Africa will not achieve universal Large class sizes have a negative by etssetcf


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									                          id21 education highlights #3

                       c o m m u n i c a t i n g i n t e rnational development research

                                                   providing more resources.                         Secondary school is where students gain
Three million                                   l  Definitions of UPE vary: some countries         skills of significant economic value, become
                                                   claiming UPE progress only offer two to         socialised and learn to understand risk. But
teachers needed                                    three hours teaching a day.                     only a quarter of Africa’s primary school
                                                l Basic reading, writing and maths skills in       graduates enrol at secondary level and only
in Africa                                          Africa are far below standards in the rest      ten percent complete secondary education.
                                                   of the developing world.                          Key recommendations include:
                                                l Exams require pupils to learn by rote;           l adopt a zero tolerance approach to

A    frica will not achieve universal
     primary education (UPE) until at least
2150. Progress towards it is essential. But
                                                   few pupils learn how to learn, to solve
                                                   problems or take initiatives.
                                                l Few pupils in Africa take maths and
                                                                                                     corrupt practices in education
                                                                                                   l increase development aid to education to
                                                                                                     raise the quality of primary education and
what about the millions of new primary             science at secondary level: in Ethiopia           improve transition rates from primary to
school graduates? Unless children are              four percent of university graduates have         secondary school
offered opportunities for secondary                studied science.                                l plan budget expenditure more efficiently
schooling, the economic outcomes from           l Corruption robs children of their basic          l ensure HIV/AIDS is at the core of
this education will never materialise.             right to education: misuse of school              education policy and planning
   A report from the South African Institute       funds and buying attainment certificates        l scale up school-feeding programmes
of International Affairs warns governments         is common in some countries.                    l ensure curricula are relevant for pupils
and donors of the need to cope with the         UPE has increased the demand for teachers          l use mother-tongue instruction.
expected successes of UPE. Forty million        but they are in short supply and often
African children – almost half of the           inadequately trained. UNESCO predicts              Steven Gruzd
                                                                                                   Nepad and Governance Programme, South African
continent’s primary level children – are not    that Africa needs at least three million           Institute of International Affairs, PO Box 31596,
in school; about two-thirds of these children   more teachers to cope with increasing              Braamfontein 2017, South Africa
are girls. Primary enrolment is low, gender     enrolments. Extremely poor pay and                 T +27 11 339 2021 F +27 11 339 2154
ratios highly unequal, illiteracy widespread    conditions mean that teaching is often a 
and there is a high rate of dropouts. The       last career choice.
global average state expenditure per child         Educational opportunities beyond primary        Back to the Blackboard: Looking Beyond Universal
on primary education is US$629 a year; in       school are extremely limited. Uganda is a          Primary Education in Africa, by Peroshni Govender and
Africa it is US$48.                             typical example of countries which have            Steven Gruzd, NEPAD Policy Focus Series, South African
                                                                                                   Institute of International Affairs, 2004
l In some countries UPE is compromising         shortsightedly prioritised UPE. In 2003  
   educational quality as poorer governments    secondary schools could only offer places to       =News&file=article&sid=459
   raise enrolments drastically without         less than half of that year’s primary graduates.

Teaching large
                                                   Since Uganda introduced Universal               long days with double shifts.
                                                Primary Education in 1997 the number of              It is also important to:

classes in Uganda
                                                primary students has more than trebled.            l prepare student teachers for large
                                                Most teachers use rote learning and often            classes, discourage rote learning and
                                                complain the curriculum is too extensive             encourage group work and effective use
                                                and beyond the abilities of many students.           of questioning

L   arge class sizes have a negative
    impact. Yet skilled teachers still
manage to cope with huge student
                                                They also note that many children come to
                                                class too hungry to concentrate.
                                                   The author videoed lessons and
                                                                                                   l commission research on the impact
                                                                                                     of class size in developing countries
                                                                                                     – most studies are based in industrialised
numbers. The high pupil-to-teacher              interviewed pupils to assess key lessons             countries
ratios in developing countries will not         from successful classes:                           l realise that curricula seeking to be child-
disappear. What coping strategies do            l Enthusiastic teachers praised the children,        centred will not work in large classes:
successful teachers adopt?                         asked many questions, explained clearly,          students will not perform as well as they
   A report from Mary Immaculate College,          used eye contact and repetition without           might with more attention
University of Limerick looks at a sample           letting it degenerate into mindless chants.     l understand that when resources are
of Ugandan teachers and asks how they           l Group work was effectively organised:              limited, it may be more cost effective to
manage to teach over 70 students in                students knew the routine and on                  purchase additional textbooks rather than
one class. The author shows that it can            a signal from their teacher formed                reduce student numbers
be possible for teachers to teach large            themselves into groups, chose a leader,         l share best practices more widely.
classes effectively. It can also be possible       and set to work on the tasks assigned.
for children in large classes to learn more     l Pupils were not simply asked to recite           Margo C. O’Sullivan
                                                                                                   Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, South
effectively than pupils in smaller classes.        and then copy information into books.           Circular Road, Limerick, Ireland
   In much of Africa lower primary grade        The notion that large classes result in            T +353 61 204592 F +353 61 204300
classes are considerably larger than upper      learning deficits needs to be challenged.
primary classes. There may be a hundred         As large classes will remain the norm,   
pupils in early primary classes. Distribution   education planners in developing countries         ‘Teaching Large Classes: The International Evidence
of teachers is one reason: instead of using     need to focus on the 3Rs – reading, writing        and a Discussion of Some Good Practice in Ugandan
more teachers in lower primary grades, head     and arithmetic, and avoid broad curricula. If      Primary Schools’, International Journal of Educational
teachers use them as subject teachers for       teachers are to remain motivated they must         Development 26, pages 24-37, by Margo C. O’Sullivan,
the smaller upper primary classes.              be better paid and not be asked to work                                                                                                               September 2006
                                         id21 education highlights                          teachers

                                                class sizes and the burdens imposed on                        and produce lists of facts in compulsory
Ghana’s                                         teachers. In most urban primary and junior
                                                secondary schools, there are two shifts,
                                                                                                              examinations, an approach which neither
                                                                                                              stimulates creativity nor provides better
education crisis                                requiring most teachers to work from 7am
                                                to 5pm. Teachers complain of additional
                                                                                                              foundations in English, mathematics and
                                                                                                              computer skills.
improve teachers’                               non-remunerated extra-curricular activities                 Massive changes in curriculum, pedagogy
conditions                                      and clerical and secretarial tasks. Older                   and funding are essential. The paper
                                                teachers report there has been a noticeable                 recommends that teachers should be:
                                                decline in pupil achievement.                               l trained to improve their knowledge of

G    hana is committed to making
     education more effective and
appropriate. However its teachers are
                                                   Despite the pressures, most experienced
                                                older teachers remain dedicated to the
                                                profession. They are respected in their
                                                                                                              recent developments in their discipline
                                                                                                              areas and of contemporary educational
                                                                                                              theory and practice
over-worked, under-motivated and                communities and active in community                         l given time to offer the pastoral care
mostly under-qualified. The Ghanaian            groups and churches. Many use their own                       which increasing numbers of disruptive
state expects a great deal from its             limited funds to pay for books, charts,                       children need
teachers but does not reward them               photocopying and art and craft materials.                   l much better paid and less stressed: if
well. Respect for education and the             In order to make ends meet, almost all the                    teachers are to become agents of change,
teaching profession are in decline.             teachers interviewed are forced to seek                       teaching must become a financially
   A paper from the University of Oxford        additional work.                                              rewarding profession and working hours
reports the findings of a study conducted          The author found that:                                     and class sizes must be reduced
in and around the capital Accra, to assess      l Trainee teachers – many from low-income                   l provided with more textbooks and
the opinions of teachers, trainee teachers,        backgrounds – are not optimistic, most                     teaching aids and given better
students and parents.                              hoping to eventually find non-teaching                     laboratories, workshops and equipment
   Schooling is mandatory until the age of         employment.                                              l involved in all aspects of educational
15 but many question its value. Ghana,          l Employers are dismayed by the poor skills                   planning and reform.
like many of its regional neighbours, is           of those who have completed junior and
dependent upon an archaic, centrally-              senior secondary schools.                                George M. Osei
                                                                                                            Mansfield College, Oxford, OX1 3TF, UK
controlled and under-funded schooling           l The basic qualifications of teachers vary
                                                                                                            T +44 (0)1865 270999 F +44 (0)1865 270970
system which does not have room for all            widely.                                        
willing post-primary students. Significant      l There are hardly any incentives for             
numbers of poor children are not receiving         teachers to upgrade their qualifications
                                                                                                            ‘Teachers in Ghana: Issues of Training, Remuneration
the junior secondary education to which            – promotion depends almost entirely on                   and Effectiveness’, International Journal of Educational
they are entitled.                                 connections to senior bureaucrats.                       Development 26, pages 38–51, by George M. Osei,
   As student numbers have risen, so have       l Pupils are encouraged to learn by rote                    2006

                                                  The report concludes that NTTC is                                 understand how teaching can
Learning to teach                               sending out primary school teachers who                             enhance learning and acquire a better
                                                are likely to use teacher-centred methods in                        appreciation of teachers’ instructional
in Lesotho                                      their style of teaching and be insensitive to                       responsibilities
                                                the needs of primary school children. It also                   l assessment procedures are consistent
                                                notes that:                                                         with the theory that underpins the

W      ho aspires to teach in this small
       southern African state? A new
report examines what newly qualified
                                                l Trainees struggle to develop adequate
                                                  knowledge of science and many continue
                                                  to suffer from low self-esteem throughout
                                                                                                                    diploma training programme
                                                                                                                l innovation and renewal become part of
                                                                                                                    NTTC’s institutional culture
teachers (NQTs) think of the training             their time at NTTC.                                           l schools provide a more supportive
they have received and reviews                  l Teaching practice is badly planned and                            environment for NQTs.
how their expectations match those                poorly managed: feedback from schools
of the teacher trainers. It looks at              on how the novices perform is rushed                          J. Pulane Lefoka
                                                                                                                Institute of Education, National University of Lesotho,
whether they are content with the                 and incomplete.                                               PO Roma 180, Lesotho
teacher education curriculum they are           l Although NQTs manage their classes                            T +266 340 601 F +266 340 000
presented with and assesses how cost              well, they fall back on question-and-               
effective the current teacher training            answer routines which allow pupils little           
system is.                                        interaction with teaching and learning                        Initial Primary Teacher Education in Lesotho: Country
   A report from the National University          materials or with each other.                                 Report 2, University of Sussex Centre for International
of Lesotho and the University of Sussex         l NTTC lecturers work in isolation and have                     Education, DFID Education Paper no 49c, by J. Pulane
examines the new Diploma in Education             low levels of job satisfaction.                               Lefoka with E. Molapi Sebatane, March 2003
– Primary (DEP) training programme              l The Diploma is expensive and only
at Lesotho’s National Teacher Training            produces a quarter of the qualified
College (NTTC). This publication evaluates        teachers required to meet Lesotho’s target
entry characteristics of new student              of a 40:1 primary
teachers, delivery of the primary teacher         school pupil-teacher      id21
education curriculum, career structures           ratio.                    Institute of Development Studies
and management within NTTC, means of            The report has extensive University of Sussex
assessing Lesotho’s demand and supply of        recommendations,            Brighton, BN1 9RE UK
teachers and sources of support given to        however the authors         T +44 (0) 1273 678787
novice teachers.                                emphasise the               F +44 (0) 1273 877335
   Primary student teachers are mostly          importance of making        E
women in their early twenties from modest       sure that:                                                                          ISSN1746-8698
backgrounds. Before arriving at NTTC a          l Lesotho develops a                           id21 education highlights bring the latest research to
quarter have acquired teaching experience.        comprehensive policy                         education policymakers and practitioners with limited
                                                                                               internet access. Please photocopy and distribute them to
However, by modelling themselves on the           on teacher education                         your colleagues. If you would like to subscribe free of charge,
traditional teachers who brought them into      l NTTC practises the                           please send your contact details to the address above. id21 is
the profession, they have adopted teaching        student-centred                              hosted by the Institute of Development Studies and supported
styles based on discipline rather than child-     approach that it                             by the UK Department for International Development.
centred education. Many trainees have             aspires to promote       Keywords: Teachers, teaching, universal primary education, enrolments, class sizes, methods,
significant gaps in their own education.        l young teachers           child-centred, teacher training, working conditions, relevance                                                                                                                                  September 2006

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