TEACHING TO TEACH IN MONASTIC SCHOOLSFrancesco Baietti
Teach to Teach
Teach to teachis a Moses initiative aimed to improve the educational offering and the basic servicesin the poor rural communities of Myanmar, through empowermentand capacity buildingof local schools, institutions, and community members.
The scope is to create favorable conditions to a spontaneous development of the local communities and the improvement of their life conditions and perspectives.
Myanmar’s government is a repressive regimethat only lately has started to show some opening. The basic services and the education programs are of very low quality, and often totally lacking in the rural areas.
Over the years, the rural communitieshave created a chain of informal schools (Ba-Ka schools)that are actually performing better than the national system. With the help from the local monasteries and the communities members, those schools have become actual aggregation centers, that also provide basic services.
The Ba-Ka schools, along with the local institutions (monasteries and rural villages committees) are the focus of Teach to Teach.
- To improve the organization skillsin the schools.
- To increment the teachers skills and competencies.
- To increase the school system’s ability to deal with the basic needs from both the childrenand the community members.
- To develop the support material for the teachersand the communities leaders.
- To sensitize parents and familiesabout the importance of education.
- To create a network of schools, with the aim of harmonizing the education programs, facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices, and develop a synergy for the general improvement of the education quality.
The initiative is directly addressed to the Ba-Ka schools. It includes intensive training courses for selected teachersfrom various schools, who in turn cascade their knowledge to their colleagues in the communities. The training program is focused on lessons planning, innovative education approach and methodologies, and cooperation among the schools.
Moses implemented the initiative in 2013 and 2014 thanks to the crucial cooperation with Hanta Educators, an association of Burma university teachers that have been purged following the 1988 closing of the Yangon University (due to the students protest movements). The Hanta teachers have become Moses operational structure, and are in charge of training teachers for the Ba-Ka schools of two Burma regions.
In 2013 the initiative was focused on the Sagaing regionand involved 42 Ba-Ka schools, 135 teachers, and over 3,300 students.
The Hanta Educators organized two training cycles, attended by 60 selected teachers from 42 schools. After the training cycle, the teachers returned back to their communities, where they cascaded the notions to their colleagues under the Hanta supervision and control.
The Hanta Educators also created guidance books for the teachers – actual personalized manuals tailored on the needs of the Ba-Ka schools – and innovative teaching tools, mainly realized with recycled material.
In 2014 the initiative followed the same approach, in the Katha region. In that case 21 Ba-Ka schools, 62 teachers, and over 1,700 children have been involved.