Wednesday, 17 March 2010

ICT4D Teacher Challenges in Africa

Through the Unesco Education portal I came across a very worthwhile and relevant publication for those interested in teacher motivation in the African region. Although this has no immediate link to eLearning, eLearning has been put forward as a possible solution (mainly in very remote areas with lack of teachers) to get people trained to become teachers.

Primary education in Africa meets many challenges, but the biggest challenge is the teacher challenge. At the midway point for achieving the Dakar goal of universal primary education (UPE), teacher matters are a burning issue in Africa, as witnessed by the place taken up by this topic today in international conferences devoted to Education For All (EFA), an initiative that put forward the rapidly nearing deadline of 2015.

Teacher matters are clearly at the heart of all considerations on the expansion of education systems, whether pedagogical considerations as to the quality of learning, social concerns related to the more or less equitable character of education provided in terms of quality and quantity, or questions raised as to the financial sustainability of the efforts still to be accomplished in terms of recruitment simply to reach UPE.

The UNESCO Office Dakar and Regional Bureau for Education in Africa; Pôle de Dakar have published a study related to this topic (196 p). The purpose of this study is to help setting up teacher policies that address Africa’s educational challenges.

So let's take a look at some of the challenges that are mentioned in the study:
  • Recruiting teachers (to reach the estimated quantitive need of teachers);
  • Effects of salary cost and status on long-term teacher commitments,
  • Teacher selection criteria;
  • Teacher professional training;
  • Beyond the regional trends that may have been observed, there is seen to be considerable variation from country to country on all aspects affecting teacher matters;
  • Which teachers for what kind of training?
The report is well documented and it highlights some of the main challenges still in need to be tackled.

Some conclusions mentioned:
  • The dialogue necessary for the successful transformation of policies decided on as a matter of urgency into long-term sustainable policies ensuring the provision of motivated and trained teachers, must be initiated at country level.
  • The different elements of teacher policy seem poorly documented. Aside from the scarcity of evaluations concerning aspects likely to affect the pedagogical effectiveness of teachers, teacher populations themselves are not well documented whether in terms of composition or progression.
  • The administrative and pedagogical management of teachers deserves special attention.
  • The improvement, or the implementation, of proper pedagogical management of teachers should also be high on the list of priorities in these new teacher policies.

An interesting read.