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close this bookPrimary Teacher Education in Malawi: Insights into Practice and Policy (CIE, 2002, 144 p.)
close this folderChapter 2: The Malawi Integrated In-Service Teacher Education Programme In Context
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View the document2.2 The training system and the development of MIITEP

2.2 The training system and the development of MIITEP

The primary training system consists of six teacher-training colleges located in different parts of the country. All except two, which are associated with Churches, are government-owned, and all are responsible to the MoEST which provides the salaries of staff and stipends for trainees. Table 2.1 below shows the capacity of the primary college system in 1999. The TTCs had about 175 staff when the data was collected (1999). Staff student ratios varied from 11:1 to 21:1.

Table 2.1: Number of Lecturers in Colleges and Nominal Student Capacity 1999

College

Number of lecturers

Number of non-teaching staff

Capacity
(Female)

Capacity
(Male)

Capacity
(Total)

Staff/Student Ratio

BTC

26

35

240

300

540

21

LTC

32



540

540

17

Karonga

28

25

100

200

300

11

Kasungu

28

6

200

400

600

21

St Joseph

23

20

300


300

13

St Montfort

38



450

450

12

Total

175

86

840

1890

2730

16

The MIITEP system shows both continuities and discontinuities with the past. Teacher education programmes in Malawi have undergone a number of structural changes in the last ten years, all in the direction of shortening and condensing the formal period of college-based training in order to meet increasing demand for new teachers.

At Independence in 1964, the 'normal' training programme was the two-year residential college course which took entrants with either a Junior Certificate or a Malawi School Certificate of Education, who qualified respectively as T3 or T2 teachers. In 1987 a 'crash' one-year in-service initial course was instituted in one college, to train unqualified but experienced teachers. This did not meet demand and as a result the Malawi Special Distance Teacher Education Programme (MASTEP) was set up in 1989 to train teachers on-the-job through a combination of short residential courses, local seminars, and distance learning methods. This was discontinued after 3 years, and replaced by a programme of one year's field training followed by one year's residential course in a college (Hauya 1997, Kunje and Lewin 2000). MIITEP is a successor to these innovations designed to address the explosion in demand for primary teachers since FPE.

In 1995 the new government entered into discussions with the World Bank and the German Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) about certifying the 'untrained temporary teachers', about 20,000 of whom had been recruited as part of the FPE initiative. MoEST personnel were sent to look at other training programmes within the region (e.g. in Zambia and Zimbabwe) to see how similar problems had been tackled. The GTZ emerged as the professional training partner for MIITEP. Once the decision was taken, the programme was worked out, staffed and implemented by Malawians, with one or two German consultants. A Teacher Development Unit (TDU) was set up within the MoEST, and project implementation was co-ordinated from there.

The details of the MIITEP training system and aspects of its current status are described in detail in a number of documents (e.g. Bude et al 1995, GTZ 1995, DSE 1998, Malawi Integrated Inservice Teacher Education Programme 1997a,b and c, and 1998, Stuart and Kunje 2000, Kunje and Lewin 2000). In brief the programme consists of a one term residential course followed by four or five terms of supervised teaching in schools. In the sixth term trainees attend a one month residential block which includes final examinations. The original profile of planned activity is shown below.

Table 2.2: Structure of the MIITEP Programme

Time

Students Activities

Assessment

3 months

Resident in college

Exam; TP in demonstration school, assessed by tutor

20 months

Return to previous teaching post, attend zonal seminars; study by distance materials; receive support and supervision from HT, PEAs

Projects and assignments submitted; TP assessed by HT, PEAs, visiting tutors, TDU and MANEB

1 month

Resident in college for revision

Final exam

In essence trainees following a conventional college-based programme in the first phase complete with a minimal teaching practice. Subsequently they return to schools (usually the ones where they have been teaching as untrained teachers) and follow a self-study programme based on tasks set by the Malawi National Examination Board (MANEB). The curriculum both in the colleges and during the school-based training is based on the Student Teacher Handbooks developed by MIITEP. In school they are supposed to receive advice and guidance from trained teachers, and college tutors are supposed to visit occasionally. They also have to attend zonal workshops and complete a series of assignments and projects which are sent to the Colleges for assessment. The last period in College is a residential block leading to a final examination. At the same time as changing the mode through which teacher training took place MIITEP materials make clear that the ambition is to produce teachers who will be more effective in the classroom and adopt new methods of teaching. The intention was that more emphasis would be given to pedagogic strategies that put the child at the centre of learning activities, reduced the amount of recall-based learning in favour of that focused at higher cognitive levels, and enhanced the achievement of basic skills related to literacy and numeracy.

MIITEP recruited cohorts from those enrolled in the emergency training programme in place between 1994-6. Six cohorts were selected by 1997 totalling about 15,000 trainees. Three subsequent cohorts (7, 8, and 9) were planned to train the remaining untrained teachers recruited at this time. Selection criteria for the first cohort were: the MSCE certificate, a minimum of two years' teaching experience (one year for females), and attendance at the initial orientation course. For the second and following cohorts, a JCE was accepted as an alternative, with priority given to those teaching longest. Table 2.3 shows the numbers of trainees in each cohort.

Table 2.3: Distribution of MIITEP Trainees across Cohorts

Cohort

Total

1

2330

2

2636

3

2526

4

2491

5

2494

6

2611

Total

15067

Untrained

8439

Grand Total

23506

As fieldwork was being conducted for this study the sixth cohort were beginning their training, and the others were at later stages. Cohort 1 was planned to complete in February 1999. This study used data from across the cohorts for different parts of the data collection.

In summary MIITEP functions in an environment where resources are scarce, infrastructure is weak and the demands placed on the training system are large. There was little investment in the College system during the previous decade, though there were several changes in the training curriculum and its pattern of delivery, each of which required adjustment to new practices. Though conceptually MIITEP is fairly simple, this belies the complexity associated with its implementation. A wide range of inputs are needed - teaching, supervision, handbooks, support for assignments, marking, school visits etc - all of which require co-ordinating and financing effectively and in a timely way. The remaining chapters in this report present insights from different parts of the data collected between 1997 and 2000, and investigate the extent to which the realisation of MIITEP matched its aspirations.