Teacher quality

Letters

DISSATISFACTION with teacher quality is becoming a growing popularity in the country at the moment with the rise in many substandard teachers college approved by the Education Department under the previous government’s education minister.
Though the list of unapproved teachers college was only released this week, hundreds of teachers had graduated in recent years and are already teaching in many schools through bribery district education officers or appointment officers in respect provinces and districts.
The fact of the issue is that teachers hardly know the subject content well in order to teach it effectively.
They are not comfortable with the key principles and concepts, and able to explain them clearly.
Those planning to teach math, for example, need a fluid and conceptual understanding of number systems in their various forms.
Those teaching language must understand key elements of linguistics, including reading, writing and speaking.
Today’s teachers cannot speak a fluent English nor write a
simple business letter or a simple essay.
They still cannot solve a basic algebra, or area of a circle or a simple Pythagoras theorem or don’t even know the simple photosynthesis and water cycle.
It is not enough for teachers to have a minimum understanding in the subject they teach.
The proficiency of teachers must significantly exceed the proficiency expected of students.
This implies that teacher training programmes must either provide trainees with the necessary content knowledge, since content knowledge is a prerequisite for quality teaching in many parts of the world.
Teachers college’s even fails to enforce stringent assessment criteria during semester exams to filter the academically weak students that used to be common in the formative years.
Today, it is worse than ever before where our universities and colleges are operating more like a kindergarten or primary / high schools were everyone goes through the system and graduate poor quality of academic standards not needed in the real work scenario.
It is a matter of asking yourself if university /college assessment are more focus on open-book test or take home test or even group assignments where everyone pass through, than the normal tests and trimester exams.
It’s a common sense, we cannot expect all those 1,000 students entering teachers college to graduate at the end of the final year and all to become competent teachers.
This is the reality but the current teachers colleges must have gone down very low, resulting the production of very poor quality of teachers all year around.
There is something terribly wrong somewhere and our good education department must step-up to assess and rectify issues affecting the quality of education in the country.
We have a long way to go to develop teacher education policies and programmes on a par with the more developed or developing countries of the world.
Many of the world’s most successful education systems owe at least part of their success to a decision to establish and enforce high content and quality standards for teacher training institutions.
It is a matter of time before our schools are flooded with half-baked teachers that cannot literally perform to expectations in the classroom.

Ken Nandawa
Bush Education Adviser

One thought on “Teacher quality

  • I totally agree with Ken Nandawa; lots of teachers of these days are no better than the students they are trying to teach. This is also a contribution towards our police and defence force act like hooligans because their education and knowledge foundation were laid wrongly, poorly or none at all.
    Can the education Minister look very seriously into this?

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