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Education Beyond Borders (EBB)
Based on data from the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), there were 57 million children out of school in 2011, half of whom lived in countries affected by conflict. In order to fill current gaps in global education and achieve universal primary schooling, it is projected that 1.6 million teachers will need to be recruited by 2015.
This is where Education Beyond Borders (EBB) comes in: founded in 2007, EBB is a non-profit, non-government organisation dedicated to closing the global education divide by providing teacher professional development and community education opportunities in developing countries.
The organisation responds to requests for partnerships from local stakeholders in order to connect global “best practices” in education to those who can implement them at the local level, and subsequently change their communities. Teams of teachers are assembled who then develop teaching workshops that are tailored to a host country’s curricula, and focus on learner-centred methodologies such as collaborative, project and inquiry-based learning and differentiated instruction. Workshops are also customised based on the needs of the local community, and can include subject matter ranging from early childcare and health to gender or environmental issues and guidance & counselling.
Since 2007, EBB has made several trips to regions in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Honduras. Their most recent programs were in Tanzania and Kenya in 2013. The Tanzanian program involved eleven days of workshops with teachers from the Legaruki and Ngarenanyuki Districts, focusing on Collaborative and Inquiry-Based Learning, as well as teaching strategies for large class sizes. A four-day teacher facilitator-training workshop was delivered for local volunteer teachers who went through the program and a one-day student leadership workshop was also hosted by SEMS Teacher Training College for secondary students, in which participants discussed leadership issues and practiced leadership skills through group activities. In accordance with the organisation’s partnership-centred approach, all workshops were created and run in collaboration with these newly trained Tanzanian facilitators. In Kenya, the programs are now self-sustaining and run by the local leaders as per the EBB Model (http://www.educationbeyondborders.org/page/our-model). EBB trainers now work with local trainers in supporting participatory assessment, peer observation and feedback, and the development and implementation of professional learning communities to build and sustain the program’s success in the region and to reach out to neighbouring districts.
Education Beyond Borders further aims to connect teachers across the globe using mobile and information technologies. Teachers collaborate to create lessons in which students work with peers in other countries to study topics of global importance; as a result, both groups gain greater knowledge and appreciation of the world and its citizens.
EBB is currently looking for opportunities to implement its successful model with indigenous communities here in BC and other provinces and throughout Canada’s Northern Territories – using technology to bridge isolation and connect peers locally and globally for authentic discussions and learning. In the future, EBB may also become a resource for emergency education. Teams of teachers will be assembled that will travel on a moment’s notice to set up temporary schools and provide education where regular schooling has been disrupted by unforeseen natural disasters.
I am Noble Kelly, an alumnus of the 1991 UBC Bachelor of Education cohort, and I founded Education Beyond Borders. I have done development work in South Africa, Ethiopia, Guyana, Tanzania, and Kenya, and worked over 19 years teaching in the West Vancouver and Abbotsford school districts. My passion is combining teacher education, international development, and strategic technology used to train teachers, enrich communities, and connect learners across the globe.
If, like me, you are driven to make a difference in education, development, technology, or all of the above, Education Beyond Borders is always looking for new members and partners to help support its activities. Opportunities are currently available in outreach, curriculum development, workshop facilitation, and many other areas of interest. To learn more, please visit http://www.educationbeyondborders.org/page/volunteering-1 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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