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Very often, it is disheartening to discover colleagues amongst ourselves in education who profess to desire change, yet lack in desire for implementing change.

Peter Tabichi is a science teacher from rural Kenya. He is the winner of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize, organised by the Varkey Foundation. The award is presented annually “to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession”.

In 2013, the Foundation commissioned a research into attitudes about teaching as a profession, teachers’ salaries, students’ attitudes towards educators, and how people rated their own education systems. The shocking results of this research led the Foundation’s Chairman to establish the award, with the aim of raising the profile and respectability of the teaching profession.

Peter was among 10,000 nominations from 179 countries for the award. He serves in a deprived school, with overcrowded classes (70-80 learners) and few textbooks, which have to be shared. He gives away 80% of his pay in order to support learners, many of whom are orphaned.

“It’s not all about money,” he says.

Peter travels to a cyber café in order to download resources for his science lessons. Many of his learners walk over 6 km on poorly-maintained roads to go to school. Nevertheless, together they have been successful in science competitions, including an award from the Royal Society of Chemistry in the United Kingdom.

The Varkey Foundation hopes that Peter’s story “will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do throughout the world every day”.

RITE Education is passionate about delivering personalised, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to 21st century challenges in education. Our projects thus far have spanned 7 countries and impacted tens of thousands of educators and learners, with validated impact on teaching and learning outcomes.

We work primarily with government agencies, foundations and groups of institutions to deliver research-based solutions which reflect international best practices and local realities. Innovative approaches which embed global education trends are coupled with transformative practices driven through capacity building.

To find out more about how we can help transform educators’ mindsets, or if you would like to discuss any of the issues touched on above, please write to me at nigel@rite.education!

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The above front page headline of the 24 March 2019 edition of the New Sunday Times certainly attracted a lot of attention, especially with the names and faces of all 13 members of the National Education Policy Review Committee (NEPRC) on full display. The committee, which was formed back in October 2018, is scheduled to present their final report to the Minister of Education by the end of April 2019.

The NEPRC was given the following mandates:

  • Propose innovative ideas in restructuring the national education system to build a holistic society
  • Review national education policies and approaches to teaching and learning, and suggest improvements
  • Provide recommendations towards making the public education system the first choice for citizens, from preschool to university, as well as revive the reputation of local public institutions of tertiary learning
  • Stimulate all relevant stakeholders to ensure systemic changes which impact all segments of society
  • Recommend appropriate benchmarks to be set within the national education system

In the New Sunday Times, educationist Professor Datuk Dr Noraini Idris suggested a need to improve early education. She cited preschools in Japan as not only focusing on academics but also on character building: “they learn how to cooperate with each other… which instils the spirit of togetherness”.

She also alluded to the high barrier to entry of the teaching profession in Finland: “We need people who understand the right teaching techniques”, as well as the need for learner engagement: “Besides the academics, they are taught to communicate and present their work, so they become braver and are interested to learn”.

Professor Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong, Principal Fellow at the National University of Malaysia’s Institute of Ethnic Studies, indicated that it is the implementation of policies which should be improved: “the country’s two [education] blueprints were endorsed by international educationists following consultations… The discourse on education reforms should focus on effective execution”.

We at RITE Education certainly agree with these points which were highlighted by the esteemed contributors, and we look forward to the NEPRC report next month!

RITE Education is passionate about delivering personalised, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to 21st century challenges in education. Our projects thus far have spanned 7 countries and impacted tens of thousands of educators and learners, with validated impact on teaching and learning outcomes.

We work primarily with government agencies, foundations and groups of institutions to deliver research-based solutions which reflect international best practices and local realities. Innovative approaches which embed global education trends are coupled with transformative practices driven through capacity building.

To find out more about our innovative Thinking Skills Curriculum, ThinkWise, or if you would like to discuss any of the issues touched on above, please write to me at nigel@rite.education!

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On 15 March 2019, RITE Education founder, Ms Elmarié Potgieter, delivered a keynote at the 2019 Fieldwork Education International Curriculum Conference in Singapore. Her keynote was titled “Let’s Not Get Lost in Translation: Implementing International Best Practices and Localising Curriculum Content”.

Key Takeaways from the Conference

(1) Three key elements to successfully implement international best practices or curricula across different countries:

  • “Triplisation” process of education (Cheng, 2003), approaches to localisation and stakeholder buy-in – makes it relevant
  • A growth mindset and effective change management strategies – makes it possible
  • Sustainable professional development of teachers – makes it last

Triplisation process – globalisation, localisation and individualisation!

Dey, Sudhi. (2005). Teaching Method A New Paradigm. The International Journal of Learning.

(2) “Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford

  • Curriculum implementation requires teachers to change not only their knowledge and practices but also their attitudes
  • Some teachers want to change, yet they could be afraid of change, especially if it comes quickly or if they lack the competencies to cope with the change

(Ornstein & Hunkins, 2014)

Teachers require a growth mindset – a belief that they can learn anything! This will inspire the same approach in their learners.

  • Keep on growing – be determined to learn from others
  • Experiment and innovate – don’t be afraid to take risks
  • Think outside the box – good questions are valued more than just answers
  • Be flexible – “Those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.” (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Learn new technology – stay relevant with your learners
  • Reflection is crucial – we seldom make enough time to gauge the effectiveness of our practices

RITE Education is passionate about delivering personalised, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to 21st century challenges in education. Our projects thus far have spanned 7 countries and impacted tens of thousands of educators and learners, with validated impact on teaching and learning outcomes.

We work primarily with government agencies, foundations and groups of institutions to deliver research-based solutions which reflect international best practices and local realities. Innovative approaches which embed global education trends are coupled with transformative practices driven through capacity building.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues touched on above, please write to me at elmarie@rite.education!

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On 16 March 2019, members of the RITE Education team participated in a conference “School Leadership and Policy Implementation in Malaysia”. The purpose of this conference was to present the findings from a research project by the University of Nottingham (Malaysia campus) on the implementation of educational policy reform in Malaysia, based on interviews with national, state and district officials, as well as school heads and principals. This research was funded by the HEAD Foundation.

Key Takeaways from the Conference

42% of principals in local public schools serve < 5 years before retiring. Are they able to achieve any meaningful transformation in their respective schools, given such a short duration of service? Should we look further into competency- rather than seniority-based promotions?

Should the best school leaders and educators serve at the most challenging schools?

In setting out policies for educational reform, should we be benchmarking rather than jumping on bandwagons? For instance, there is plenty of talk surrounding the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but how much of our teaching and learning practices are actually effective in preparing future generations for it?

Will policy implementation ever succeed without the buy-in of educators? How much of transformation begins in the classroom?

Do school leaders tend to focus on management rather than instructional leadership? Are some educators “only interested in teaching”, with little care for the development of their methods to cater to millennial traits?

Our Input at the Conference Roundtable

The hierarchical nature of education models is especially present in some countries. Is this a culturally inherent factor? Should we be researching further into adapting to this attribute (in the short-term), rather than trying to enforce changes in mindset which could take decades to overcome?

Educators are more than just professionals. They should be passionate about what they do, which would almost certainly translate into greater enthusiasm and likely to produce improved learner outcomes. Should educators engage more in informal and self-sustaining collaboration and networking, beyond Professional Learning Communities, Continuous Professional Development sessions, and other such activities?

Are trust and creative freedom in educational administration features which require a top-down approach? If the Ministry of Education offers autonomy to state education departments on certain aspects (with positive results), would this trigger similar practices at district level, school leadership level, and even down to the relationships between educators and their learners?

RITE Education is passionate about delivering personalised, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to 21st century challenges in education. Our projects thus far have spanned 7 countries and impacted tens of thousands of educators and learners, with validated impact on teaching and learning outcomes.

We work primarily with government agencies, foundations and groups of institutions to deliver research-based solutions which reflect international best practices and local realities. Innovative approaches which embed global education trends are coupled with transformative practices driven through capacity building.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues touched on above, please write to me at nigel@rite.education!

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RITE Education has been appointed to support Mutiara International Grammar School in the final phase of its journey to the prestigious CIS accreditation. Mutiara International Grammar School (MIGS) has been providing the British Curriculum to local and international students for the past 20 years. The school has recently opened a new school building, library, refurbished canteen, computer centres, and are in the midst of further modernisation of there facilities. The school has always had a fantastic ethos, and was recently given a Five Star Quality Standards Award by the Ministry of Education Malaysia. http://migs.edu.my/ Visit their website and view the fantastic new buildings!
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