Quality of education is directly linked with teacher professional development (TPD). To improve learning outcomes and results, governments must invest in TPD and enhance teachers’ capacity by equipping them with up-to-date pedagogical skills. Similar to many countries in the region, Uzbekistan has recognized the scale and the urgency of the challenges facing their TPD systems, and has introduced two new continuous professional development models, supported by UNESCO.
The Global Partnership for Education Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (GPE KIX) in partnership with UNESCO, is implementing the project, “Adapting and Scaling Teacher Professional Development Approaches in Ghana, Honduras and Uzbekistan”, within which two TPD Models are being developed, tested, and adapted into the education system of Uzbekistan. These new TPD models aim to improve the equity of access of teachers to in-service trainings, as well as to overcome major challenges in the education system that were exacerbated by COVID-19.
Within this project, the existing assessment practices, curricula, and the national standards of teachers’ qualification system, particularly pedagogical, technological, organizational factors, were scrutinized so to evaluate the impact on the inclusivity, quality, and efficiency of TPD. Through a comprehensive needs analysis, teachers’ ICT readiness, and the various professional development needs of different subgroups of teachers were identified, and major issues and gaps in the traditional TPD model were spotted.
The previous model allowed teachers to get their in-service training once in five years, enabling them to enhance mostly subject-based knowledge and pedagogical skills. However, classroom application, and teachers’ learning preferences and competencies were not addressed or monitored.
According to Ayubkhon Radjiyev, rector of the National Research Institute named after Avloni of the Ministry of Public Education of Uzbekistan, “Uzbekistan has long relied on the same tried-and-tested professional development model for the last 30 years. However, this so-called “plan-based model” has become unreliable in meeting the needs of schoolteachers for professional development, caused by the rapid development of technology, and demands and expectations for schools. The new model gives on-time access to emerging teaching methodologies, and incentivizes informal peer-learning communities, which are fundamental to teachers learning from others’ experiences.”
The two TPD Models of Uzbekistan cover following segments of the education system:
- Model for teachers of the public education sector (primary and secondary education K11), and
- Model for teachers of creative, gifted, and special needs children
The project has also supported the strengthening of the learning management platforms (https://onlinedu.uz/ and https://edu.piima.uz/), as integral parts of the TPD models of Uzbekistan. These platforms help expand professional learning communities (PLC), where teachers reflect and assess their knowledge, and distance learning opportunities, where teachers can learn any relevant topics for their professional development anytime and anywhere.
UNESCO is working to analyse the sustainability and scalability of the two models through comprehensive field research in six different regions, with a participation of a total of 250 different subgroups of teachers. Pilot schools and research participants were selected considering gender, social and economic factors, and geographic representation, in order to adequately study and represent the needs and TPD experiences of teachers in different subgroups, and address equity, quality and inclusion issues in their professional development.
Model for teachers of the public education sector (primary and secondary education, K11)
In four regions (six schools in each district, covering more than 184 participants: teachers, methodologists, and school principals)
Model for teachers of creative, gifted, and special needs children
In four regions (two schools in each district, covering more than 64 participants: teachers, methodologists, and school principals)
“Recent changes in education provision caused by COVID-19 and shifting to online modes for teaching and learning, have created new challenges for teachers; inequality and the digital divide among teachers further widened. In this sense, TPD models should respond to not only emerging challenges and disruptions, but also future emergencies and problems. Developing and enhancing TPD approaches is more than urgent in many countries. On this note, the project launched and supported teachers quite timely and effectively”, says Bakhtiyor Namazov, National education specialist of UNESCO Tashkent Office.
UNESCO Tashkent Office Field Test-2 process in Konimex district of Navoiy region.