Improving Access to Learning Resources at Teacher Training Colleges
Why Learning Resources?
Most Afghans live in rural areas, where access to information is limited. This is compounded for females given cultural norms that restrict their mobility. The barriers women face in accessing information adversely impact the professional development of female students and instructors at Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs). Gender segregation and inequitable access to resources sustain women’s isolation, denying them opportunities to grow professionally. In turn, this hampers the capacity of female teachers to improve girls’ educational outcomes, when Afghan girls face multiple barriers to obtaining a quality education.
While digital literacy is increasing in Afghanistan, it remains low among women, who are also less likely to have Internet access. Women cannot access digital literacy opportunities with the same ease as men (such as via Internet cafes). As the Afghan teaching force becomes increasingly female, it is imperative that women teachers get connected and gain digital literacy, so that they can use their access to information to grow their knowledge and become model teachers. Similarly, having access to books at a library on campus is critical, so that future teachers have knowledge resources at their fingertips while they are learning the subjects they will teach and the methods by which they will teach them.
How We Help
CW4WAfghan works to equip TTCs with the resources necessary to deliver high quality education for teachers. We do this by establishing, refurbishing or improving libraries in teacher colleges and training a librarian in each TTC, through the Fanoos Teacher Education program. We then provide the librarian with ongoing coaching, and support them to set up a modern cataloging and borrowing system, to develop usage policies, and to collect comprehensive usage and user satisfaction data from patrons. We have also been working to bring TTCs online, so far connecting 14 locations to the Internet. We also install the Darakht-e Danesh Library (DDL) offline version, DDL Lite, in the computer labs of participating TTCs, prepare educational display material for the computer labs, identify and train a staff person in each TTC to manage the DDL Lite system, and deliver a DDL orientation training for students and faculty.
Highlights of Results To Date
- DDL Lite was installed in Panjshir and Mazar (Balkh) TTCs in 2019. These colleges were also provided with the required IT equipment including the server computer, switch, network cable and PDU).
- DDL Lite was installed in the Nangarhar, Parwan, Kandahar and Bamyan TTCs in 2017, and then upgraded in 2019.
- Internet connectivity was installed in four TTCs (Parwan, Nangarhar, Bamyan and Kandahar), with service coverage for a period of 12 months, after which CW4WAfghan arranged for the service charges to be taken over by the Ministry of Education under their regular operational budget.
- A two day training, Open Educational Resources and DDL, was developed and delivered to 40 participants (35 students and 5 teachers) in each of six TTCs for a total of 240 participants.
- CW4WAfghan carried out a library needs assessment at six TTCs. A list of 200 titles in different subjects were purchased for these TTCs’ libraries, in coordination with the General Directorate of Teacher Education. The books arrived at the TTCs in June 2019.
- CW4WAfghan produced a librarianship training manual for TTCs, in English, Dari and Pashto and delivered a five-day Librarianship and Reading Promotion training for the librarians of 13 TTCs (Kabul, Parwan, Panjshir, Kandahar, Mazar, Bamyan, Faryab, Khost, Nangarhar, Laghman, Herat, Takhar and Badakhshan), two staff of General Directorate of Teacher Education, in Kabul in June 2019. The training was also joined by two library staff from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan (ASA), partners to our digital library (DDL), as well as audited by a guest trainee from War Child Canada. CW4WAfghan will continue to work with each of the teacher colleges to develop their library management systems.
Librarianship and Reading Promotion workshop: a group activity to learn about cataloguing and classifying books