A support system for teachers (the SYPO project)
To alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 policies, many initiatives have been developed by civil society organisations – NGOs, local governments, or citizens. A team of national researchers from the RESISTIRÉ project has collected and highlighted a set of particularly relevant initiatives in 27 European countries and in Iceland, Serbia, the United Kingdom and Turkey. These Better Stories currently cover eight specific domains: gender-based violence, the labour market, the economy, gender-pay and pension gaps, gender care gaps, decision-making and politics, environmental justice, human and fundamental rights.
This Better Story was collected by Vanda Maufras Cernohorska.
SYPO, standing for the System of Support for the Professional Development of Teachers and School Heads, was launched in 2018 by the National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic. When lockdowns were instituted in the Czech Republic, this already existing project provided useful tools to teachers who suddenly found themselves in a (mostly) digital work environment.
An existing system to support teachers
The SYPO Project is an EU- and Czech-funded project that provides support to teachers and principals of kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools, and higher vocational schools. It assists educators in the development of various personal and professional skills through the use of trainings and, increasingly so during the pandemic, virtual support tools like webinars, a dedicated forum and other online resources.
A useful resource in times of pandemic
When the first state of emergency was instituted in the Czech Republic in March 2020, the project focused on online teaching and online communication, which allowed teachers to keep connecting with their students in both a digital and an interpersonal sense despite the sudden and widespread adoption of digital education. Moreover, it offers support related to various other digital issues, like digital infrastructure and using ICT for the management of schools.
The SYPO website also offers webinars in specific subjects for teachers to brush up their knowledge and skills, available after registering. These topics range from Czech literature and language to (applied) mathematics to special topics for beginning teachers that allow them to start their careers more smoothly.
By 2021, the tool proved successful, with the webinars having been watched more than 150,000 times and with the forum for teachers being used frequently.