Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 8748-8757
ISBN: 978-84-09-08619-1
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2019.2182
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
Finnish development aid programs fund projects with capacity building as a core mission. The aims for project outcomes may vary, but often one of the means for achieving the aims is improving education. Relying on the good reputation of the Finnish education system, it is natural to try to solve problems in the developing countries through inputs on training - after all, education creates long-term impact.

This paper probes into the methods for capacity building. It discusses what is required to make education and training effective in African setting and outlines a certain needs hierarchy for capacity building in the context of educational development in the health care sector. Three challenges are identified and elaborated, based on two questionnaires and feedback gathered on Health Tanzania project:
1) inadequate infrastructure to carry out modern and learning practices,
2) no access to up-to-date information and research and
3) lack of pedagogical training of the teaching staff.

Firstly, challenges connected with insufficient infrastructure include three key issues: unreliable availability of electricity, slow internet connection and lack of modern devices and classroom technology. The second challenge of accessing current information and research originate from the rudimentary infrastructure, poor internet connectivity and insufficient financing. The problem lies partly in current publication policies and copyright issues and the paywalls of databases, but often there is no awareness of the possibilities of free or low-change services such as Research4Life, or no experience in using them. Web search practices may be weak, with no understanding of key commands in web search engines. These challenges can be partly overcome with training.

The third challenge relates to low pedagogical skills and lack of academic or teacher training. To empower the African health care teachers to independently provide quality training for their students, teacher training should be at the focus. Attention should be paid to the status of the teaching profession itself. Equipping the African teachers with modern teaching methods, up-to-date knowledge on the topics of their expertise as well as offering ideas for lesson planning and learning technology solutions to carry out effective teaching practices is a combination which is impossible to achieve if there is no supporting infrastructure.

Capacity building with educational aims is a two-sided coin. Occasional on-site in-service trainings led by project experts may be well received, but they do not help in changing local procedures or mindset in the long run if the teachers are not empowered to the extent that they truly have the means and equipment for offering equally good teaching by themselves, for their students. But neither is purchasing cutting edge learning technology enough unless teachers are trained to use it and given examples and guidance on how to develop their teaching methods. To balance these objectives, a certain needs hierarchy is identified, to be used when designing the phases for any educational project or program. The step-by-step model for good solutions and their back-ups outlined in the paper can also be used as a checklist for development projects with educational focus. The steps begin with infrastructure improvements and raising awareness of the benefits of modern learning technology, ending up with practical training workshops for teaching staff.
Capacity building project, ICT infrastructure, development, teacher training, health care teachers.