|Primary Teacher Education in Malawi: Insights into Practice and Policy (CIE, 2002, 144 p.)|
|Chapter 6: The Curriculum As Implemented During School-Based Training|
Our data indicates that many of the schools lack adequate teaching and learning materials to support students and other teachers in their work. Basic materials like teachers' guides, chart paper and pens were lacking in most schools in the sample we visited. Some students were even without the right Handbooks for some months during the school-based period. The students had to learn how to 'scrounge' whatever materials were required - a useful skill but not one for which they were prepared. This set them asking around trying hard to acquire teaching materials from unexpected quarters. When they were unsuccessful they went ahead and taught without teaching and learning aids. On a positive note it can be said that the dire conditions in the schools compelled them to learn to be resourceful.
Head teachers generally found themselves unable to do anything about the lack of teaching materials in the schools; this was one of the elements which frustrated and undermined their ability to support training at the school level. Most head teachers felt the need to be seen to be doing something about teaching and learning materials but indicated that this was beyond their capacity. The result was that their commitment varied, as they saw themselves as having little power to take remedial measures.
The problem of teaching resources can be seen as falling into two parts: those that are an essential minimum e.g. teachers guides, student Handbooks, text books, syllabuses, basic classroom equipment; and those that are desirable e.g. additional reading material, non-essential consumables, models. The former are difficult to substitute and would seem to be necessary for systematic support. The latter may be improvised or worked around. Teacher Development Centres (TDCs) could help provide examples of what it is possible to do with few resources.