Freedom of choice. It’s a seemingly simple notion but this often-elusive concept was one of the key factors behind the VUSSC work done in collaboration with Director Quenita Walrond-Lewis’s team from the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) in Guyana.
“This has been an exercise in innovation and revolution for us here at NCERD,” says Quenita. “We wanted to give educators more autonomy in their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) options, which we’ve been able to do.”
This emphasis on choice is tied to the NCERD team’s larger goal of encouraging increased professionalism in the teaching profession and establishing a commitment to lifelong learning amongst NCERD members. The team’s ability to offer this enhanced level of choice came at a cost: the team spent close to six months converting the content from their traditional in-person delivery to the virtual environment taking an interesting approach to their process.
This where support from the Commonwealth of Learning was vital, with COL training Quenita’s education officers to reshape the content they’d previously developed for in-person courses, supporting every element of content creation and conversion.
The 24 courses that wound up being developed for the almost 12,000 educators in Guyana were recently rolled out to the country’s 11 educational districts and teachers have been signing up in growing numbers for the online professional development courses.
“We have a team of discrete specialists and we wanted to take a data-driven approach to this work,” explains Quenita. “We explored the data from our student-based assessments to determine which strands children were struggling with and then tried to understand what’s missing – or not happening – at the educator level that would allow this gap to persist.”
“We’re proud of what this partnership has achieved; the capacity building and the course development activities have facilitated this key transition for the NCERD,” says Education Specialist Mairette Newman. “This is the type of project that COL is consistently seeking out to fulfill our mandate.”
You can find more information about Guyana’s NCERD Continuing Professional Development courses and team here.