Sierra Leone has one of the longest histories of Teacher Professional Development in West Africa since the founding of Fourah Bay College (FBC) in 1827 for the training of teachers and African clergy.
In recent years Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of teachers has become fragmented and is provided on an ad hoc basis by a variety of agencies and organizations, without a coordinating system. At the same time, the evidence demonstrates that teacher morale, motivation, quality, and performance are at an all-time low. Professional learning activities are more likely to be effective if they form part of a coherent program of continuous professional development.
The Teaching Service Commission, with funding from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), is holding a four-day strategic planning workshop with education stakeholders (24th and 25th for the first set of 25 participants, 26th and 27th for the second set of 25 participants) at the “Saphyre Court” hall, King Haman Road. Participants in the workshop include; officials from the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education, (MTHE), representatives from teacher training institutions, Non-Governmental Organizations implementing education programs in the country, the World Bank, COL, the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union, School leaders and CPD resource persons.
The workshop focuses on the process of formulating a CPD framework and guidelines for teachers in Sierra Leone. Participants will consolidate and strengthen the process of developing a shared understanding of the commitment and effective modern approaches to CPD for teachers.
Goals of the CPD Framework/Strategy
Goal # 1
To “Right-Size” the National Teacher Workforce in terms of numbers, teacher/pupil ratio, gender balance, age distribution, qualification profile, specializations (levels, subjects, disabilities, etc.), and deployment across districts and rural/urban areas.
Goal # 2
To enhance the quality of the teacher workforce by qualification and experience, in line with professional standards for teachers & school leaders, as well as the stages outlined in the professional career structure.
Goal # 3
To improve transparency and accountability in the management of teachers and governance of the teacher workforce in Sierra Leone.
Goal # 4
To enhance the dignity of the teaching profession, improve the integrity of the teacher workforce, and strengthen inclusiveness of the profession in catering fairly for all categories of teachers and learners (including persons with disabilities).
Some recommendations from the workshop include:
· Schools to have mandatory teacher development days in their yearly calendar
· CPD should be based on needs identified by MBSSE and MTHE and the TSC teacher assessment process
· Planning of CPD programs should be done with the remotest communities in mind
· Collaboration between CPD service providers
· Service providers should focus more on investing in the pre-service training of untrained and unqualified teachers rather than their in-service training
· Make available accreditation, certification and other awards for every CPD program
· Encourage teachers to value CPD as pivotal to their professional growth (discourage the idea of paying teachers to attend CPD programs)
· The school system should be built as a learning community (I.E. Teachers should be active learners during their career)
· Equitable distribution of CPD opportunities across the country.
· All CPD service providers should include evaluation and performance indicators components in their programs.
These and other recommendations will inform the national CPD strategy for the In-service pillar. Similar workshops will be organised for the three other CPD pillars: Pre-service; Equity and Inclusion; Ethics and Standards.