USAID’s Basic Education Program is supporting the decentralization process by enhancing local capacity to effectively manage, and improve the quality of, education. It is also strengthening the role of the local community in school management and improvement.
Establishment of professional development centers and development of municipal professional development plans
The USAIDs Basic Education Program has signed Memorandums of Understanding with seventeen Municipalities in Kosovo to support them in their new roles and responsibilities. Together with these partner municipalities, the Program has established a Professional Development Centers (PDC) in each municipality. These PDCs will provide a venue for professional development activities for teachers and administration staff at very low cost. Each municipality has selected two rooms in a school as the venue for the PDC.
These rooms are equipped as a training room and a model 21st century classroom. The Basic Education Program has provided furniture and relevant ICT and educational equipment. In addition the Program has provided wireless internet connection for each PDC. Each MED has appointed a PDC Coordinator who supports the organization of the professional development activities within the PDC.
For contact details for PDC Coordinators, click here.
Through its teacher professional development component, the program is training school development coordinators and other MED staff to develop 3 year professional development plans for each partner municipality. For more information about Teacher Professional Development, click here.
Developing national standards for school directors and training them in these standards
USAIDs Basic Education Program supported the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) to develop Standards of Professional Practice for School Directors. The Standards will serve as basis for: a) hiring the school directors; b) reviewing their performance; and c) professional development.
The standards for school directors in Kosovo target the four main areas that lead to the improvement of teaching and learning, they are: a) Leadership, b) School planning and organization, c) Relationships, and d) Care for facilities and finances.
The six standards which address all these fields are:
Through its teacher professional development component, the program is training teachers as facilitators and peer mentors. It is also establishing professional development teams with each school. For more information about Teacher Professional Development, click here.
Training of school governing bodies, parent councils and student councils
The program is working to strengthen the role of the local community in school management and improvement. A Program working team, comprised of local consultants and educators has developed a training program for the school governing boards. The training program aims to improve the effectiveness of the school governing boards as foreseen in the Pre University Education Law of the Republic of Kosovo.
The course objectives are to enhance understanding of:
- The role of school boards as defined under the law;
- Their financial supervision responsibilities;
- Their role in the appointment of school staff, including school director;
- Their role in drafting school rules;
- Their role with respect to extra-curricular activities;
- How to effectively communicate and engage parents and other community members; and
- How to run their meetings effectively;
- Reflecting on current practices of school governing boards and ways to advance the work of the boards in developing schools as successful organizations.
In 2011 the Program piloted the training course in two workshops with school governing board members from Gjakova and Mitrovica. The program will be rolled out to all partner municipalities in 2012.
“Classroom Makeover” activity
To provide an example of the potential effectiveness of parental and community involvement in improving schools, the Basic Education Program is organizing a program of classroom renovation, involving teachers, parents and the community. BEP is using the concept of a “makeover”, i.e. the transformation of the classroom over a short period. The concept was successfully piloted in a school in Vushtri, which went on to renovate all the classrooms in the school with the help of parents and the local community. In September 2011 an MOU was signed with the national television company, RTK, in which RTK committed to producing six TV programs showing classroom “makeovers” in six schools.
The Basic Education Program has also developed a guidebook to help schools to organize their own renovations and will provide training courses for teachers and school boards to successfully manage their own classroom makeovers.
To download the “Classroom Makeover” guidebook, click here.
In 2012 and 2013, the program will provide direct support to up to 100 schools which apply to the program for funding. Schools that are interested in undertaking a “Classroom Makeover” should click here to apply.