During the first year of supported training, the student teachers studied many facets of what it means to be a teacher (from pedagogical methodology to community responsibility). They also learned how to use computers and conduct research online, and obtained extensive practical experience in local primary school classrooms teaching pupils.
The student teachers in all the four countries participated in an intensive experiential journey to explore regions of their country, and in some cases, neighboring countries. Each cohort from the four countries traveled a group and had a chance to study and learn about different cultures and different issues affecting local peoples, while also obtaining insights about the commonalities and struggles shared by all.
Overall, this journey was highly educational and served as a critical bonding experience, which helped to establish a vibrant esprit de corps. The experience established a solid foundation upon which the student teachers will develop and flourish as professionals, inspiring and guiding them for years to come as they respond to the many challenges of rural primary education.
Because of OFID's support, thousands of beneficiaries in each of the four countries have a chance at a better life, including the the student teachers, primary school students, parents, elders and many more. This initiative is creating a new generation of high-quality educators who are committed to making a difference, and who are prepared to meet the demands of teaching in a rapidly changing globalized world.
I managed to achieve all my goals of this period. I am from a family with limited financial possibilities, because my parents do not live together. I received different valuable experiences at DNS, such as how to solve tasks, wake up early in the morning, participate in common actions and work in groups. Besides that, I received a lot of experiences during the national investigation trip.
—Florinda T, OFID Student Teacher, Guinea-Bissau
Basic to the DNS philosophy is the idea that people must become mobilized and take charge of their own growth and development. DNS thus trains teachers to expand their horizons and grasp opportunities to facilitate empowerment for themselves, their students, and their community. This tremendous work of bringing qualified and engaged teachers to rural areas of countries in need of fundamental improvements in the education sector means a lasting impact for generations to come.