Need for Teachers' Professional Development in a Low-Resource Context During and After COVID-19: A Bangladesh Perspective

Need for Teachers' Professional Development in a Low-Resource Context During and After COVID-19: A Bangladesh Perspective

Md Shajedur Rahman, Mohammad Abu Bakar Siddik
DOI: 10.4018/IJTEPD.295547
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This qualitative study investigated teachers’ professional development (TPD) needs for teaching marginalised children who do not have access to virtual platforms in a Low and Middle Income Country (LMIC). Data were gathered using semi-structured interview schedules from different stakeholders of primary education in Bangladesh. The findings revealed that teachers have taken additional measures to online remote teaching to continue marginalised children’s education. The study also showed that teachers need to develop new skills for doing so and they took several innovative initiatives in addition to government and school provided professional development provisions to address the needs. The study concluded by indicating further scopes of TPD for remote and blended learning.
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The Covid-19 crisis has caused unprecedented challenges for almost 63 million primary and secondary teachers worldwide (UNESCO, 2021). This crisis has juxtaposed with a global shortage of qualified teachers. While education in almost every context has shifted to a distance mood using modern technology from the beginning of the pandemic, according to UNESCO, only 60% of teachers appeared to have recent professional development on using ICT for teaching and learning purposes. Moreover, the majority of the children and teachers in LMICs do not have access to online teaching-learning platforms (Haßler et al., 2020). Therefore, teachers need to blend online and offline methods to continue education during the school closure due to the pandemic.

A blended approach to education is challenging, especially in a low-resource context where children hardly have experience of using a digital device. Therefore, engagement, participation and assessment are the primary concerns in such a blended learning environment (Kidd and Murray, 2021). Moreover, teachers' and parents' attitudes towards digital learning platforms are barriers to ensuring remote and blended teaching-learning in many rural Asian and African contexts (Pynnönen, 2019). This situation demands a revisit of the required skills of teachers to ensure quality education during and after the pandemic. Several research suggested that the traditional teaching style would not satisfy the learning needs in the post-pandemic world (Chowdury, 2020). This study argues that a blend of remote and face-to-face learning will be a reality in the post-Covid which will need new skills for teachers, especially to conduct remote teaching. Thus, the researchers argue that the need for new professional development to ensure quality remote learning must be investigated.

However, research that investigates teachers' professional needs in the changing world is minimal. Hence, it is crucial to understand the professional development needs of teachers in this challenging situation. Thus, this study attempts to explore:

  • 1.

    The measures are taken to continue the education of primary aged children in a Low- and Middle-Income Country (LMIC), namely Bangladesh;

  • 2.

    The challenges primary teachers encounter in doing so; and

  • 3.

    The professional developments they need to address those challenges, and whether and how they meet those needs.

The authors argue that the knowledge of this study will inform any reform in primary teachers' professional development provision in Bangladesh and similar low-resource contexts during and after the pandemic.


Research Methodology

This study adopted an exploratory and descriptive qualitative design (Merriam and Tisdell, 2015) to provide an in-depth understanding of a phenomenon, in this case, teachers' professional development (TPD) in a low-resource county in Covid-19 context. School closure and remote teaching-learning have called for new skills for teachers. However, the specific need of TPD and how those are being addressed is a very new area of knowledge. Hence, qualitative data were collected through a remote interview strategy from seventeen different stakeholders of primary education in Bangladesh. The interview schedule was developed collaboratively by the two researchers. The researchers are native in the context of primary education in Bangladesh, one is a researcher, and another is a primary education professional. The collaboration helped to identify the questions needed to answer the research questions and ensure that the interview questions make similar meaning to the participants. The interview questions were devised in Bangla to ensure deeper discussion (a translated version can be found in the appendix).

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