CHRISTIAN CHILDCARE PROGRAMME (CCP)
SPECIAL TEACHERS’ TRAINING REFRESHER COURSE
OPENING KEY NOTE ADDRESS
CCP which is a Christian charity established in 1984 focuses on vulnerable children and youths for their education, general welfare and vocational training; drawing most of the beneficiaries from the eastern rural areas of Uganda. By the grace of God CCP after its inception, for about the first ten to fifteen years used to produce several professionals such as teachers, doctors, engineers, social workers among others. It is sadly surprising that currently the academic standards right from primary school levels have dropped and continue to steadily deteriorate. Consequently, fixing our children to the next levels in the education ladder has always been hard due to poor performance in the former ones. As it were, this trend influences the lives and education of the children which makes it almost impossible to effectively pass essential exams. We have therefore ended up failing to produce the professionals we used to produce.
We have discovered that our unfortunate situation is common with many, especially rural schools. To us this shows that our children’s weakness is within the context of the entire education system. Also evident is the discrepancy between some traditionally good performing schools and the traditionally poor performing ones which seem to be either so consistent or permanent, in that it is almost accepted or expected. In some circles it has led to complacence.
You will note that all the teachers both in the ‘good’ and ‘poor’ schools are trained in the same colleges and there is no deliberate practice to post some particular ones to particular schools. The Uganda government has also done well to evenly support schools as much as possible with what is needed. Besides decentralizing services, school inspectorate has been strengthened and the Coordinating Centre Tutors are another innovation which should by all means lead to good results in our primary schools.
One therefore asks “But what is wrong?” It is of course wrong to assume that conditions are the same in all schools. Some schools are advantaged while others have many challenges. The research workshop we carried out on 5th March 2010 revealed many of the challenges and the training is geared towards addressing them, hoping that at the and of the day every stakeholder in our education system will play their parts for improvement, excellence and being able to favorably compete both nationally and internationally.
This training is consequent to both a genuine felt need and a research workshop we conducted recently – and the latter led to the topic content to be handled. The trainees are deemed to be capable teachers but under some avoidable adverse circumstances leading to poor results of their particular schools. The topics therefore, without compromising the conventional Teacher Education Principles, may not be so academic. They have a bias of the social circumstance that hinder proper performance. The facilitators, much as they may be highly qualified professionals, they have particularly been selected due to their long-time good performance against all odds. They have the practical experience we all need.
The research revealed that some challenges can be handled by either parents, government, community, pupils but teachers take the biggest share. We seek to help the teachers to do their part well as we engage the other stake holders to do theirs too.
It is common that we are currently living in an era of workshops, seminars, training, re-training, upgrading, etc; but it is also true that we are living in an era of poor performance, corruption, complacence, unethical behaviour, unprofessionalism etc. With this ironical and inconsistent background of our society today, I implore you dear trainees to earnestly consider this as a unique training, so different from others where everything is forgotten after the training. Be prepared to change and also cause change; note that you are accountable to your profession, the pupils and all stakeholders including yourself and above all, God.
We have a strategy for practical monitoring and evaluation and with the DEO’s support we shall follow you up. Therefore, learn and do.
A BRIEF ABOUT THE RESEARCH WORKSHOP OF 5TH MARCH 2010
A. GOOD PERFORMANCE SCHOOLS (Teachers and Pupils)
1. Children have enough text books at their disposal
2. Teachers are keen on following the timetables, marking work and giving feedback
3. Teachers avail themselves to children for discussion outside class time
4. Turn up of parents when called upon is very good and they also visit children at school
5. Parents do follow-up their children’s work by checking their books
6. The teachers prepare teaching/learning aids and display them in class
7. Tests are done at least weekly
8. Teachers are friendly and pupils are free with them
9. Teachers keep time and are punctual
10. Co-curricular activities done but not at the expense of time for academics
11. The class population sizes are fairly manageable
12. Pupils who perform well are given awards
13. Poor performers are punished
14. Pupils’ attendance of school is good
15. Pupils appreciate peer (prefect) leadership
16. The Headteacher visits classes even as teaching goes on
17. Pupils are confident of passing with first grade and thereafter advance in education
B. POOR PERFORMING SCHOOLS (Teachers and Pupils)
The results/responses from the poor performing schools showed a direct opposite trend of the good ones above)
C. SCHOOL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, PTA, LCS AND PARENTS
1. No clear indication about upholding girl-education
2. No strategy/policy to address the issue of school dropouts
3. No established policy/strategy to address indiscipline among children and youths in the community
4. Punctuality in schools not good for both teachers and pupils
D. GENERAL OBSERVATION:
Teachers earn very little
A HINT ON THE TOPICS
The parents are particularly urged to be co-teachers to continue and sustain the pupils’ learning and care for education even at home and elsewhere
These topics have been generated as a response to the research workshop we conducted and the generally known challenges against good performance
1. Training in teaching Reading
2. Training in teaching Writing
These topics 1 and 2 above are to help the teachers to work against all odds to give the pupils a firm foundation in these two areas without which the pupils can not at all advance. It was discovered in the poor performing schools that pupils at different levels can not read and write effectively.
3. Training in Rescue methods to redeem weak upper classes
This is aimed at salvaging P.5, P.6, P.7 who missed a firm foundation, to catch up and fairly make it. We may use unconventional ways but we have to snatch them from fire or pull them out of a sinking boat so that they do not burn or drawn in water.
4. How to handle big classes effectively (Collaborative learning)
These big classes are not about to go, yet we can not surrender ourselves to failure. The aim is to help trainees to manage them without complaining or bitterness and produce results.
5. Consistent, meaningful and positive punishment
Without punishment the development of the child/pupil is at great risk, but it should be done “professionally” sensibly and in love if it is to produce desired results
6. The pupils’ success is the teachers’ success – their future lies in the teachers’ hands.
This is to awaken both the teachers’ responsibility but also as a motivation to treat the pupils as an investment with sure future dividends
7. A teacher as a parent, motivator and counsellor of the pupils and the community
This is to awaken teachers’ responsibility, revive their friendliness with pupils, be ethical and professional. They are also to encourage and attend to pupils’ individual and general challenges.
8. A parent as a co-teacher
Much as we believe that a teacher is co-parent of the pupil, even a parent is a co-teacher, but unfortunately, most parents and the entire community do not know this. The trainees are to learn to constantly and consistently sensitize the community on this fact and other responsibilities if they are to suitably work together for the children.
Way forward, tools of monitoring and evaluation and sustainability
This is to ensure that what we have done and learnt here bear fruits and fruits that will last. We aim at practical measures which are sustainable yet with effect and impact.
I urge all of us to be mature and teachable, be active and where necessary contribute for the benefit of all – I hope the facilitators will allow this. I wish you a blessed time of interaction and learning.
By JAMES KIDULU
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - CCP
CHRISTIAN CHILDCARE PROGRAMME (CCP)
SPECIAL TEACHERS’ TRAINING REFRESHER COURSE
WAY FORWARD, TOOLS OF MONITORING AND EVALUATION AND SUSTAINABILITY PLANS
After this training based on research needs and challenges we would like to propose workable redemptive measures which will also partly help us in monitoring and evaluating our efforts. We also hope and believe that if adhered to the results so achieved will be sustained to cause effect and impact.
1. Holding such trainings regularly in an affordable and accessible way in various centres
2. Establishing in every given community where a school in located, a Community Quality, Education Committee (CQEC) with a major objective of ensuring the monitoring and evaluation and sustainability of equality education in that particular area.
a. Composition of the CQEC
i. LC official in charge of education
ii. Schools’ Director of Studies
iii. Two concerned and approved volunteers
vi. --------------------------------------- as community chooses
b. Terms of Reference
i. To sell the idea of quality education to all stake holders through SMC, PTA, General meetings, community social gatherings, school assemblies etc
ii. Urge the headteacher and SMC appropriately lobby for the various needs/support eg text books from DEO and other bodies
iii. The headteacher with support of the District Education Office sensitize local leaders about the new system and seek their support
iv. The CQEC in collaboration with SMC to lobby and liaise with the District Education Office to ensure that teacher transfers do not disrupt or stop the well meaning efforts for quality education
v. Urge the SMC and the headteacher to do sensible and meaningful farming to produce food for teachers to “supplement their pay”
vi. Work with the LC system to ensure discipline among children and youths in the community and to check voluntary school dropouts
vii. To learn even in an informal and simple way the major objective of this programme and the dynamics as contained in the topics handled.
viii. Note excelling pupils and students in the community and if they are financially unable, to seek community support for them
ix. Make and give periodical reports to LC I chairperson copied to SMC and PTA
x. Regularly in liaison with SMC check performance of the school in a comprehensive way
xi. Others as the community deems necessary
3. The participants of this training to pass on the acquired knowledge and skills to the remaining staff and eventually to the community. This is to ensure way forward, implementation M and E and sustainability.
3.1 Each school to devise means of the best way to effectively and consistently use the knowledge acquired both at school and the community.
4. CCT, SMC, PTA and District Education Office to follow up performance of the participating schools as a means to show results, effect and eventually impact of this training
4.1 Records of performance before and after are important for comparison purposes. So consistent/continuous and meaningful record keeping is a must in this respect
5. Hold a meaningful Parents’ Day with enough academic bias
6. Determine to make yours a “Model school”
7. Devise means of giving awards to excelling students every term – at least the best three in every class.
7.1 It is important to tell them of this at the beginning of the term and make the award giving serious and powerful with a Guest of Honour
7.2 CCP pledges to sponsor this for Nampanga Primary School for two years 2010 and 2011 and will as much as possible follow-up performance
May God help us not to be only hearers but doers of what we learn. Remember, “Determination and commitment knows no failure”. Let us all work as a team wherever we are and believe that ‘we can’, and soon we will see desired results.
By JAMES KIDULU
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - CCP