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A study visit to Singapore has proven to be an inspiring experience for the twenty staff members from VVOB partner organisations, who were invited to join from 6 to 9 October 2014. The visit to the National Institute of Education (NIE) and Punggol View Primary school helped to build their capacity in the fields of teaching practicum and mathematics education. This will contribute to higher quality teacher training in Cambodia.

To get a better understanding of Singapore’s education system, the participants joined a training at the National Institute of Education. There, the Cambodian staff was introduced to the Singaporean way of organising teacher training. They got acquainted with the teacher training programmes of the National Institute of Education, their principles and the programme components. Afterwards they were divided in two groups to have a deeper look at some content.

Group work

Half of the participants were submerged in the Singaporean mathematics curriculum, while the other half were offered an input training on teaching practicum. The mathematics group had the chance to try-out several teaching aids and received advice on how to effectively assess students’ understanding in larger class groups. The other ten participants learnt how the Singaporean teaching practicum system is organised, who is involved, and which types of support were given to student teachers. Through these sessions and the shared books and forms, inspiration was provided for both their future reform of teacher training and their current work under the VVOB programme.

The Cambodia delegation was also welcomed at Punggol View Primary School. The session on the development and implementation of strategic plans and school action plans caught the attention of several teacher trainers, as they want to improve the planning at their own institutions. Additionally, the participants had the opportunity to see the theory into practice. While the teaching practicum team met with a newly graduated teacher and discussed about best practices and lessons learnt, the mathematics team had the opportunity to observe a lesson with a strong focus on communication and assessment. Through these interviews and observations, the participants were able to develop a deeper understanding of the content.

Sharing through cascade training

In conclusion, the study visit to Singapore has provided better insights to all participants, as they learnt how other countries offer quality teacher training to student teachers. The Cambodian teacher trainers and ministry staff will now use this knowledge, and these skills and experiences to improve the quality of teacher training in their own country. With support of VVOB, they will be providing cascade training to their colleagues across 18 teacher training centres.