Costs and Financing of Teacher Education in Lesotho (CIE, 2000, 62 p.) |
The NTTC offers four courses of immediate interest to this study. These are the DPE, DEP, PTC and PTC (EPS). The number of students on each of these courses in each year is shown below for 1999 in Table 18. The students are divided into groups according to the alphabetical order of their names in each programme and the groups are paired during lectures. Students in PTC II for example, have been divided into six groups of about thirty students each. Two of these groups are taught together in a class of 60 students. In PTC III there are five groups since the total enrolment is smaller in year 3 than year 2. Year 1 of PTC has only 9 students who are repeating the first year. There is no new intake for PTC. The dropout rate in NTTC is very low so student groups tend to remain the same size.
Table 18: Student Distribution by Number in Each Programme in 1999
Programme |
Year 1 |
Year 2 |
Year 3 |
Total |
DPE |
48 |
62 |
55 |
165 |
DEP |
101 | | |
101 |
PTC |
9 |
187 |
114 |
310 |
PTC (E.P.S) |
| |
20 |
20 |
Total |
158 |
249 |
189 |
596 |
Overall there are 43 teaching staff members in the primary division at NTTC. Each member of the teaching staff teaches on one or two of the primary programmes. They usually take responsibility for one or two groups in a programme. Sometimes they cover all the groups depending on the numbers. The overall staff-student ratio at NTTC is 1:14 for the primary division. This should allow the convening of staff in ways that enables a rich curriculum to be delivered to groups of students that are not excessively large. However, the teaching and groups sizes are unevenly distributed over the different programmes and this gives rise to some problems. Staff members who are teaching the diploma groups are handling smaller numbers than those who are teaching the PTC groups and this causes an imbalance in the loads in terms of student hours. There are also differences between subjects.
Table 19 shows the number of student-teaching hours delivered for the majority of staff members. In addition to these loads teaching practice preparation and supervision can take five hours a week. Different arrangements are made in different departments to subdivide year groups. Thus, for example, for PTC year 2 there are 187 students. These need to receive 3 hours of science per week. The group is taught for one hour as a whole group (187), and then subdivided into three groups of about 62 for two hour sessions. The total contact time for the students is therefore three hours; the staff member teaches for seven hours. Similar arrangements exist for other groups. The length of periods varies according to department.
Table 19: Staff Teaching Loads in Student Hours for Selected Departments in the First Semester of 1999^{11}.
Staff No. |
Department |
No. of students taught |
Number of contact hours |
Number of periods per week |
Teaching load in student hours |
1 |
English |
101 |
10 |
8 |
1010 |
2 |
English |
48 |
6 |
3 |
288 |
3 |
English |
134 |
9 |
5 |
1206 |
4 |
English |
187 +1 |
6 + 3 |
6 |
1125 |
5 |
English |
48 + 187 |
6 + 1 |
4 |
475 |
6 |
Science |
134 + 21 |
5 + 1.5 |
4 |
701.5 |
7 |
Science |
101 + 27 |
3 + 3 |
4 |
384 |
8 |
Science |
21 + 31 |
3 + 2 |
4 |
125 |
9 |
Science |
101 + 9 |
6 + 3 |
6 |
633 |
10 |
Science |
187 + 21 |
7 + 1.5 |
5 |
1340.5 |
11 |
Science |
31 + 31 |
3 + 3 |
4 |
186 |
12 |
Mathematics |
134 |
7 |
7 |
938 |
13 |
Mathematics |
187 |
7 |
7 |
1309 |
14 |
Mathematics |
101 |
9 |
6 |
909 |
15 |
Mathematics |
14 |
7 |
5 |
98 |
16 |
Mathematics |
20 |
10 |
5 |
200 |
17 |
Prof. Studies |
134 |
7 |
6 |
938 |
18 |
Prof. Studies |
187 + 9 |
7 + 5 |
7 |
1354 |
19 |
Prof. Studies |
62 |
6 |
3 |
372 |
20 |
Prof. Studies |
62 + 9 |
3 + 3 |
3 |
213 |
21 |
Prof. Studies |
101 |
7 |
4 |
707 |
22 |
Sesotho |
101 |
9 |
6 |
909 |
23 |
Sesotho |
187 |
6 |
3 |
1122 |
24 |
Sesotho |
62 |
7 |
4 |
434 |
25 |
Sesotho |
48 |
9 |
5 |
432 |
26 |
Sesotho |
134 |
7 |
4 |
938 |
27 |
Health |
101 + 9 |
9 + 3 |
8 |
936 |
28 |
Health (P.E) |
187 |
14 |
8 |
2618 |
29 |
Art & Craft |
101 + 134 |
8 + 7 |
5+4 |
1746 |
30 |
Art & Craft |
187 |
4 |
4 |
748 |
31 |
DS |
62 + 62 |
1 + 4 |
3 |
310 |
32 |
DS |
61 + 114 |
1 + 4 |
4 |
517 |
33 |
DS |
64 + 48 |
1 + 6 |
4 |
352 |
34 |
DS |
187 + 20 |
1 + 1 |
3 |
207 |
35 |
Agric |
134 |
6 |
6 |
804 |
36 |
Agric |
101 |
9 |
6 |
606 |
37 |
Agric |
187 |
3 |
4 |
748 |
38 |
Music |
187 |
9 |
7 |
1683 |
^{11 }Data on Religious Education missing
The NTTC follows normal government practice and working hours are from 8.00 am to 4.30 pm with a one hour lunch break. The number of working hours available is therefore 7.5 hours a day or 37.5 hours a week. The data indicates that on average staff have 7.6 contact hours with student groups each week, or about one and a half hours per day (Figure 6)^{12}. The range is between 2 and 15 hours per week. In addition to this they must prepare and mark work. The overall load in student-hours (the sum of the number of students in each group times the number of hours they are taught) shows that the average load is 780 student-hours per week (Figure 7). This is equivalent to 7.8 hours teaching with a group of 100. The range is very wide and varies between 98 and 2600 per week.
^{12 }These calculations exclude the Religious Education Department on which there was no data.
There is no specialisation in the PTC and DEP programmes. Lecturers on these programmes have large student hour loads since the group sizes are large. The greatest student hour loads are in Music, Art and Craft and Health. These departments have a history of under staffing in terms of the number of lecturers so all students are taught by few lecturers. Four NTTC graduates have been sent for training in these specialisations. The next largest loads are in English Mathematics, Science and Professional Studies.
Figure 6: Number of Contact Hours
by Staff Member
Figure 7: Teaching Load in Student
Hours per Week
Table 19 shows that teaching group sizes vary widely from 190 to less than 10. There are reasons why some groups are very small. A few students are repeating the first year of the PTC which has no new intake. Some are taking options which attract few students. Large lectures are used for whole year group teaching. When these groups are sub-divided for follow-up sessions group sizes still remain large and are often over 60. This pattern of teaching must constrain opportunities to develop approaches that engage students directly in small group interaction and varied methods of training which cannot be managed with large groups. If more contact hours were taught each week group sizes could be reduced.
The first semester of the 1999 academic year was 12 weeks long. At the beginning of each semester students are given two days to register, after which classes begin. The 12 weeks making up the first semester include one week for revision and two weeks of examinations. The actual teaching time is therefore about nine and a half weeks with occasional interruptions due to national holidays.
Students are timetabled for between 25 and 33 hours a week depending on the course. This allows a limited amount of time for self-study and forms of peer learning. The result of this is that, for example, each group in year two of the PTC has 26 hours of contact time plus 5 hours of teaching practice preparation each week for 9 weeks. Each group has 6.5 hours of free time per week based on the 7.5 hours government/civil service working hours per day. This means that these students are on task 31 hours per week out of the 37.5 government working hours/ time.
An attempt was made to assess the utilisation of space in NTTC. Figure 8 shows how many hours per week rooms in NTTC are timetabled for teaching activity. On average teaching space appears to be in use for about 25 hours a week.
Figure 8: Utilisation of Teaching
Space - Hours per Week
This analysis suggests that the 28 teaching spaces included in the analysis is well utilised. It should be noted that this analysis is based on periods when the NTTC is in session and students are being taught. Out of session (i.e. about 20 weeks a year) these teaching rooms will not be occupied by normal course students. It should be noted that if the preceding analysis of contact hours is correct a total of about 290 hours are delivered each week by 38 primary staff. This would require 28 rooms to be occupied for about 10 hours a week each. The estimates of space utilisation include the space occupied by the secondary programmes. A full analysis would separately account for this. It also needs to account for any space used for teaching practice preparation, student self-study, and the teaching activities of the staff members not currently included in the analysis of contact hours.
New hostel accommodation has been built at NTTC and the existing accommodation is to be refurbished. When this work is complete the residential capacity will approach 1000 students. An analysis is needed to determine what the constraint will then be on enrolment growth. It may be that teaching accommodation needs to be expanded.
In conclusion this analysis of internal efficiency draws attention to the profile of teaching loads (averaging 7.6 hours contact per week at primary); the level of student-hour teaching loads (which on average are equivalent to 7.8 hours a week with 100 students); the wide variation in loads between staff members; and the rate of space utilisation (relatively high during semester time). The overall NTTC student teacher ratio is about 14:1 at primary. There are 43 staff allocated to the primary section who will graduate about 190 students in 1999. This translates into an output of a little more than four trained teachers per full-time person-year of staff time. A similar analysis for secondary suggests that about 40 staff will graduate a little less than 100 secondary teachers giving a secondary output of about 2.5 trained teachers per staff member per year.
The questions that remain are therefore whether teaching could be organised more efficiently to provide for greater output with similar numbers of staff. Is it possible to timetable courses such that very large group sizes are minimised to allow for more varied training methods which include more interactive work in smaller groups? Can teaching loads be more evenly distributed and should contact hours be revised? To what extent can space be utilised during periods when the NTTC is not in session^{14}?
^{14 }This is already the case but nno data was available on the extent of utilisation.