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close this bookPrimary Teacher Education in Malawi: Insights into Practice and Policy (CIE, 2002, 144 p.)
close this folderExecutive Summary
close this folder4.0 Findings
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.1 Entrants
View the document4.2 Curriculum and Delivery
View the document4.3 Assessment Strategy and Achievement
View the document4.4 Colleges and Staff
View the document4.5 Newly Qualified Teachers
View the document4.6 Supply and Demand
View the document4.7 Financing Teacher Education

4.4 Colleges and Staff

The college system is in an advanced state of deterioration, with staff working under very difficult conditions and achieving what they can against multiple adversities. College infrastructure varies from barely adequate to totally unsatisfactory. A combination of policy neglect, lack of maintenance, erratic and minimal funding, unstable staffing, and indifferent leadership appear to have resulted in impoverished institutions with low morale and poor quality learning environments. If MIITEP or its successors are to use the colleges as an institutional base, whatever the quality of their planning and curriculum materials effectiveness will be compromised by very poor quality learning environments.

The general budgetary system for the colleges simply does not work and makes any kind of regular functioning difficult if not impossible. Partly as a result of the irregular patterns of finance, and MIITEP scheduling and changes in policy, patterns of utilisation of staff are not very efficient and college capacity is under-utilised. The main constraint on increased enrolment lies in boarding facilities. Current arrangements also tend to exclude those with child care responsibilities from residential status, with consequences for their learning.

College lecturers as a group are relatively old and many are within a few years of qualifying for retirement. Their numbers have been dwindling. This creates an opportunity to renew the cadre within a medium term plan for the development of teacher education. There is currently no coherent staff development programme. The perceptions lecturers have of good teachers, their view of the curriculum, trainees and the nature of the training task rest uneasily with much of the rhetoric of MIITEP. Clearly they have yet to be largely converted to ideas of student-centred learning (their practice displays only glimpses of what it might be), and they transmit rather different messages through their practice of the nature of the 'real' curriculum of teacher education. The colleges continue to function and staff do communicate some of their skill and enthusiasm to trainees, many of whom seem to value their college experience. This is a tribute to those who remain motivated to make something out of very adverse conditions.