East African teachers share solutions for improving secondary education

Nearly 80 East African secondary school teachers met in Kampala, Uganda, December 9-10 to discuss how to create more inclusive and constructive classrooms, schools, and communities.

The workshop centered on the importance of creating gender-friendly learning environments, the value of promoting science and technology-based education, and the necessity of English language instruction for student success in the 21st century. Teachers also networked with entrepreneurs, community leaders, and education experts from Africa and the United States.

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and IREX organized the workshop. Alumni of the International Leaders in Education Program and the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program addressed innovative solutions to global issues through collaboration across borders and subjects, and through the development of action plans. Participants came from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.

“[I] leave with renewed energy to make changes,” said Elimatamu Mwakilasa, an ILEP alumnus from Tanzania who attended the workshop. “I am ready to take on challenges in my classes and [help] students become global citizens.”

Vivian Adhiambo Onano, an advocate for women and girls and a youth advisor to the United Nation’s Women Civil Society Advisory Group from Kenya, spoke to the teachers about the importance of education in empowering youth, especially girls.

“Education should be about molding and shaping the next generation of leaders who will make a difference in their communities,” said Onano.

Maxine Lunn, Program Officer at the US Department of State, spoke about the importance of connecting teachers across East Africa to find innovative ways to teach their students and lead in their classrooms and communities.

“Each teacher has proven to be a leader and a master teacher. Bringing them all together close to home after their exchange experience will help them to strengthen connections, share ideas, and to do so in a familiar environment,” said Lunn.

“We saw real bonds across countries and expertise,” said IREX Acting Program Director Mariya Chetyrkina. “These bonds will advance secondary education in East Africa for years to come.”

The Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (TEA) and the International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP) bring teachers from around the world to the US for six-week to four-month intensive teaching fellowships at US universities. TEA and ILEP are programs of the US Department of State and implemented by IREX.

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