What is ETD?

ETD promotes discussion on low-cost ICT initiatives for educational systems in developing countries. Read More

Join ETD

Become a part of the conversation. Contribute your ideas, strategies and expertise to our discussions. Join Now

ICT Teacher Training is Possible and Affordable on a National Scale

Reem Bsaiso


In 2003, I was commissioned to provide information and communication technology (ICT) literacy training to all 90,000 public school teachers in Jordan through World Links. The UNDP and the government of Jordan estimated that we would reach 20,000 teachers by 2006.

Using a well studied training model, I was able to achieve gradual training from 3,000 teachers during Phase I to 16,000 teachers simultaneously, in Phase V, while anchoring sustainability and scalability. By 2003, more than 30,000 teachers were reached and by 2006, almost all teachers attained a full International Computer Drivers License (all 7 modules) certification.

The point I would like to raise here, in favour of Wayan’s debate, is that: YES it is possible to train all the teachers on ICT and thereby reach every student in a country with technology.

World Links showed that exposure of its alumni (students) to and the educational use of ICTs affected future youth opportunities in terms of employment, career choices and global awareness. 2006 World Links assessment of 10 countries.

I once walked into a Badia (Desert area) school, in Jordan, and was so impressed seeing tenth grade girls who designed their own portal and discussion forums, using free online resources. This has been the result of training teachers on how to effectively utilize ICT in the classroom, with upper order skills.

However, the aggregate results on a wider scale were astounding as we managed to create more than 200,000 online content, or supplemental e-material in native languages by training close to 8,000 teachers and their subsequent students.

Teacher Training is Key

I no longer run World Links global operations, but under my new global non-profit initiative, I realized the importance of the training content and the need to go for entrepreneurial skills, in order to promote job creation, rather than job-demand driven skills, since, there are not enough jobs and working opportunities, as it is now in many countries.

Changing the behavior of the teachers to become facilitators rather than instructors, and render interactive students rather than mere recipients, is not an easy task, and needs specialized techniques and methodologies over a period of time. An interesting observation of mine was that developed countries share many of these weaknesses that developing countries are going through. I also noticed how many richer countries fall victims to vendors, and go for absolute technologies.

My vision is to go for outsourcing and free and available resources, and make them more accessible to others. The training is not on how to accumulate the ICT know how, as much as it is the training on the freedom of the mind to search, solve problems, be creative and work on all competencies and skills.

Many think that ICT is the total answer, but it’s not. It is a powerful tool, nonetheless, if not harnessed and used properly, it will not render positive results. ICT comes as an integrated powerful tool and resource, within a larger classroom based strategies and lesson plans, supporting student centric solutions, interactivity, and projects based learning. Even a very specialized teacher in any subject matter, will not be able to run a modernized classroom properly, and change the classroom dynamics, if not well trained.

Teacher Training is Affordable

I have been developing a cost effective model, that can be scaled up, using Jordanian tariffs as an example, targeting a cost of 1 USD / student in a 1,000 teachers, 40 Master Trainers, 2 Core Trainers, model that reaches 200,000 students over 2 years. I tested my new model in two countries since Jordan and I am about to start in Morocco.

In July 2010, I presented in front of 31 European countries, in Rome, a scalable model capable of reaching 100 million teachers in the MENA region, over 5 years. The logistics part, allows one project manager to manage 20 programs in 20 countries at the same time with enhanced quality and sustainability.

However, realizing that in developing countries, twice as much youth are outside educational systems, I designed similar models for vocational training and non-formal education, or community based programs. However, the model is most cost effective in schools, as teachers who are trained continue to pass on their skills and competencies for generations of students.

8 Responses to “ICT Teacher Training is Possible and Affordable on a National Scale”

  1. This is a very impressive achievement, indeed. Is there a follow-up program for the teachers?

    From your post, I get the impression that all schools are connected to the Internet. Is that correct? And was that important for the success of the program?

    • Reem N Bsaiso

      Thank you robvanson. To be perfectly honest, most teachers, for lack for resources or better still for lack of a sturdy system, were quite neglected. But I found out that once a teacher grasps the knowhow, without even follow up, can continue to inspire others and lead students to the future. Of course, with a strong back up systems, the results would be enhanced, more streamlined and progressive. We remain hopeful. As for connectivity, YES, almost all schools are connected with minor exceptions in remote areas, a National Broadband is also being set, but again, sometimes lack of follow up from one of the players (principal, or technician, or budget…) can affect the system. But the opportunity is there.

  2. Oscar Becerra

    Do you have information about the base level of teachers at the beginning of the program? We've had World Links for development schools in Peru in the early 90's but I don't know the results, they were merged into a national project called Huascarán which is now the General Directorate for Educational Technologies where almost 100,000 teachers have been trained but the problem is not about ICT but core teaching skills development and subject area knowledge which cannot be part of the ICT4E training.

  3. Reem N Bsaiso

    Thank you Oscar. We have successfully trained teachers from Grades 1 to 12 and the results were positive. Normally the country (Ministry of Education) decides on the level to target depending on their digitizing content or other strategies. Don't despair, even if the results were not assessed, other assessments proved positive results to introducing ICT in education, such as more attendance among students, and other aspects. However, many countries have a combined program for teachers ranging from subject-matter, ethics, competencies and other educational and theoretical courses. However, most countries realized the need to add on the ICT element (literacy, blended learning, technical support), but it has to be coupled with knowledge economy skills (or some refer to them as 21st century skills or upper order skills). Dr. Bob Kozma depends UNESCO standards, he helped in preparing, that can be a good guideline for the overall package for teachers.

  4. Ramon Sampang

    I am quite impressed with the work you have done and the positive outlook vividly expressed on the article. I hope that we could invite you sometime in the future to discuss about ICT teacher training in our institution here in the Philippines.


Subscribe to ETD

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner