Engaging Stakeholders to Implement Contextually-Relevant Approaches to Teacher Professional Development in Nepal
Mobilizing the support of stakeholders is key to adapting, adopting, and sustaining the innovative approaches to teacher professional development being implemented by the ‘Multi-modal Approaches to Teacher Professional Development (MATPD)’ project in Nepal, Maldives, and Afghanistan.
To this end, the team at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has been engaging with key officials at the Center for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD), the apex teacher training body within the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Nepal.
From providing insights on the teacher professional development landscape in Nepal to recruiting Fellows for the South Asian Teacher Educators (SATE) Fellowship, the CEHRD has been an important partner in implementing this project. In fact, some of the SATE Fellows, who work within or closely with the education system in Nepal, for example, in curriculum development or as master trainers trained by CEHRD, have been sharing their experiences of participating in the Fellowship with the CEHRD on a regular basis.
Members of the core team at TISS have had the opportunity to meet with CEHRD officials and discuss key elements of the project, including teacher professional development and mentoring during their visits to Nepal in October and December 2022.
Teacher Professional Development
As part of revising its Teacher Development Framework, the CEHRD intends to shift from traditional approaches to teacher training to more diverse approaches that include components such as teacher mentoring, action research, lesson study, teacher networking, and self-directed learning. Further, Nepal’s National Education Policy 2019 mandates local governments to conduct a diverse range of school-based continuous professional development programs for teachers.
The MATPD project combines distance learning technologies, action research, mentoring, and professional communities of practice to strengthen the capacities of teachers and teacher educators, thus making it extremely relevant to the school-based continuous professional development programs mandated by Nepal’s National Education Policy 2019.
In this context, the TISS team presented key elements of the project to CEHRD officials, Mr. Girman Thapa (Director, CEHRD), and Mr. Raju Shrestha in October 2022. They were joined by an MATPD fellow, Mr. Khil Narayan Shrestha, who had earlier worked with Curriculum Development Centre and is now with the Education Review Office. He shared how his learnings and experiences from the fellowship have facilitated his own professional development and its application in his practice. He also spoke about his Action Research study and the support that he has received from his mentors for the same.
The CEHRD recently piloted a teacher mentoring program in a few local governments in collaboration with the School Sector Development Plan Technical Assistance (SSDP TA); and also intends to develop a Standard Operating Procedure to scale its mentoring program in Nepal.
Mentoring is an integral component of the MATPD project. All Fellows are supported by Academic and Field Mentors as they implement their field action research projects. Thus, the CEHRD requested to meet with the Nepal Fellows and Field Mentors to understand their experiences of mentoring, while the TISS team was visiting Nepal in December 2022.
At this meeting, which included Mr. Girman Thapa, Mr. Raju Shreshta, Mr. Shankar Adhikari, and Ms. Rajini Dhimal from the CEHRD, a few of the Nepal Fellows presented their learnings from the mentoring course and their academic-field mentoring experiences.
Fellows highlighted the sustained and continuous nature of interaction with their mentors, and how this mode of collaborative learning empowered them to effectively mentor the teachers that they were working with as part of their field action research.
The Fellows were also joined by the MATPD Field Mentors who are faculty at the School of Education at Kathmandu University. Field Mentors highlighted their experiences of collaboratively mentoring the Fellows with Academic Mentors as equal partners in their field action research. As Field Mentors, they have been providing contextually relevant inputs and resources to the Fellows, while also acting as interlocutors with Academic Mentors.
In response, CEHRD officials expressed their interest in continued engagement with TISS, especially in the areas of organizing workshops on mentoring for pedagogical support.
Context matters for innovative approaches to be able to address issues in an effective manner. The continued engagement with the CEHRD has been critical to understanding the contextual realities of teacher professional development in Nepal, including current approaches to reform.
We hope to continue exploring opportunities for collaboration with the CEHRD in the coming months, including mentoring, and other aspects of the MATPD teacher professional development model relevant to scaling in Nepal.