Before the start of this project, only two public Colleges of Education offered early childhood (ECE) teacher education in Zambia, each delivering approximately 20 teachers per year. Private institutions filled the gap, with course lengths varying between 6 months and 3 years. The quality of the ECE teacher education provided was often debatable.
The Ministry of General Education (MoGE) of Zambia estimated that the ECE teachers force was short of 5,000 teachers to accommodate the targeted 19.5 per cent ECE enrolment rate of 2016. MoGE urged more Colleges of Education to take up ECE as a core in their teacher training. The Colleges of Chipata, Kasama, Kitwe, Livingstone and Serenje accepted the challenge, while recognising that this would require developing additional capacity.
In 2014, MoGE started a process of accreditation to improve and harmonise the quality among providers of teacher education. One of the cornerstones is a greater focus on effective teaching practice.
Early childhood education student teachers of Colleges of Education benefit from a quality mentorship and supervision system during their teaching practice.
- Ministry of General Education (MoGE)
- Directorate of Teacher Education and Specialised Services (TESS)
- Colleges of Education of Chipata, Kasama, Kitwe, Livingstone, and Serenje
Teachers have the most direct impact on student well-being and learning outcomes. Ensuring that teachers have the competences and motivation to perform well is key to guaranteeing educational quality and equity. Given the increased number of institutions that offer ECE training programmes, and thus the increased number of ECE student teachers, the project focussed on improving mentoring and supervision of student teachers during their teaching practice.
The project was built around three pillars:
- Developing and institutionalising a teaching practice system at the selected Colleges of Education in collaboration with TESS and other stakeholders, including demonstration and practice schools, district resource centres, relevant ministry staff at national and decentralised level.
- Preparing key staff such as lecturers, heads of demonstration and practice schools, and staff of district resource centres, for their new roles in the teaching practice system.
- Creating and implementing a monitoring and assessment system to:
- evaluate the quality of student teaching;
- adjust teacher education programmes to the realities of the ECE classroom where necessary;
- and to learn lessons to improve the teaching practice system.
By the end of the project:
The Colleges of Education:
- have set up functional ECE teaching practice committees;
- observe students during their teaching practice, as do the ECE teachers in the demonstration and practice schools.
All education practitioners involved in the student teachers’ teaching practice:
- acknowledge the significance of mentorship during teaching practice;
- have the tools, skills and key attitudes for effective mentoring.
MoGE and TESS:
- developed a vision and a strategy on mentoring, including tools for use by lecturers in the Colleges of Education;
- guide the implementation and monitoring of an effective ECE teaching practice system.
To reach its goals, VVOB Zambia developed the capacity of its education partners. VVOB relied on capacity development trajectories that gave partners maximal responsibility in the execution and management of their own change processes. This was done through technical assistance provided by the VVOB Zambia team, which included both local and international educational and change management experts.