The African Centre for Women in ICT (ACWICT) has partnered with Microsoft through the Microsoft Partners in Learning (PiL) Program and the Ministry of Education – Kenya, to implement the Innovative Women Teachers (IWT) program. The program aims to build the capacity of women teachers in ICT while at the same time addressing the issues affecting Girl Child education in Kenya.
The Innovative Women Teachers Program is expected to reach 150,000 women primary and secondary school teachers in Kenya by a phased implementation strategy. The Program is based on a Trainer of trainees (ToT) approach in which Bachelor of Education alumna from various Kenyan universities are trained at the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) and deployed to train female teachers in the countryside.
The IWT is delivered through a localized Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum designed to develop the capacities of women teachers to integrate technology into daily teaching, learning and research.
The IWT exemplifies Microsoft’s dual commitment to improve the quality of education and provide alternative channels for economic progress by building partnerships with governments and schools around the globe as part of its education and citizenship strategy.
PROGRAMME GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
The programme has four for specific objectives:
• Provide an avenue for adoption and implementation of the ICT policy in the context of its integration to address real challenges to education in Kenya. Undertake basic hands-on ICT skills training using the Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum to improve current teaching practices amongst teachers against the emerging pedagogies.
• Provide opportunities of ICT integration so as to improve learning outcomes by helping teachers to identify opportunities for innovative practice in school environment.
• To examine the Social, cultural and health issues around the girl child and determine how ICTs can help access, disseminate and communicate information and steer change around these issues.
ACWICT works closely with the Ministry of Education synchronizing training schedule by:
• Training the trainer of trainees at the Kenya Institute of Education
• Conducting Residential training for teachers during school holidays at designated training sites.
• Organizing peer-to-peer to peer training by the already trained women teachers.
• Organizing a Transportable Training lab for those in very harsh areas without training equipment.
The female teachers who undergo training through the programme are:
• Assisted to acquire laptop computers.
• Supported to get free applications software from Microsoft.
• Mentored to be part of the Innovative Women Teachers Network.
• Assisted to acquire devices for internet connectivity.
• Acknowledged by the Ministry of Education by up scaling them (promotion)
• Provided with digitized subject content from Kenya Institute of Education.
A pre- training assessment and skills audit of the trainees is done by testing their hands on experience and entry behavior. Focus is primarily given to group tasks to promote supportive engagement in the training. This raises the motivation and attitude of the TOT’s, encourage free flow of ideas, increase desire for research and mastery of the customized Digital Literacy Curriculum. The trainees also get one-to-one experience to build their hands-on skills and confidence
The tutoring focuses on building their confidence and hands on proficiency, to mould them as 21st century teachers and the need to harmonize these on a customized Microsoft Digital Literacy platform. This is done through a task based approach using practical assignments to edify the trainees.
A graded test based on the course work is administered in each topic in the localized digital literacy curriculum. Tasks on usage of ICT in the apprehension of the girl-child potential and the integration of ICT into the classroom environment is done. The trainees also evaluate the process through a reflective journal where the students recount their experiences in the light to their expectations and the training outcomes.
The Innovative Women Teachers Program like ACWICT’s other projects is geared towards the use of Information’s Communications Technology in Education towards the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and attainment of Education for All (EFA) by reducing the gender gap at all levels of education. Hence Promote gender equality and empower women; Achieve universal primary education; Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; Develop a global partnership for development; Combat HIV/AIDS malaria and other diseases ;and Reduce child mortality ;Improve maternal health and Ensure environmental sustainability —all by 2015.