Friday, 12 September 2014

Over 20,000 Teachers Using Social Media To Improve Service Delivery

By Paul Shalala
Posing with teachers after an interview

Over 20,000 teachers from all provinces of Zambia are using social media to enhance their teaching skills, learn best practices from each other and interact with colleagues from various areas.

Under the umbrella of the Zambia Teachers Forum, the teachers now run the Zambia Teachers Forum Facebook group with 19,000 members and a fan page with over 1,000 fans.

The Zambia Teachers Forum, also runs two WhatsApp groups with over two hundred members and a LinkedIn profile.

Zambia Teachers Forum Executive Director Richard Malunga says these social platforms have been created to help teachers share experiences, learn about new developments in the sector and pass on announcements.

"Social media has been helpful to our teachers. Those who seek swappings from districts eaisly find their partners here. We also provide a platform for teacher interaction," said Malunga who also serves as the Chief Admin for the Zambia Teachers Forum Facebook group.

Trainee teachers who are using these social platforms says they have received alot of mentorship from veteran teachers.

"I have learnt alot from Facebook. Teachers who have been in the system for a longtime usually help us on how to confront situations in the classroom," said Lawrence Kandondo, a trainee teacher at Northmead Secondary School in Lusaka.

With the membership of the Zambia Teachers Forum being spread across the country, teachers in rural areas are part of this revolution.

"I have benefited alot from career development and professional exchanges. This platform has helped us alot to interact and sharpen our teaching skills," said Penelope Kandutu, a teacher at Nampundwe Secondary School in Shibuyunji District.

"I have seen people benefiting from scholarships whose adverts where posted on our Facebook page. I have also seen the people uniting and interacting with others from far flung areas," said Pumulo Mungoma, a teacher at Kasaka Secondary School in Kafue District.

To further increase the use of Information and Communication Technology among teachers countrywide, the Zambia Teachers Forum has parnered with a local organisation Knowledge Gates to help teachers acquire computers to help them stay online.

So far, in over 1,000 schools countrywide, teachers have been helped to stay online and they receive latest information at their fingertips.

Knowledge Gates has so far supplied 3,000 computers to teachers who are now able to stay online and research for their classwork.

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