Stars and STEM Stories
Teacher Training Highlights Reactivation of The GLOBE Program in Kyrgyz Republic
In February 2019, with the aim of reactivating The GLOBE Program in the Kyrgyz Republic, the Europe and Eurasia Regional Coordination Office and the GLOBE Kyrgyz Country Coordinator, Murataly Duishonakunov, organized a pivotal teacher training at the Kyrgyz National University in Bishkek.
More than 40 teachers arrived from different regions of the country – with some participants spending up to 12 hours on the road (it’s not always easy to get to the capital in this extensively mountainous country) – to learn GLOBE protocols covering atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and pedosphere.
Schools in Kyrgyz Republic have not been active in the program for last 10-15 years. With the 2019 training, the country becomes an active member of the GLOBE Europe and Eurasia Region and the only Central Asia state currently involved in GLOBE.
"As soon as the event was announced, teachers from around the country were extremely motivated to take part in the workshop. I had to create a waiting list, because the workshop filled up really fast," Duishonakunov said. "I even got calls from new teachers who wanted to register.”
Teachers were not the only participants venturing to the capital to learn more about GLOBE; the event also attracted students from Kyrgyz National University, as well as representatives of NABU Kyrgyzstan, the large network fostering endangered species conservation programs in the country. As soon as the event began, participants showed enduring enthusiasm to develop their skills in science and environmental education.
Many of the participants are geographers, so they could fully understand the importance of studying the environment in which they live. They came with their own ideas on how to make use of what GLOBE offers. From engaging in hands-on learning to the focused use of GLOBE apps, there was an endless stream of curious questions and brand new ideas.
At the end of the training, teachers brainstormed as to how they could collaborate with each other, and where they could get more resources so that they could purchase necessary equipment. As one participant commented, "Three days was too short."
The training was also well received by representatives from the Ministry of Education, the United States Embassy in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Academy of Education, and from Kyrgyz National University. The event was also covered by local press and online TV channel.
“Introducing GLOBE activities to Kyrgyz teachers is an important step," Duishonakunov said. “They’ve experienced many seminars in the field of methodology, but they always called for a hands-on approach to make geography more attractive to students. That is why everybody was so excited to carry out various measurements and observations of natural processes and phenomena. Also the GLOBE database is very useful tool for students to compare data from around the world. In the field of environmental conservation, you can find many trainings or lectures for teachers, but most of them are typical one-time events. With the GLOBE network – and I like to call it “the GLOBE family” – we can join or organize different events on regular basis. It is crucial to raise the level of nature conservation awareness of local communities in Kyrgyz Republic. If we work with students now, the awareness will grow bigger in future."
The training in Bishkek also showed the importance of collaboration across countries. Since the program has not been active, trainers were lacking in Kyrgyz Republic. To help with this, the Regional Coordination Office sent trainers Fedor Surkov (from Russia) and Bara Semerakova (from the Czech Republic), along with the former Kyrgyz Coordinator Nurmira Zhamangulova, to provide trainings. The training was conducted in Kyrgyz, Russian, and English – which gave participants the advantage of being able to learn about the most up-to-date activities, tools, and website features in their own language. "The GLOBE website is like a university, so many materials for teachers,” one participant said.
The new partnership of GLOBE in Kyrgyz Republic and the NABU network also shows the potential of connecting The GLOBE Program to key local environmental initiatives and organizations. NABU works with communities around the country on monitoring and protecting the rare snow leopard and other endangered species. They also have a strong network of volunteers who provide environmental education programs for schools and public. Through this network, and the new connections with The GLOBE Program, students can learn about the precious natural resources and local environmental issues in their country.
This Star Story was submitted by Bara Semerakova, Europe and Eurasia Regional Coordination Office.