UNESCO IITE supports distance education for professionals working with adolescents

273 specialists from 10 Eastern European and Central Asian countries completed distance e-learning courses and increased their competences in the field of HIV prevention among adolescents and young adults. The courses were implemented in May-July 2016 with the support of UNESCO IITE. The audience included 144 specialists from the Russian Federation, 51 - from Ukraine, 46 - from Belarus, 16 - from Kazakhstan. There were representatives of different fields, including 78 workers from the sphere of education, 73 workers of health care institutions and 73 - from public organizations. The training courses were held on the portalof distance learning EDU-HUB, which has been developed based on the regional public organization of the  Belorussian Association of UNESCO Clubs (RAO "BelAU").

“We offered a new type of training to specialists working with adolescents and young people. At our courses, it is not enough to listen online lectures, participate in webinars, study basic and supplementary literature, and successfully take a final test to prove that the material has been learned. Participants are also required to express their opinions, discuss with colleagues on topical issues of prevention, study cases and, most importantly, to implement practical tasks at their place of work or study. That is the way we helped the participants to introduce new knowledge into practice and get the valuable practical experience to which many aspire", says Vitaly Nikanovich, Deputy Chairman of RAO "BelAU", training course developer.

The focus of the first course "International approaches to HIV prevention among adolescents and young people, including key populations" was on standards and recommendations of international organizations such as WHO, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNDP, to provide quality services for consulting and HIV testing among adolescents and young people at risk, as well as on organization of inter-agency and intersectoral cooperation when providing such services. Students (150 people from 8 countries) have mastered the 32-hour training programme in 6 weeks.

"The situation with HIV is unfavourable, that’s why the knowledge of measures for secondary prevention of the disease is, of course, vital. Everything was new to me at this course. A large amount of new information, regulatory and methodological materials... I enjoyed presentation of information in the form of lectures, when the study necessarily implies feedback in the form of answers to questions. Practical tasks were absorbing and required analysis of our own practice and application of acquired knowledge immediately into practice. Of course, this knowledge will be in demand in the educational process and practical training for students and medical interns", shared her impressions about the course Anastasia Shishova, professor of the Department of Polyclinic Pediatrics of Ivanovo State Medical Academy (Ivanovo, Russia).

The second course "Best practices for HIV prevention among adolescents and young people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia" offered effective approaches, forms and methods of preventive work with adolescents and young people at risk, that have been successfully tested in one or several countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia on the basis of institutions for health care, education, social protection, as well as by public organizations. Students (123 experts from 10 countries) have mastered the 24-hour training programme in 5 weeks.

"While working on one of practical assignments of the course, I for the first time realized the situation “from the inside” and could feel what attitude and problems in the process of searching the information and practical assistance teenagers face when they find themselves in a difficult situation. This has strengthened my determination to work in this direction. In addition to group prevention classes, I will conduct individual motivational consulting with the use of methods proposed in this course. I want to try myself in outreach work with public organizations", says a graduate of the course Maria Kapustina, psychologist of the Territorial Centre for Social Services of the Pervomaisky district (Bobruisk, Belarus).

It is planned to continue training specialists from Eastern Europe and Central Asia in the autumn of 2016 and during 2017. You can leave a preliminary application for the training on the portal of distance learning EDU-HUB at: http://www.belau.info/moodle/

Reference.

Distance learning courses "International approaches to HIV prevention among adolescents and young people, including key populations" and "Best practices for HIV prevention among adolescents and young people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia" were developed in 2015 with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the Republic of Belarus. in 2016, thanks to the expert support of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), courses were revised and supplemented with a new material, including provided website with the information about health issues and development of adolescents for specialists in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (adolesmed.szgmu.ru) created with the support of UNESCO.

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