized importance of the utilization of ICT in basic education; 5) the introduction of equipment to local schools through international development projects.

International trends in education and ICT

With the remarkable development of ICT in recent years, the introduction of ICT in the international development field has gained more and more attention. For sustainable development goals (SDGs), utilization of ICT is also explicitly mentioned in goal 4 “provide inclusive and equitable and high-quality education to all people, promote opportunities for lifelong learning”, goal 5 “promote gender equality to empower all women and girls”, Goal 9 “develop a resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and expand innovation”, and Goal 17 ” sustainably reinforce the means of implementation for the development and revitalize the global partnership”. It is considered that the utilization of ICT to realize the development goal will become increasingly important from now on.

Based on the background, the Mongolian government included the use of ICT as a tool to promote lifelong education in the Basic Education Plan (2016-2020), specifically stating that “ICT can be utilized as learning tool to contribute to solve regional issues including fostering lifelong learning skills of citizens.”

Overview of the 2nd Phase Project

Overall organization of the project

Since July 2018, Yamaguchi Takada Laboratory is collaborating with UNESCO, Mongolian Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and Mongolia National Education University for implementing the JICA Grassroots Technical Cooperation Project, “Sustainable use of ICT for improving the quality of lower secondary education in rural Mongolia – Strengthening Math and Science Education through Teaching Training using ICT”. The project aims to improve the leadership and teaching skills of lower secondary school teachers by developing and localizing digital teacher training materials.

This project is the expansion of the success completion of the JICA Grassroots Project Phase 1, “Sustainable Use of ICT for Improving the Quality of Primary Education in Rural Mongolia” (2012-2017). The current project expands teacher development activities from primary school teachers to lower secondary school teachers, improving the overall quality of the basic education in Mongolia.

Details of JICA Grassroots Project Phase 1 can be found here

Project Significance

The teacher training activities of JICA Grassroots Project Phase 1 contributed to the improvement of the skills of local primary school teachers. However, there is a delay of integrating ICT to teaching activities in lower secondary education. In order to improve the overall quality of the basic education in Mongolia, it is essential to develop teacher training materials for the lower secondary teachers. The focus on lower secondary school teachers is significant because of the following reasons.

  • In order to improve the overall basic education, it is essential to expand major achievements from training programs for elementary schools to lower secondary schools.
  • There is a lack of ICT skills for lower secondary school teachers to carry out educational activities.
  • There is the regional disparity in academic performance of the students in the final year of basic education between urban and rural schools.
  • There is a lack of teacher-training opportunities focusing on subject specific knowledge.
  • There is a need to introduce a method of self-assessment on implementation of student-centered education using newly developed materials with which teachers could check the knowledge and skills learned in teacher training.

Current Progress, Expected outcomes and activities

Starting from 2018, the project continues for four years and will be implemented among the lower secondary teachers. There are five expected outputs of this project as described below.

Output 1: Capacity of teacher training institute (MNUE) is enhanced to produce high quality digitalized video and interactive training materials for lower secondary schools.

Within the framework of the project, the core team of the Mongolian National University of Education have improved the knowledge and skills through the capacity building activities on development of high quality digital teaching material. To meet this objective, the MNUE professional teams which consist of 8 subject (total of 24 experts) experts as well as a technician staff who should serve as a core group for coaching of local teams and final production of digitalized training materials were established and trained on how to design and develop digitalized training materials.

MNUE Professional Team Training, 2018

Selected 8 subjects MNUE professional teams are:

  1. Chemistry
  2. Biology
  3. Physics
  4. Design technology
  5. History and social science
  6. Geography
  7. Mathematics
  8. Information and technology

With the close collaboration of Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Mongolian National University of Education organized the first project training for MNUE professional core team on “production of digitized teacher training material” in Ulaanbaatar from 13-17 August 2018.

Prof. Basandorj (History and social science) giving a lecture

The training successfully helped the professional team to familiarize themselves with the new ways of digitized training material development. It was useful practice to prepare themselves as instructors for the national training workshop. The outcome of the training can be folded into two. First, participants of the training gained the systematic approaches of the digital training material development throughout proper integration of various sources. Second, as a result of this training, the MNUE professional team decided to complete the production of the teacher’s guideline for local teachers. They realized that that the training contents, especially the utilization of various ICT tools and equipment and program were new to local teachers. As a result, the guideline was completed to assist methodologists and mentor teachers to be trained at 2018 national training.

Output 2: ECD methodologists from 21 aimags and 9 districts in UB will be trained on how to design and develop digitalized materials for secondary school teachers.
National training:

With the close collaboration with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Mongolian National University of Education organized the first National training workshop on the production of digitalized training materials as part of an “Sustainable use of ICT for improving the quality of lower secondary education in Mongolia” project in Ulaanbaatar from 10-14 September 2017. The training workshop provided a systematic, specialized and practical training programme on the production of the digitalized training materials, which include concrete skills in the use of open source programs for lower secondary education teachers of 22 Aimags and 9 Districts of Ulaanbaatar City. A total of 132 participants from all over the Aimags and UB Districts attended the training workshop.

Participants of national level training

Local ECD methodologists, mentor teachers of 21 Aimags and 9 UB Districts have been trained on how to design, develop and use digitalized training materials during the National training workshop. On the first day, general sessions on trend of ICT integration in education and digital teaching material creation were held. From the second day, subject specific sessions for Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Design and Technology, History, Geography, Mathematics and Informatics were conducted.

Please follow this link to see more details of national training.

Cluster (Provincial or Aimag) Level Training:

Organization of cascade model

Cascade model is applied to implement teacher training effectively and efficiently at grassroots level in Mongolia considering its dispersed population. Specifically, following the National training workshop organized centrally, the newly trained mentor teachers returned to their provinces (aimags) and started to prepare for the local level trainings. In each aimag, local team consisted of methodologists and mentor teachers, who were trained at the national training workshop, took initiatives on facilitating the local training. In principle, each aimag was divided into five clusters, which on average, consisted of five schools. Each school sent three representative teachers to the training at cluster schools.

Cluster level training in Bayankhongor province

The aimag level training was organized between October and December 2018, reflecting the local conditions, such as the distance between local schools within clusters, readiness of the local mentor teacher team, and training contents. Such cluster school training has been organized at five regional school of each aimag and a total of 75 primary class teachers have attended the training each aimag. As a result, a total of 2,208 lower secondary education teachers have been covered the aimag level trainings conducted in 21 aimags.

Tokyo Tech team has attended the cluster level training in Bayankhongor aimag, please follow this link to read more details.

Output 3: Local lower secondary school teachers are able to design, develop and utilize digitalized training materials reflecting local needs.
  • Produce draft digital teacher training materials
  • Test and improve the digital materials in 5 aimags
  • Produce final digital materials and store in CDs (VCDs/DVDs)
  • Produce the guidelines
  • Plan and disseminate the materials

Core teams will be formed in 5 geographically distinguished regions in Mongolia. The core team will collaborate with methodologists and develop teacher-training materials. Expert team of MNUE will continuously provide support such as local photography, material processing, scenario development, editing and introduction of student-centered pedagogy. At the time of completion of the draft training materials in the second year of this project, trainings will be held to try training materials in each province and district. In these trial trainings, local teachers and school principals of each province and district will evaluate the draft training materials. The core team will improve the contents based on the participant feedback. At the same time, the core team develops face-to-face self-learning materials for teachers in a way that reflects the guidelines (handbooks).

Output 4: Rural teachers can teach students by utilizing local training materials and applying student-centered approach.

Utilizing the digital teacher training materials developed by local teachers, teacher trainings will be conducted to cover lower secondary schools in the 4 province and 1 Ger district in UB. The school principal and the teacher in charge of training from each school will also participate. Involvement of school principals, training managers, and teachers is considered effective to promote in-school training. In addition, we aim to disseminate digital training materials in the neighboring provinces.

Output 5: At 10 model schools, teachers’ teaching ability will be improved through development and dissemination of classroom teaching materials.

10 model schools will be designated from the five regions in Mongolia. In each model school, three core team members will prepare teaching materials, lesson plans, guidance plan based on the knowledge and skills learned in teacher training. In the second year of the project, 10 representatives from the model schools will visit the schools in Japan for training and learn the teaching methods practiced in lower secondary schools. After that, the team will reflect good practices learned from schools in Japan with understanding the advantages and plan how to utilize it into practice. Teachers from the model schools are expected to develop high quality teaching materials reflecting the needs of each region and disseminate in each province and district.

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