From education to employment

Lambeth Adult Learning Service and Herts Adult and Family Learning Service share learning lessons with Myanmar

Myanmar delegates, Lesley Robinson (Head of Lambeth Adult Learning), Tara Roudiani (Lambeth Adult Learning Quality Manager), Cathy Twist (Lambeth Council Director of Education) and staff from Lambeth learning provider MI ComputSolutions

The end of January saw Lambeth Adult Learning Service (LALS) and HAFLS (Hertfordshire Adult and Family Learning Service) host a three-day visit from the most senior Directors from the Ministry of Education in Myanmar, Dr Zaw Win, Dr Win Pe, Dr Win Win Kyaing and Dr Li Li Myint.

The country formed a new Department of Alternative Education in 2016 covering what we refer to as Lifelong Learning. The officials visited three adult learning providers across the UK to learn how they might build the capacity of their staff to develop their new education plans and deliver learning to those outside the school system in Myanmar.  

The two services were selected on the grounds of particular strengths in adult learning – LALS for working with partners to deliver learning set in a rich multicultural environment and HAFLS for bringing opportunities to the most vulnerable groups in society. The officials were met by Head of Service Lesley Robinson and Quality Manager Tara Roudiani in Lambeth, and Head of HAFLS Chantal Lommel and Strategy and Innovations Manager Philippa Morton in Hertfordshire.

Both services shared their knowledge and experience of building and maintaining quality learning programmes with the visiting officials to enable them to use established best practice from this country within Myanmar. The visit included an oversight of how each service runs, followed by discussions about protocols, best practice in procurement of community learning, project models, quality monitoring, partnership building, contract/partnership management and project management.

Each visit included a trip to a local partner adult learning provider to see learning in action. In Lambeth, the officials visited MI ComputSolutions in Brixton where they learned about what makes learning in Lambeth such a good experience for learners and took part in lesson observations. They expressed surprise about how diverse Lambeth learners are, and they were particularly struck by the importance Lambeth learning providers place on safeguarding their learners.

In Hertfordshire, the guests visited Greenfield Family Centre in Waltham Cross, where they observed a mixed-level English literacy lesson, saw the crèche facilities and talked to tutors about learning records and course structures. They also visited the Waltham Cross Community hub to meet with HAFLS Health & Wellbeing and Family Learning tutor, Dionne Phillips, who gave a presentation on provision which aims to engage adults with the most barriers to learning and employment. Finally some of HAFLS’ partners (including East Herts and Broxbourne CVS, Herts Mind Network, Oaklands College and SPS Training Limited) met with the guests to discuss how the HAFLS partnership works for them.

The visits were very successful and the Myanmar delegates remarked on how useful it was to see plans and strategies in action: “Our new department is currently developing quality and assessment tools so it was very useful to see how these are used in Lambeth and Hertfordshire to benefit learners. There was a lot to learn, watching the interactive teaching methods and understanding how lesson observations are used to improve the quality of learner experiences. It was a pleasure to meet such friendly and helpful staff.”

Director General Dr Zaw Win said, “We were very interested in the range of non-accredited courses in Lambeth, especially those used to promote social inclusion, and we were impressed by how learners were given advice and guidance to progress on to further stages of their learning.” He also valued the practical involvement in lesson observations in Hertfordshire, saying, “We especially enjoyed visiting the family learning centre and our practical involvement in lesson observations. There was a lot to learn watching the interactive teaching methods employed and working with different levels of students in one class.”

On ending their visit, the delegates said, “Showing examples to our staff is a great help and a very useful reference as we develop our adult lifelong learning curriculum. We’ll use the information and knowledge gained from the visit in continuing the development of our Alternative Education Quality Assurance Standard Framework and Partnership Coordination Framework. We’ll also need to develop a comprehensive implementation plan for our Alternative Education provision in Myanmar using the ideas and best practices of UK and other countries.”

Both Lambeth Adult Learning Service and Hertfordshire Adult and Family Learning Service hope to continue sharing experiences and working together in partnership with the Myanmar Ministry of Education in the future, and hope that, in time, lessons learnt during their trip to the UK can help in bringing together the community in Myanmar to develop a love of lifelong learning.

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