|Primary Teacher Education in Malawi: Insights into Practice and Policy (CIE, 2002, 144 p.)|
|Chapter 11: Financing Teacher Education|
First, funding of MIITEP is complex and its analysis is made even more complex by the lack of clarity as to what activities certain funds are meant to cover. Government funds, donor funding and loans have been used to support MIITEP directly and indirectly.
Second, the best estimates available from this analysis suggest that recurrent costs of MIITEP as currently configured are about MK25,000 (US$590 at 1999 prices) per two-year trained teacher. This writes off the costs of development, training of trainers, induction of heads and PEAs, and technical cooperation assistance, all of which have been substantial. To sustain this system with no further development would create a recurrent cost burden many times larger than the current allocation for teacher education and an unsustainably large proportion of the education budget.
Third, if various cost savings were introduced whilst maintaining the basic form of MIITEP, costs could be reduced. If school-based supervision was mainly undertaken by PEAs and school staff (recognising that college staff cannot make all the scheduled visits anyway), and a contribution to boarding costs were introduced of MK5 per day, costs would fall to about MK15,500 (US$370 at 1999 prices). Further cost reductions would require more fundamental changes to MIITEP's structure, and the additional costs of transition.
Fourth, two alternative patterns of training have been considered. These are one year full-time residential + one year school-based, and two years full-time residential with 16 weeks supported teaching practice. These would cost a minimum of twice as much as MIITEP and a maximum of four and a half times, excluding the costs of transition and development which would be very substantial.
Fifth, whatever MIITEP's problems in practice, the cost analysis indicates that awkward choices may have to be made. MIITEP, or structurally similarly programmes, are the only way of affording to meet demand. Other alternatives appear to require unsupportable levels of new investment and recurrent costs, or the abandonment of key PIF targets.
Finally MIITEP, or its successor, needs to improve its quality and the effectiveness of its delivery. This is likely to be most effective if it is cast within a medium term development strategy for teacher education (including secondary since the two inevitably interact). This desirably should include consideration of career progression for primary teachers beyond the MIITEP qualification. It is conceivable that MIITEP initial qualification, followed several years later by intensive professional development programmes for selected primary teachers might be both the most affordable and the most realistic strategy to improve the effectiveness of primary schools and enhance the professional leadership of primary teachers.