World Teachers Day: Teachers Leading in Crisis, Reimaging the Future

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Let’s Read Project joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Teacher’s Day on  October 5, 2020.  This day aims to bring focus to appreciating the role of teachers worldwide, as well as provide an opportunity to consider issues related to teaching and learning.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Teachers Leading in Crisis, Reimaging the Future as this year’s theme.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have been at the frontlines, ensuring that there is continued and sustained learning for learners at all levels.  They have had to find ground-breaking methods and strategies to mitigate the lost learning time caused by the novel coronavirus.  Now that schools have re-opened in Zambia, teachers will have to continue to be innovative, keeping in mind the need for smaller class sizes, reduced contact hours.

“It is unbelievable how teachers have helped during this pandemic by providing teaching through alternative solutions such as phone calls, WhatsApp and Facebook.  Others have provided support to their pupils through radio programmes.” –Moses Nyirenda, Head Teacher, Chilasa Primary School, Kondwelani Zone, Sinda District.

At the peak of the pandemic, USAID Let’s Read Zambia collaborated with teachers to repurpose existing folktales into radio programs for pupils in grades 1 to 3 in the seven official languages of instruction in Zambia.  Community radio stations  have  broadcast these programs   in the five target provinces of Eastern, Muchinga, North Western, Western, and Southern.

“Working together with the USAID Let’s Read project team to record folktales for learners has been a good experience.  The overall process has taught me how to tell stories effectively with expressions for learners to comprehend, making it easier to teach other skills like spellings and sounds.’’ –Harriet Mbimbi, Teacher,  Nyumba Yanga Primary School, Lusaka District. 

The project also created Teacher Tips, a professional development radio program targeted at literacy teachers who teach grades 1 to 3. These have also been airing on ZNBC and community radio stations.

The USAID Let’s Read Project, in collaboration with the Ministry of General Education, has supported approximately 18,200 head teachers and grade 1-3 literacy teachers from 4,700 government and community schools through professional development training.

Happy Teachers Day!

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