In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 64% of primary school teachers receive any training before entering the classroom. This means many teachers struggle to teach without necessary teaching and class management techniques; a consequence of this is that many pupils struggle to learn. If this continues we’ll fail to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4).
Teacher training in Tanzania is currently offered in three levels, which are grade A, diploma and degree level. Grade A student teachers are trained at teacher training colleges to equip them with knowledge, pedagogical skills and methods to teach at primary schools. The training lasts two years that include teaching practice. If the student teachers complete their training successfully they graduate as professional teachers and are employed by private school or by the government to teach in primary schools. However, there are some cases particularly in rural areas where these teachers teach in secondary schools because of shortage of teachers especially in science subjects. Diploma student teachers are trained to teach at secondary schools. Training also lasts two years. Degree level teacher students are trained at the universities for three years to teach at secondary schools and teacher training colleges.
In many countries, including Tanzania, teachers get no further additional professional support for a long time, leading to ineffective teaching, hence, poor performance in schools (Mbunda , 1998). Pointing out the importance of life-long learning for teachers Mbunda states that:
“Pre-service training alone is not enough whether one acquires a teacher certificate or a first degree for the basic reasons that;
- A single teacher training course is not sufficient to keep one intellectually alive;
- Curriculum always changes and knowledge and teaching technology develop and;
- Education is a life-long and continuous process”.
Worldwide, the number of trained teachers in primary education as a percentage of total teachers has decreased since 2013—when 87% of teachers were trained to teach the content that they were teaching, compared to 85% in 2017 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics).
It is important to understand that teaching is an evolving skill because a good teacher like a good student keeps on learning within the framework of information. Teaching and learning go hand in hand & teaching is truly lifelong which makes it important for schools to invest immensely in the professional development of staff.
Modern society demands high quality teaching and learning from teachers. Teachers have to possess a great deal of knowledge and skills with regard to both teaching and assessment practices in order to meet those demands and standards of quality education.
Good teacher training leads to positive learning environments and in turn this leads to happy children who are more than willing to come to school. Mentoring and coaching too, form a part of teacher training which helps teachers learn from best practices and analyze and reflect on their teaching. Thus, ongoing Professional Development is critical part of the teaching-learning process. Good teacher training puts emphasis on updating teachers with latest research in the education field.
Due to many schools not having the right infrastructure, there’s evidence that indicate teachers in schools with good infrastructure have on average 10 percent less absenteeism than teachers in schools with deficient infrastructure. In fact, infrastructure had a greater effect reducing absenteeism than teacher salaries or the effect of the administrative tolerance for absences.
Responding to these concerns Maasai Girls initiatives for Development provide training, mentoring and support to teachers at school, ward and district levels to diversify teaching methodologies and improve classroom behaviour and participation. Training includes specific subjects (such as Maths and Science) and more general teaching pedagogy, such as participatory and gender sensitive methodologies. We also work with and support primary and secondary school inspectorates by accompanying school visits and by assisting in the establishment and delivery of quality monitoring processes. We put a special emphasis on working with head teachers not only as the gatekeepers to all school level work but also as key allies in improving the school environment, improving teaching and reward mechanisms and learning about locally specific issues that affect attendance and performance.