A roundtable discussion on innovation in the context of distance education, focusing on the role of teachers and the importance of improving teachers' ICT skills, was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on December 9, 2021 as part of the Distance education for improving quality and access project. Innovative teachers, school administrators, heads of state educational institutions, and experts participated in the discussions and proposed solutions and innovations to make the learning process during distance education more effective. The participants of the discussion sought answers to such questions as what is innovation in the context of distance education? What opportunities can innovations bring to the educational process? How to ensure the sustainability of innovations in education?
Participants emphasized that the role of а teacher in the context of digitalization is changing. In order for innovations to bring changes in the educational process, improve the quality of and access to education, it is important to strengthen teachers' professional development, create a supportive school environment, and enhance teachers' motivation to learn new skills and technology. Participants also shared their thoughts on how to improve the effectiveness of the state TPD system in the country, to accelerate use of electronic platforms and technologies in the education process.
The roundtable became an effective communication platform for schoolteachers from different regions of the country and the capital city. Together with consultants of the KIX project, representatives from Kyrgyz Academy of Education, the Republican TPD Institute, and experts in education, they shared their experience in distance education and learned from each other. Similar roundtable discussions will take place in mid-December in Mongolia and in the beginning of January in Tajikistan to reveal and discuss local innovations that help teachers not only to adapt to the changing environment but to become drivers of innovations in their schools.