Sofoniyas Tesfaye – Global Youth Ambassador October 2021

Global Youth Ambassadors, GYA of the month

GYA Sofoniyas Tesfaye spoke to us about his work as an educator, based in Ethiopia. Following the pandemic, he worked to bring digital learning to his students and now works with STEMI MAKERS Ethiopia to integrate technology into learning curriculums and empower teachers with these skills so they can continue to inspire and educate a conscious generation.

What does education mean to you?

For me, education tell me that I can learn and be anything I want. It teaches students that they can keep their minds young, if they continue to learn and pursue knowledge. Teachers can help achieve this and help educate students to open doors to every exciting opportunity. Living in a slum community in Ethiopia can scare away our big dreams and prove challenging, but I have seen how learning has inspired students and how quality education can ensure that no child is left behind.

What is your latest project? What inspired you?

I’m currently working to reach more schools, and introduce a hybrid learning system, that incorporates digital learning to my country and throughout Africa. My project is called “Teachers are Innovators” and aims to collaborate with teachers to improve their digital skills training and share this with the students.

The eruption of the current pandemic showed a need for change in the education delivery system. Before and now during Covid, digital education became a serious challenge for many school-going students in my community. During the lockdown, online learning was the best way to continue learning. Unfortunately, it was a challenge for students – no access to internet connection, lack of computer, smart phones, and digital computer knowledge.

Classroom-based traditional learning has been in practice for many years in Ethiopia. It was very difficult for teachers to adapt to this new online learning, as they are unfamiliar with technological tools, and it was evident that a solution was needed. Being an IT teacher in my country, I initiated and implemented digital learning systems, following the lockdown and helped 250 students to continue their education and train 20 teachers in digital skills during COVID-19.

Why is it important for you to empower fellow teachers?

It is important to empower principals and teachers as they are agents and active subjects of change in schools.  To promote quality education, I believe it is key to integrate technology into the learning process and teachers need to feel confident in this. With outdated curriculums and lack of resources it can be hard, but I think it is so important to empower teachers so they can benefit both personally and professionally. Teachers can begin to present topics in a more engaging way for the children, create awareness and go beyond teaching modules and access so many digital resources that can help them with their teaching journey.

By using free tools like Google Classroom, students can interact online and continue the learning process. I have heard how my students have enjoyed this and been able to explore a new world through digital learning, and I want to continue to empower teachers so they can inspire their classes.

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