Monday, 24 April 2017

Darakht-e Danesh - an online library of learning materials for Afghanistan

What is the Darakht-e Danesh Library?
'Darakht-e danesh' means "knowledge tree" in Dari, one of the official languages of Afghanistan. The Darakht-e Danesh Online Library for Educators is a repository of open educational resources for teachers, teacher trainers, school administrators, literacy workers and others involved in furthering education in Afghanistan. These open source resources include lesson plans, pedagogical tools, exercises, experiments, reading texts, work books, curricula and other resources for use in Afghan classrooms. These resources can be freely accessed by registered users, and we encourage users to add to the repository by uploading their own resources and expand this collection for the benefit of Afghanistan's teachers. The OER movement is fundamentally about sharing: please use the resources in the Library, but also considering contributing some of your own resources. It's easy to add documents to the Library. Just contact us if you would like to add content. We aim to bring together useful resources for educators into a single location, for easy access and broader use.
How is the Darakht-e Danesh Library Used?
Anyone with internet access can download and use the resources in the collection. Teacher educators can use the site to download resources and then distribute these in print in teacher training colleges, or to use in adapting their own local language resources. Teachers can browse the collection to download or print out resources for their classrooms or their own professional development. These resources can be freely copied and distributed.
Why is an online library needed?
The education system in Afghanistan is experiencing a rebirth. With millions of girls and boys back in school, new teacher colleges opening, and a reformed curriculum in use, there have been many changes since 2001. A National Education Strategy for Afghanistan guides these changes with more to come. Yet the challenges which remain are significant. Thirty years of war and an ongoing insurgency which has singled out teachers and girls' education for attack, makes this a difficult environment in which to teach. Afghan teachers contend with a daunting lack of resources. Most schools do not have libraries or science labs, many students go without textbooks, and teachers have little material provided to them to help cover the curriculum. The majority of in-service Afghan teachers have no formal teacher training, and many have no post-secondary education. Some teachers have not graduated from high school. In particular, it can be difficult to find quality resources for educators in Dari and Pashto. Even when such resources are available, books are expensive and teachers are not well paid. The Darakht-e Danesh Library aims to increase access to quality resources for Afghan educators, encourage teachers to consult a wide variety of resources in their practice, to use these tools to adapt their own, and to share their own resources with other teachers through this open-source collection. We believe that digitalization can make more out of less and nurtures teachers' independent learning.
Who's Behind the Darakht-e Danesh Library?
The Darakht-e Danesh Library was conceived by Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), as part of the education work this organization is carrying out in Afghanistan.