- Manufahi Teacher Training and Resource Centre
Manufahi Teacher Training and Resource Centre is a facility that provides training and resources for teachers in Same, Timor Leste.
For several years Catholic Education Parramatta has been sending volunteers from Australia to Timor Leste to provide training for local teachers of Maths and English. Their seminars concentrate on teaching techniques and the teachers are also provided with teaching aids and materials to assist in the classroom. This work is vital in a school system where only a small percentage of the teachers employed have had any formal teacher training.
Staff from the Australian Terra Sancta College while working in Timor Leste as volunteers, discovered that while the training of staff was working, there were few resources to support the newly learnt skills. There was a need for a resource centre to be built and through negotiations with the authorities, land was made available. This building project has been planned and owned by the Timorese, but has been supported by Catholic Education Parramatta, the Diocese of Broken Bay, and by Northbridge Rotary Club, who are now managing the project.
The resource centre will be located in the relatively isolated Manufahi School District, about 90 km south of Dili. There are 84 schools, with approximately 500 teachers and 15,000 students.
In 2008 Northbridge Rotary, Australia, initiated a project to construct the new teacher training and resource centre. They raised more than $60000 during 2009, to build and furnish the Centre.
On 2 March 2010 two teachers from the Parramatta diocese travelled to Timor Leste to set up the Manufahi Centre. The resource centre, built on the grounds of the Rialau Primary School, is part of the East Timor Teacher Placement Program (ETTPP) which is conducted by the Catholic Education Office, Parramatta and the Catholic Schools Office, Broken Bay. Funds for the centre were raised by schools in the Parramatta and Broken Bay dioceses and the Rotary Club of Northbridge. At least 40 Australian teachers have volunteered for the project.
The Australian teachers also set up the library in the resource centre. An easily accessible system was set up for teachers to be able to use, borrow and make resources to enhance their teaching programs. Two local managers were trained in how to use the centre and a job description was worked out to ensure that the centre will be used appropriately by the teachers.
The centre was set up in four areas with over 800 resources; a borrowing section, a reference section, a resource making section and an ‘improving your own English’ section. The office was set up with a secure area to store electrical equipment such as tape players, headphones and laminators.
The dedicated teacher training and resource centre makes it possible to increase teacher training efforts and provide local teachers access to teaching aids and materials. This is expected to have a significant effect on the quality of education throughout the Manufahi district.
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