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close this bookThe Costs and Financing of Teacher Education in Malawi (CIE, 2000, 57 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMulti-Site Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER)
View the documentAbstract
View the document1. Overview of National Issues
View the document2. Recent Development of the Teacher Education System
View the document3. Current Status of Colleges
View the document4. The System of College Funding and Sources of Costs in Colleges
Open this folder and view contents5. Internal Efficiency of the Colleges
View the document6. Selection, Admission and Placement of Untrained Teachers
View the document7. Analysis of Teacher Supply and Demand
View the document8. Cost per Trainee Analysis
View the document9. Postscript on Recent Developments
View the document10. Conclusions
View the documentReferences

2. Recent Development of the Teacher Education System

The teacher education system in Malawi developed from missionary origins. In 1973 there were 13 teacher training institutions with a capacity of 2,019. Only two of these were run by the government whilst the rest were church-owned. These small institutions were gradually rationalised so that by 1993 there were 7 with a capacity of 2968. All except two were government-run. By 1998 the number had declined to six and capacity had fallen to 2,730. Enrolment was generally less than capacity.

The basic requirement for enrolment into primary teacher training has been a Junior School Certificate. Candidates can accumulate grades over several years if they do not pass at the first attempt and are still considered as a result of a shortage of better-qualified applicants. In the past applications for teacher training places were advertised as and when new intakes were planned. The Ministry then shortlisted the candidates for interview. At interview the candidates were screened to establish suitability and check the authenticity of certificates. Successful candidates were notified in writing and advised which college they should report to. In the colleges trainees pursued the same courses regardless of whether they held a JCE or an MSCE certificate. Table 2 below shows the total enrolment in primary teacher colleges for 1st year and 2nd years by sex and grade from 1991/92 to 1995/96.

Table 2: Total Enrolment in Primary Teacher Training Colleges by Sex and by Course of Study 1991/92 - 1995/96


1991/92

1992/93

1993/94

1994/95

1995/96

Course

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

T3

1,148

623

1,198

982

1,214

944

963

467

996

475

T2

1,035

539

949

415

921

545

896

659

798

685

Total

2,183

1,162

2,147

1,397

2,135

1,489

1,859

1,126

1,794

1,160

Both sexes

3,345

3,544

3,624

3,085

2,954

Female students made up 35% - 39% of the total. From 1991/92 to 1993/94 there were fewer female students holding MSCE certificates than female students holding JCE. However from 1994/95 there was an increase in females holding MSCE to 46% of trainees. Between 1991 and 1996 enrolments fluctuated because one college was converted to train secondary teachers and another was upgraded to university status.

Candidates with JCE graduate with a T3 qualification, and those with MSCE graduate with T2 teacher qualification. After successfully completing the courses, newly qualified teachers are posted to different districts by the Ministry depending on the demand. The District Education Offices then distribute the teachers to different schools. It is not clear what criteria the DEOs use in allocating teachers to schools because the primary school system has a very uneven distribution of teachers. At the school both T2 and T3 teachers are required to teach all subjects in any one standard from Std 1 to Std 8. Despite going through similar courses and having similar workloads at the school, T2 teachers receive a salary 25% higher than the T3 teachers.

Table 3 shows the output of the colleges3. These figures do not necessarily translate into teachers going into schools. Some decide to join other sectors of the job market.

3 These output figures are those listed in the official statistics. They appear high when compared to college enrolments. This is because of the transition between course types and duration over the period. For part of the time a one year college programme was in place.

Table 3: Primary Teacher Training College - Qualified Candidates Course of Study and Sex 1992 - 1996

Year

T2


T3


Total



Total

Female

Total

Female

Total

Female

1992

557

203

1309

465

1866

668

1993

516

119

1146

459

1662

578

1994

1309

403

1357

684

2666

1087

1995

1317

375

1110

573

2427

948

1996

1134

393

1394

671

2528

1064

The tutors in the colleges have a variety of qualifications ranging from certificates to graduate level degrees. Table 4 shows the number of tutors and their qualifications in teachers' colleges up to 1996.

Table 4: Number of Teaching Staff in Primary Teachers Training Colleges by Qualification 1991/92 - 1995/96

Teaching Staff

Years


1991/92

1992/93

1993/94

1994/95

1995/96

Graduates:

52

44

45

71

63

Diplomates:

131

145

148

233

207

Other

8

9

12

19

17

Total

191

198

205

325

287

Overall numbers of staff have fallen since 1995/6 as one College has been converted to secondary teacher training and another has become a University. From the table it can be seen that a high percentage of the tutors do not have degrees but teaching diplomas and certificates. Many of the tutors started their careers as primary teachers and were trained at this level. Subsequently a substantial proportion has acquired higher-level qualifications. There has been no specific programme to train teacher trainers. In 1995 there was a student population of 2,954, and a tutor population of 289, which gives a 1:10 tutor: student ratio. Although this looks a healthy ratio, morale among the tutors has often been described as low because of lack of promotional and educational incentives (MIE and MOEC, 1991).

Teacher training in Malawi government colleges was originally designed as pre-service training lasting two years. This was called the normal programme. Trainees were holders of JCE and MSCE certificates without any previous experience. This programme required candidates to spend one and half years in college and 6 weeks in schools doing supervised teaching practice. From 1981 to 1987 the output in all the colleges was about 700 to about 800 trained teachers per year.

In 1987 the Special One-Year Teacher Programme was introduced. The main aim was to train all untrained teachers in the system. Enrolment was restricted to candidates who were already teaching as untrained teachers. In the first year the training was conducted in two colleges. In subsequent years the special programme was confined to the newly constructed Domasi Teachers College only. In the first year 626 untrained teachers were certified and about 400 were trained in the second year (Nyirenda, 1988). The special programme was run concurrently with the normal two-year programme in different colleges. Only one college had both programmes running at the same time. Nyirenda (1988) and later Neumann (1994) noted that the special one-year programme was a replica of the two-year normal programme with two years of work squeezed into one year.

A new teacher-training programme called the Malawi Special Distance Teacher Education Programme (MASTEP) was launched in 1990. Its objective was to train 4000 primary school teachers in three years. This programme was supplementary to the 'normal' two-year programme. The rationale for introducing this programme was that the school enrolment growth rates had increased and that projections indicated that there would be a shortfall of 7,000 trained teachers in 1993. It was therefore believed that the most cost-effective option for producing such a teaching force was by instituting a distance mode programme in addition to the 'normal' programme.

Candidates for the programme were selected using entry requirements similar to the two-year 'normal' programme. After oral interviews trainees were registered as external students in teachers colleges and sent to schools to start teaching while at the same time studying self - study materials. The course lasted three years during which time students had supervised teaching three times per year; residential courses for two months a year; seminars and workshops twice a year; and lastly project write-ups and course work through the distance mode. Assessment was both continuous and by externally administered final examinations. After resits 99% of students passed the programme, yielding about 3,900 new teachers. About 75% of the costs of running the programme were used for student allowances and salaries and only 25% were spent on operational costs (CERT, 1995; MASTEP, 1994). An adjustment is needed in simple costs of this kind to reflect the fact that students spent two terms a year teaching in schools. The programme ended in 1993.

MASTEP and the two-year 'normal' course were unable to meet the demand for primary teachers. The Modified Normal Teacher Programme was introduced in 1993 as a result. In this programme recruits first had to teach for one year before being selected for one year of college work. In many respects this was a resurfacing of the one-year special teacher programme. In effect the 'normal' pre-service programme was abandoned and replaced by the modified programme. The curriculum for the modified programme was a two-year course compressed into a one-year course and suffered from complaints that it was overloaded as a result. This programme was discontinued in 1996.

The current system of training was introduced to meet the needs for teachers created by the introduction of free primary education. 18,000 of the 22,000 recruited were untrained representing about 42% of the teaching force. The pressing problem was how to train these newly recruited untrained teachers in the shortest possible period of time. The arrangements that were put in place were initially ad hoc. Eventually the Malawi In-service Integrated Teacher Education Programme (MIITEP) was designed with the express aim of training the 18,000 untrained teachers between 1997 and 2000. All other forms of primary teacher training were then suspended.

The trainees for MIITEP are required to have a JCE or MSCE certificate, pass an oral interview, undergo an orientation course, and teach in primary schools for at least a year. They then qualify for a programme over six terms, the first of which is residential in a College. For the next five terms they teach under the supervision of school and zonal level staff and complete assignments and projects. At the end of this period they sit a qualifying exam during a one-month period at Colleges. Further details of the programme are given below in subsequent analysis. Insights into the initial operation of the programme to orientate untrained teachers are contained in Kunje and Stuart (1996). Further analysis of the MIITEP curriculum in action is available in Stuart and Kunje (2000) and Chirembo and Kunje (2000)

MIITEP remains the only system of certifying new primary teachers. It is clear from this historical account that it has several precursors in previous programmes and that similar kinds of mixed-mode courses have existed before. Its introduction was a necessity brought about by the announcement of free primary education and the accompanying enrolment growth. The question now is whether it will be continued in some modified form to meet future demand for teachers or whether other options are financially viable that could supply sufficient numbers of new teachers to meet demand.