The Varkey Foundation (VF) commits to expanding its School Leaders Instructional Training Program across the Central and Northern regions of Uganda, as a way of scaling the ongoing two-year pilot model to a more national level. The commitment seeks to train an additional 3,000 School Leaders from 1,500 new schools (who will in turn train an additional 24,000 front-line teachers) in six new districts over the next three years.
The project involves identifying School Leaders (Principals and Deputy Principals) and training them on an intensive face-to-face five day teacher training course. Equipped with this knowledge and some training materials, these trained School Leaders return to their own schools and commit to training at least eight classroom teachers in the modern teaching techniques over the rest of the year. The project team follows-up with the School Leaders in their schools at least once over the year, both to monitor their execution of the teacher training, but also to help them improve their ongoing delivery. Specific elements of the training program include:
Phase 1: Five-day face-to-face - In-service Instructional Leadership (IL) residential course for School Leaders and Government Education Officials, District Education Officers and Centre Coordinating Tutors including support and follow up visits to support the training cascade. School Leaders return to their own schools and commit to training at least eight classroom teachers in the modern teaching techniques over the rest of the year
Phase 2: Saturation - Training will remain in Counties and Sub Counties across two districts (one Regional and one Central). VF will remain until sub county schools are all trained (saturated).
Phase 3: Saturday Workshops - Every second Saturday of the school term, a three-hour workshop is delivered by VF trainers to School Leaders based on extended content from the five-day pedagogy programme and analysis of school needs taken from the field.
Phase 4: Satellite Schools Satellite or Lighthouse schools are open to all teachers who want to come see how modern teaching techniques work in practice. The satellite school model helps to ensure deeper sustainability and satellite schools serve as the hub for ten schools with school leaders in training in close proximity. Over each 12 month period, support is provided by Varkey Foundation trainers on-the-ground in School Improvement, Professional Development and building Professional Learning Networks. One enhancement to the pilot programme included in this commitment is the addition of three new satellite schools.
Phase 5: Primary Teacher Training College Training of Pre Service Tutors in latest teaching methodology over a minimum 12 month period, developing their knowledge and quality of teaching practice. In turn, these individuals pass this new methodology onto pre-service teachers that enter schools. One enhancement to the pilot programme included in this commitment is the addition of one Teaching College.
The Varkey Foundation currently operates a project office in Kampala, Uganda which employs five full-time teacher trainers, project monitoring officers, and outreach specialists. The Foundations commitment to expand its project model will entail hiring an additional eight full-time staff with all the appropriate project infrastructure in order to ramp up training and reach additional regions and target beneficiaries. This is likely to involve setting up a new second project office in the Northern region to enable full capacity for the additional training activities. The Varkey Foundation aims to employ a further eight full-time employees, of which four will be women.
January 2016 Year 1 start date (academic year begins)
End of Q1: 275 School Leaders (SLs) trained via 22 workshops, 1 new District entered
End of Q2: 550 SLs trained via 14 workshops, 1 new District entered (operating in 2 total)
End of Q3: 2,200 front-line teachers trained via 275 SLs in 3 new Districts, 14 follow-up Monitoring training visits conducted
End of Q4: 1100 SLs trained via 12 workshops, 2 new Districts entered (operating in 4 total) CPD sessions
January 2017 Year 2 start date
End of Q5: 1375 SLs trained via 22 workshops
End of Q6: 1650 SLs trained via 14 workshops
End of Q7: 10,000 front-line teachers trained via 1,300 SLs in 5 new Districts, 12 follow-up Monitoring training visits conducted
End of Q8: 2200 SLs trained via 12 workshops, 2 new Districts entered (operating in 6 total) CPD sessions
January 2018 Year 3 start date
End of Q9: 2200 SLs trained via 22 workshops
End of Q10: 2550 SLs trained via 14 workshops
End of Q11: 20,00 front-line teachers trained via 2,200 SLs in 1 new Districts, 12 follow-up monitoring training visits conducted
End of Q12: 3000 SLs trained via 12 workshops
The World Bank in 2009 reported that Uganda is a country with a population of 37 million people; of which 70% are under 25 and 65% are living in poverty, on or below $2 a day.
In general, the outlook for learners in Uganda is bleak: teachers have limited qualifications and schools are poorly equipped. The teaching profession is in a bad way: teacher pay is low, there is limited status and accountability, and teacher absenteeism rates are high. Only 16% of Ugandan teachers are happy to stay in the classroom. Data from Teacher Initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa 2013 indicate that 47% are dissatisfied with teaching, 59% would not choose teaching again if they had a choice, and 78% believed their colleagues were unhappy in the job. After salary the two most important aspects of teacher self-efficacy is professional growth and recognition.
The quantity and quality of in-service training (INSET) available for teachers and schools is currently severely limited; once a government teacher is recruited and placed in a school, she or he is unlikely to receive more than two or three days per year for in-service continued professional development. This is a critical reason why the status quo barely changes and student learning outcomes remain so weak. Current INSET programs remain largely ineffective at sustainably changing the behavior and practices of teachers. Additionally, monitoring systems of teaching quality at district and school levels are weak.
The Varkey Foundations Instructional Leaders Program aims to address the whole school system and provide enough support, knowledge and skills to School Heads and their Teachers, to enable them to create self-sustaining learning communities. The program is striving to tackle the root cause of Ugandas weak school system, by elevating and improving the numbers of teachers who are trained, by creating networks of peer mentors who can guide struggling teachers locally, and by raising the quality of pedagogical practice in every classroom. The Varkey Foundation has been delivering a pilot project in Uganda over the past two years, which has successfully delivered teacher training to 1,230 School Leaders, who in turn have trained over 12,300 front-line teachers.