Developing suitable teaching and learning tools was the focus of a very successful Book Development Workshop (BDW) run by the Pan African Teachers’ Centre (PATC), the Professional Development Unit within the EI Africa Region (EIRAF) in Burkina Faso recently.
The workshop, held at the Comité syndical francophone de l’Education et de la Formation (CSFEF) from 10 to 21 August, was attended by four EI affiliates.
Thirty-nine participants – from the Fédération des syndicats de l’Enseignement du Burkina(FESEB), the Fédération des syndicats nationaux des travailleurs de l’Education et de la Recherche (F-SYNTER), Syndicat national des enseignants africains du Burkina (SNEA-B), and the Syndicat national des enseignants du secondaire et du supérieur (SNESS) – attended the workshop. The two Ministries responsible for education also sent representatives to the workshop, which received financial and technical support from the Australian Education Union (AEU) and EI.
Various topics were covered during the course of the workshop. SNEA-B General Secretary, Sema Blegne, highlighted the need for professional development activity valued by the four unions.
In addition, PATC Executive Director Peter Mabande stressed the importance of EI’s Unite for Quality Education campaign. He also highlighted the EIRAF’s efforts to unite EI national affiliates to strengthen them and make them more effective in carrying out their union and professional roles.
Over the course of the week, 39 draft book manuscripts were produced by the participants, and initially ranked on 20 August. The selection of the most suitable drafts will continue in Burkina in collaboration with the PATC/EIRAF Office. This process will be followed by the edition, illustration, type-setting, and printing of 1000 copies of up to 20 titles.
Creating quality teaching and learning tools
“With this workshop, we aimed to offer more professional development projects and programmes to fulfil Africa’s wishes,” Mabande said. “Getting highly qualified professional teachers and promoting literacy is a major step towards the provision of quality public Education for All in Africa.”
All the workshop objectives were achieved, he added. He was hopeful that the published books, providing for supplementary reading in remote, rural schools, within deprived communities, will impact on and improve the quality of written French in primary schools. This will help to achieve higher literacy rates and better education results in Burkina Faso soon.
‘Writing quality school books will give teachers and students quality tools’, Mabande said.
He reminded participants that Burkina’s literacy rate was estimated to be below 30 per cent in 2013 by the UNESCO’s Index Mundi. This huge literacy deficit could be reduced through wider reading of suitable, context-responsive supplementary teaching and learning tools produced by local teachers, he said.
In addition, better education achievement could also, in turn, improve Burkina’s economic performance, assessed to be among the ten poorest nations in the world.
“National unity among educators allows them to have more effective national bargaining power to gain better remuneration,” he went on to say. “It further helps them to efficiently harmonise their resources to offer joint professional development services promoting quality education, which, ultimately, could enhance Burkina’s economic empowerment.”