Applications for the Teach For Kosova Fellowship are opening on November 15th. What does this mean? Each year, Teach For Kosova recruits exceptional individuals to lead, inspire, and create change in high-need schools and communities. Those who are selected to be a part of the Teach For Kosova Fellowship receive ongoing training and support during their two-year, full-time commitment to the program.
Additionally, with this experience, Fellows will have a deep understanding of the challenges that currently exist in our education system. When your 2-year commitment comes to an end, Teach For Kosova will continue to work with you to ensure that we can make lasting systemic change for the future of our country.
To that end, as a Teach For Kosova Fellow you will have the opportunity to make a difference in students' lives and can shape who they become in the future. You will join a network of over 60,000 alumni in the Teach For All network (www.teachforall.org) and will work to create the change that Kosova desperately needs.
To learn more about the program please go through our website or contact us at: email@example.com.
Every year, Teach For All hosts a Global Conference in which all of its network partners and affiliates are invited to connect and learn from one another. Because 2020 continues to be challenging with the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference will be hosted virtually between October 20-22.
This year's topics range from, "Fostering Student Leadership in Times of Crisis" to "Acknowledging, Processing & Healing Collective, Inter-generational Trauma."
The conference will also host speakers such as Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and CEO and Co-founder of Teach For All, Wendy Kopp. Teach For Kosova is eager to learn more from these inspirational leaders and organizations around the world as we work in alignment with Teach For All.
Between March and July, Teach For Kosova organized monthly virtual meetings with our first cohort of accepted Fellows. During these virtual meetings, Fellows were introduced to one another, the core values of Teach For Kosova, and were provided with monthly assignments to prepare them for Summer Institute.
Our head of training Samir developed the training program and themes for each week of Summer Institute. Together with Dardan and Fulbright Scholar Aaron Spitler, sessions and activities for Summer Institute were created for a 5 week training program.
The themes for each week were as follows:
Week 1: Foundational Sessions/Introduction to Teach For Kosova
Week 2: Leadership Development
Week 3: Effective Teaching, Planning, and Implementation
Week 4: Effective Teaching, Planning, and Implementation
Week 5: Building Community Relationships
From July 13th to August 14th, Teach For Kosova facilitated our first Summer Institute with 17 outstanding young leaders. Each day consisted of a full day of trainings with facilitated sessions, group discussions, and a variety of activities totaling to over 150 hours of training. Fellows were introduced to different concepts related to teaching, leadership, having a growth mindset, building relationships with education stakeholders, receiving feedback, and much more
Additionally, during weeks 3 and 4 of Institute, Fellows had the opportunity to practice teaching both virtually and in person. Each fellow was provided with a class of students (consisting of other fellows) and a Teach For Kosova staff member. Fellows were observed and received feedback from both their students and the Teach For Kosova observer.
Teach For Kosova staff and Fellows also had the opportunity to listen to many guest speakers, highlighted by Head of Parliament Vjosa Osmani and Former Prime Minister Albin Kurti. Ms. Osmani and Mr. Kurti discussed what it means to be a leader, how to persevere through challenging situations, and the importance of improving education in Kosova today. Other guest speakers included prominent educational leaders in Kosova who gave unique and nuanced perspectives on leadership and advocating for necessary change in our education system.
The Teach For Kosova team concluded Summer Institute in Germia Park where Fellows reflected on their journeys throughout Institute. In our end of Institute survey to fellows, we were ecstatic to read that 100% of our fellows would highly recommend our Fellowship to a family member or friend.
By: Egzon Gashi
In every country in the world, there are certain students who have a predicted future of success while others must overcome many barriers for success. In Kosova’s education system, these differences are less pronounced; unfortunately, despite having one of the youngest populations in the world, Kosova’s students are not being prepared to succeed internally or compete globally. It is generally known throughout the country – and especially in the education community – that Kosova’s results in the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam were alarming. In the test, Kosova’s students’ scores were amongst the lowest in the world in Math, Science and Reading.
The issues in the system are well-known. In the last four years, however, many of the changes Kosova has implemented have yielded minimal results. Kosova has a new curriculum that is being implemented throughout the country and the country even created a PISA commission for the 2018 test – the results of which will not be available until the end of 2019. While immediate change is difficult to assess, the feeling around the country is that there are still significant issues holding the country back from improving its education system.
In September 2018, the non-governmental organization “Teach For Kosova” was founded – the organization is working to implement the global Teach For All model and adapt it to Kosova’s context. While the model is globally informed, in order for it to succeed, it must be locally-rooted to solve the unique issues which Kosova’s education system faces. The Teach For All model has been implemented in 49 countries around the world. Its expansion is indicative of its success and Teach For All has been supporting Teach For Kosova in its early development.
While the model is globally informed, in order for it to succeed, it must be locally-rooted to solve the unique issues that Kosovo’s education system faces. The Teach For All model has been implemented in 49 countries around the world. Its expansion is indicative of its success and Teach For All has been supporting Teach For Kosova in its early development.
The basic premise of the model is to recruit, train and develop the nation’s most promising young graduates and place them as full-time teachers for two years in Kosovo’s highest-needs schools. The model is predicated on the belief that teaching is inherently a leadership position and that for students to be successful, they need teachers who are role models and advocate for them.
The fellowship lasts two years, and the aim is that the graduates of the program become alumni who are well informed about educational issues and are inspired to create change. The recruits — chosen for their academic success and demonstrated leadership potential — will then be positioned to understand systemic issues in the education system and collectively work to address these issues.
While our organization will follow the basic Teach For All model — recruiting young leaders, placing them in schools, and developing their leadership capacity — the program itself will be highly contextualized.
By: Egzon Gashi
On December 3rd, the results for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam were released. As in 2015, the results were alarming - Kosova’s students were near the bottom of the rankings of countries tested and were severely below basic proficiency in all three thematic areas - reading, mathematics, and science. The announcement of the results coincided with a UNESCO conference I was attending in Hammamet, Tunisia on education and inclusion. I represented Kosova and my organization Teach For Kosova at the conference. The results immediately become a topic of conversation at the conference and also back home in Kosova. While they were disappointing for Kosova, they were not surprising.
Between the two tests, in 2015 and 2019, there were subtle changes. The Ministry of Education created a “PISA Commission” which gave more focus to the test and how it was administered; the thought was that because 2015 was the first time Kosova took the exam, implementation affected results. However, this year’s results only reinforced what those in the education sector already knew: Kosova’s education system is not preparing students to fulfill their potential.
How do you reform a broken system? There isn’t a silver bullet, unfortunately. Rather, it takes structural and sometimes difficult change, which must be implemented over time. Over the last 18 months, I’ve immersed myself in Kosova’s education system and learned a great deal from visiting schools and municipalities, speaking to key stakeholders, and developing an understanding of how the system functions.
While the question always seems to be how we can quickly turn things around, the answer is that systemic change takes time, and sustained effort.
Below are a few ways Kosova can begin to create change.
While working to build a teacher profile, Teach For Kosova met many accomplished school leaders and teachers in the municipality of Gjakova. One of these school leaders, Zana Kurtishi-Rudi, exemplified what it means to be a visionary leader who is determined to tackle the challenges that her school faces and improve the educational experience for all students who attend Mustafa Bakija Elementary School. Prior to leading Mustafa Bakija Elementary School, she worked as an IT Teacher at an elementary school in Gjakova for 10 years. During her time as an elementary school teacher, she took on the responsibilities of a Curriculum Coordinator for the “Life and Work” field. Additionally, she developed the administration and assessment instruments for all statistics classes in the country, as well as the school- based development plan for capacity building of teachers.
Zana has worked closely with the Ministry of Education for seven years as a Master Learning Facilitator in: Training Trainers, Assessment, Technology in Education, and Web Design for schools. Together with the Pedagogic Institute of Kosovo and the Ministry of Education, she developed the Manual for Developing Methodology Practices in Teaching, Assessment, as well as planning the lessons in the “Life and Work” field which has -Technology and Informatics and hands-on learning in elementary school grades 1-5.
During our meetings with Zana, a theme that was brought up frequently was teacher appreciation. Zana emphasized her belief in her teachers and the work they do at her school—as well as the importance of appreciating their dedication to their students. Moreover, Zana has been working towards improving students’ experiences at Mustafa Bakija, to ensure that they are receiving the best possible education. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, she has created a system in which the school evaluates the needs of teachers, students, parents, and the school as a whole, in order to make effective decisions that address the needs of all parties.
Zana expressed that in order to make these decisions; communication, teamwork, transparency, and accountability are all factors that must be present for the school to be successful. To that end, she explained that at Mustafa Bakija, there are multiple teams that each have designated roles and responsibilities that work together with her and strive for continuous improvement. As an example, she mentioned that this year the school conducted its first internal evaluation. Through the combined effort of students, teachers, parents, and school leaders, Mustafa Bakija Elementary School was able to analyze, identify, and corroborate data on what areas the school needs improvement. As a result, the school has a clear idea of where to allocate resources and how to lessen the different obstacles that were identified through the internal evaluation.
Zana exemplifies what it means to be a leader who motivates and inspires others to work towards a common goal. Through her leadership, Mustafa Bakija Elementary School continues to grow and prove that when we work together, anything is possible.
Teach For Kosova spent the months of March and April 2019 visiting schools in Mitrovica, where we met many inspiring teachers, outstanding students, and visionary school leaders.
By: Dardan Hajrizi
As part of the project: Teacher Profile Development; recruitment of teachers from the Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities, Teach For Kosova selected Gjakova as one of the municipalities to begin its community/school visits. The purpose of these visits were to learn from different teachers, school/community leaders, parents, and students about the education system in Gjakova. While visiting different schools, the team met incredible people who were dedicated to improving the education system and understood the obstacles that exist within it.
Teach For Kosova will also visit Mitrovica and Malisheva as part of the project which is supported by the Engagement for Equity (E4E) program financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). From these visits, the team hopes to use the knowledge gained to build a "teacher profile," one that will inform what qualities a Teach For Kosova fellow must possess in order to fulfill our mission and vision as an organization.
December 1-5th, 2019
Executive Director Egzon Gashi attended the UNESCO conference on ‘Educating for an Inclusive and Sustainable Future’ in Tunisia this week.
The conference places key actors of education at the forefront of challenges such as exclusion, marginalization, and inequality to ensure every child has access to quality education.
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