Syndicate content

Add new comment

Submitted by Paud Murphy on
How interesting. The only way to deal with the problem is to kill (well perhaps not kill but slander, insult, vilify) the messenger. The quality of education in Africa is not as most would want it to be. If we could agree on that then we could posit reasons why and then, maybe solutions. The reasons for low quality are legion: poverty affecting children's attendance, ability to comprehend, study at home etc; limited examples of good schools and a good school environment; poor infrastructure, gender bias or at least lack of focus. But one problem and it is pervasive is the teacher. Large numbers of teachers are either not in school or not in the classroom. Why? large numbers of teachers do not have the skills needed to teach mathematics or science. Why? A very large share of the teaching force in any African country will not teach in rural areas. Why? Many, even a great many, teachers would leave the profession if they could. Why? However, we should probably ask the same question of other professional groups, country by country. Clearly, teachers as a group are not likely to behave better than most other groups and Teachers' Unions will do what all Unions do first, protect their members. Would those questions be answered in the same way if we asked them of nurses and other paramedicals, doctors, agriculture extension workers? If so we have a public service problem, if not an education problem. However we analyse the reasons for the problem with teachers, the problem remains and we should be trying to solve it. It is unlikely that pupils will learn if teachers are not well prepared, well motivated so that they look forward to attending school and interacting with children, well supported in their work and and and... Salary is an issue but my experience has been that teachers respond well to other rewards. Head teacher support and acknowledgement, Pedagogical support staff support and acknowledgement, parental support and acknowledgement. For what it's worth, a possible solution is to have a good teacher campaign that recognizes the good they do, rewards the best performers but does it within a school environment in which teachers, children and head teachers are all focused on learning. And where the teacher is not paid when she, more likely he, does not come to school without good reason. However, all of this is best done in a context of increased resources and where is that these days?