Second Teachers’ Training Program in Dhaka by Agami Education Foundation

Written by:  Mansura Amdad, Dhaka

The second “Teachers’ Training on Teaching Science by Hands-On Practice” was successfully completed by Agami Education Foundation (AEF) on May 4 to 8, 2017. The 5-day session was coordinated by Mrs. Nafisa Khanam, Executive Director of AEF. She was assisted by Mr. Alamgir Hossain and Ms. Lovely Yeasmin from Viqarunnisa Noon School and College on all 5 days. Mr. Mukhlesur Rahman, Senior Specialist at the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) also joined the session on the third day.

In 2012, NCTB changed the textbooks and curriculum, which were often proved difficult for the teachers to cope up with. Therefore, the Government of Bangladesh took initiatives in 2016 to train the teachers nationwide. On the non-governmental side, AEF is the first and only organization to provide such an opportunity.

There were twelve trainee teachers from six Agami-supported schools such as: Sohag Swapnadhara School (Dhaka), Sreeyang ASR High School (Comilla), Joypura SRMS High School (Lakshmipur), Milon High School (Netrakona), Chatpara Ideal Academy (Habiganj) and Doshgram High School (Sylhet). All of them teach Science in class seven and accordingly the training was on class seven Science curriculum. A few observers who monitored overall activities of the program included Mr. Mohammed Noor Uddin, Director of Public Relations, AEF and Mr. Shibnath Sarkar, Director of Programs, AEF. I was privileged to be an observer for two days. Prof. Dr. Zeba Islam Seraj, Adviser, AEF and Mr. Arif Bhuiyan, Director, Bangladesh Operations also joined sessions on the opening day.

The training was inaugurated by Mrs. Khanam. Then a message from Dr. Sabir Majumder, president of Agami Inc. was played out followed by Dr. Seraj’s comments stressing the importance of the practical approach to teaching Science and Mr. Bhuiyan’s talk about Agami’s mission and vision. The opening session was concluded with a presentation from Mrs. Khanam, where she emphasized on the Government of Bangladesh’s three key elements of policy on education: constructivism, cooperative learning method and investigation. Dr. Tazkera Khanam, Director of Finance, AEF conducted the day’s training sessions.

On the second day, the resource persons presented the basic skillset required for developing a scientific mindset among students. Then the trainees were given the task of introducing scientific problems to students in an interactive manner where the students are encouraged to engage with their surroundings. The purpose was to have a practical and life-based approach to understand the problems and come up with scientific explanations of phenomena which encompass their lives.

On the third and fourth days, the trainee teachers took simulation classes where a teacher would give demo to other teachers who would act as students and later evaluate him/her. One could clearly see how everyone’s performance and skills improved significantly through these interactions. While the older trainees gained their fair share of experience, the newer ones provided grounds for healthy competitiveness, which enriched the whole training session. On these two days, the trainee teachers were interviewed by members of Khan Academy Bangla Initiative (KABI). The teachers’ dedication was praiseworthy and they were committed to their training. On the final day when they were required to present sample study plans – at first individually and then in groups of two. The best study plans from both individual and group settings were approved and selected for further recommendations.

The final day concluded with the distribution of certificates and remunerations for the teachers on completion of the training. Then various science equipments were distributed to the six schools the teachers represented which differentiates Agami training programs from those provided by the Government of Bangladesh. Mrs. Nafisa Khanam, Mr. Alamgir Hossain, Ms. Lovely Yeasmin and Dr. Tazkera Khanam conducted the closing ceremony with assistance from Mrs. Maksuda Mahtab and Abedin from AEF.

The program created a greater bondage between AEF and the teachers of the remote schools of Bangladesh by bridging the distance as well as boosting their morale. The teachers were amazed at the experience of Science being an easy and fun concept through the usage of practical means. Everyone parted ways in the hope that the dissemination of training and instruments to the teachers would be greatly helpful in not only enhancing the teachers’ capabilities but also in increasing students’ interests in Science. This would augment the quality of education in the schools concerned which is on total alignment with the key theme of Agami – ensuring quality education for all.