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close this bookThe Costs and Financing of Teacher Education in Malawi (CIE, 2000, 57 p.)
close this folder5. Internal Efficiency of the Colleges
View the document(introduction...)
View the document5.1 Utilisation of Space
View the document5.2 Costs Per Student Derived from Budget Estimates in Four Colleges


The six Colleges of Education currently involved in primary teacher training have establishments of staff and student capacity as shown in Table 5. We have analysed teaching loads and the utilisation of space in two of the Colleges. The patterns are significantly different. Figure 3 shows the teaching loads at St. Joseph's. On average lecturers teach 12 or 13 periods a week. The least loaded is the principal with 8 periods per week. The Deputy has only 7 hours per week because he has combined his classes into double classes, otherwise he should have had 14 hours per week. Mathematics and science lecturers are most heavily loaded with as many as 17 hours per week. This would have increased to 21 if some of the classes were not combined together. Lecturers in foundation studies and arts have the lowest loads. Shortage of staff in the maths-science departments could account for the heavy teaching loads.

In addition to teaching, lecturers are required to supervise teaching practice two hours each week at nearby demonstration schools. Each lecturer has at most 20 students to supervise in the three months period a cohort stays in college. Given the numbers of students to a demonstration school the timetable allows a student to teach only once in a 30-35 minute period during the 3 month residential course. However the student has the opportunity to observe at least six other students teach.

Figure 4 shows the teaching loads at BTC. In contrast to St. Joseph's lecturers at BTC combine two classes into one and so teach 6 or 7 one-hour lectures per week on average. Some do considerably more and some less. The most heavily loaded are timetabled for 13 hours per week and the least loaded teach 5 hours per week. In reality some lecturers do teach more and may give additional tuition in the evenings.

As at St. Joseph's each lecturer at BTC is also required to supervise teaching practice two hours per week. Each lecturer has 24 students to supervise and each student has to be supervised once during a period of three months. This means that during the residential course a student will practice teaching one subject only for one 30-35 minute period. It also means that one lecturer is responsible for awarding a teaching practice grade on the basis of a single observation which is not moderated. Trainees must pass this assessment though they are not graded. In addition, due to the large numbers of students, some teach at the beginning of the term while others teach at the end of the term. Those teaching toward the end have an added advantage. They can develop skills by observing other students teaching and they have the benefit of the lectures over the course of the term.

Figure 3: Teaching Loads - St Joseph's

Figure 4: Teaching Loads - Blantyre

Apart from supervision lecturers are also asked to mark the work of previous cohorts. MANEB in conjunction with the Teacher Development Unit (TDU) send examination answer scripts, school-based assignments and school-based project write-ups to colleges for marking. This means that lecturers are expected to mark the work of previous cohorts while they are also teaching another cohort. This takes up some of their time. One outcome of this scenario is that lecturers try to find time to mark this work by not giving exercises to the cohort in residence. It is thus not unexpected to find lecturers who are not able to tell the progress of their students. In fact there does not appear to exist any progress reports and the system does not demand them. Another outcome is that lecturers try to have as low teaching loads as possible by combining double classes.