MoEYS strengthening teachers’ qualifications for online learning

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The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has introduced online distance training courses. Photo supplied

Already along the road towards becoming a “knowledge society”, Cambodia continues to strengthen the education sector so its citizens are equipped with the skills necessary for the 21st Century.

Teachers will therefore be continuously prepared to respond effectively and efficiently to students’ learning needs.

In this regard, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) has been introducing training and capacity building for teachers through a number of strategies.

This article focuses on the online webinar series on the use of new technologies for online teaching, the Cambodian National Qualifications Framework, the Teacher Career Pathways Framework, and the selection of outstanding teachers for the Samdech Techo Sen Award.

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, both in the Kingdom and across the world, online and distance learning and teaching has become an even more necessary means for education.

In response to this situation, the Ministry of Education, with the Department of Information Technology as its technical department, has organised online webinar series to support educators and school teachers to continue sustainability and the improvement of education service provision for students.

MoEYS has this year been organising online webinar series under the following key topics:

• E-Education Forum for Primary and Secondary Education;

• Online and distance teaching methods using Google Workspace for Education;

• The use of technology to promote blended learning in the Covid-19 context;

• Convenient ways for producing digital educational content;

• The basics of data literacy;

• Internet security within Covid-19 contexts.

This series of online distance training courses are designed for education personnel at the Education, Youth and Sport Departments and Offices across the country, school leaders, and teachers from elementary to high school levels, within the framework of the Ministry of Education.

Through the efforts of MoEYS, the online webinar series, as launched in March this year, has made remarkable achievements.

The webinar series participants have gained important knowledge to serve the teaching and learning processes with students in their schools or institutions.

These include:

• Using Google Workspace for Education in managing digital education content, preparing lessons, monthly and semester test questions, and preparing online teaching for students;

• Appropriately using their official email account as provided by the Ministry of Education;

• Using the MoEYS E-Learning App via their smartphones or laptops, and introducing the the e-learning platform to their students;

• Searching for educational content in the Khmer language in the Krou Cambodia sub-website (krou.moeys.gov.kh) and in English on the Open Education Resources website (oer.moeys.gov.kh) of the Ministry of Education;

• Finding instructional videos for primary and secondary education by grade level and subject on the MoEYS Youtube channel (youtube.com/moeyscambodia);'

• Using the official social media network of the Ministry of Education, including the official Krou Cambodia Facebook page;

• Joining the MoEYS Telegram Channel to receive the latest tutorials and videos.

Additionally, in order to contribute to consistency in education and training in the Kingdom, the Cambodian National Qualifications Framework is also an essential element for quality assurance purposes and the recognition system.

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With Covid-19, online and distance learning has become even more necessary in education. Photo supplied

The purposes of establishing the Cambodian National Qualifications Framework are to:

• Provide nationally consistent recognition of outcomes achieved in each qualification of education and training;

• Help with developing flexible pathways which assist people to move more easily between the education and training sectors, and between those sectors and the labour market by providing a basis for recognition of prior learning, including credit transfers, experience and current competency;

• Offer flexibility to suit the diverse purposes of education and training;

• Encourage individuals to progress through education and training by improving access to qualifications, clearly defining avenues for achievement, and generally contributing to lifelong learning;

• Encourage a provision of more and higher quality vocational education and training through qualifications that meet individual, workplace and vocational needs, thus contributing to national economic performance;

• Promote national and international recognition of qualifications offered in the Kingdom of Cambodia;

• Facilitate regional mobilisation of a skilled workforce.

The National Qualifications Framework outlines common features and key differences between two areas – higher education, and technical and vocational training.

There are eight levels of qualifications for technical and vocational education and training. The first four of these levels lead to a vocational certificate and technical vocational certificates 1, 2, and 3,and they are regarded as equivalent to secondary education in standard.

The remaining four levels are considered for post-secondary education, including master’s degree/associate degree in technology/specialisation; bachelor’s degree in technology/specialisation, diploma in engineering; master’s degree in technology/specialisation; and doctoral degree in technology/specialisation.

The entry level for higher education refers to the successful completion of secondary education, and the higher education framework has four qualification levels including associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree, culminating with doctoral degree.

Teacher Career Pathways are organised by the Ministry of Education based on global trends in professional practice in developed and regional countries, aiming to strengthen quality of educational staff, especially teachers, school leaders and education specialists to respond to national and international economic and social changes and address education issues.

Teacher Career Pathways is an important instrument to address issues of teacher shortage or surplus.

The framework on Teacher Career Pathways covers all teachers, school leaders and education specialists in the Ministry of Education.

For the teaching profession, the career path is designed for teachers who are dedicated to teaching students in classrooms, have a strong will and commitment to students progressing in school and later work life.

There are three levels of titles for teachers to earn – distinguished teacher; master teacher; and lead teacher.

To achieve professional promotion, teachers must be evaluated through two mechanisms. The first is through annual evaluation, which is divided into four stages and focuses on professional competence and achievement of annual professional development practice.

The second is through the assessment of career pathways, based on five criteria – qualification level; experience or seniority; job performance; job quality and student achievement; and professional performance.

The mechanism of each evaluation is determined by detailed indicators.

In order to further encourage excellent teachers, and strengthen the quality and efficiency of teaching, the Ministry of Education issued Prakas No761 dated July 26, 2016 on “Determination Principles, Criteria and Procedures for Evaluating Good School Principals and Good teachers for Awards and Incentives at the Annual Education Conferences”.

Each academic year, the Ministry of Education selects five outstanding teachers to award prizes and incentives to. The award each academic year is named the “Samdech Techo Sen Award”.

The evaluation and selection of outstanding teachers must follow two procedures. The first is the establishment of an evaluation committee to award and promote the effective performance of teachers based on the “Teacher Professional Standards”. (See the July 7, 2021 “Teacher Professional Standards” article in The Phnom Penh Post.)

The second is the phase of evaluating teachers. It should also be noted that the composition and duties of the Evaluation Committee and the procedures of the evaluation process are also set out in Prakas No761.

By setting out and operationalising the Cambodian National Qualifications Framework, the Teacher Career Pathways, the selection of outstanding teachers for Samdech Techo Sen Award each academic year, the Ministry of Education continues to strengthen the qualifications of teachers.

This is complemented by the online webinar series on the use of new technologies for online teaching, which has been playing an important role in contributing to implementation of education reform in the Kingdom.