FORTH was conceived as a response to some important challenges: awareness of the existence of critical areas in the world, the transformative nature of education, a repeated circle of lack of specific training to teach in these challenged areas, lack of support, resources, and motivation to opt and to remain teaching in these areas.
What if the challenged areas are seen as places to make a difference for teachers who see the possibility that transformation is possible and can change the narrative from one of a problem to one of opportunity? What if teachers who opt to teach in these areas are professionally recognized with an MA degree specializing in methodologies apt for these contexts? estos contextos?
With these questions in mind, after two years of consultation and context analysis, a pilot began in the Philippines chosen for its large proportion of the population under 24 years old, a country with numerous challenged areas, excellent Teacher Education institutions, and a populace with the command of the English language. With the Co-coordination of the University of Groningen and the Belgian-based AISBL, Education for an Interdependent World (EDIW), Project Forth was presented to the European Commission for HEI funding. In August of 2018, Forth got the grant approval from the EC.
This consortium is formed by the following partners: Commission of Higher Education (CHED), five Philippine universities Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Centro Escolar University, University of Southeastern Philippines, West Visayas State University, University of Saint La Salle, and 15 public schools under the Department of Education (DepEd) as Associate Partner, Philippine Association for Formation of Teachers and Educators (PAFTE), SEAMEO-INNOTECH and the Teresian Association International Inc (TAII). The European partners are the University of Groningen, University of Deusto, University of Bologna, Education for an Interdependent World, and Fundación InteRed.
FORTH aims to develop a network of higher education institutions (HEIs), associations, and stakeholders to create a system of quality training, motivation, and support to prepare and support teachers to work in challenged areas in the Philippines, thereby be a model of teachers training for other marginal areas in the world.
Teachers will undergo six modules elaborated by the joint Phil-EU team. FORTH will also offer a repository of methodologies and locally created appropriate materials, and videos with easily recognized protagonists: teachers in the schools to be trained. Besides, there will be a learning community working together with resources that allow it to discover new areas to study, research, or work. As a consequence, the Philippines will have children in these areas with self-esteem who see themselves as important as other children in the country
The process to develop this project involves eight milestones and six training modules: 1) Teacher profile in marginal areas 2) context analysis and social impact indicators 3). creating an attractive learning climate in challenging realities: 4)appropriate methodologies in teaching, learning, and assessments making learning accessible in context challenged by poverty: 5) creation of relevant and innovative teaching materials for challenging realities and 6) creating a teaching and learning community among colleagues while reaching out to a global community and other similar experiences in the world
In summary, FORTH is:
- A joint venture of regions, institutions, disciplines
- Locally owned-interests, contexts, paths
- Sharing, learning together, based on trust
- Focus on the profile of the teacher-training & a system of support
- A pilot of global relevance that can serve as an example, inspiration, and good practice for challenged areas in other world regions.