The Ministry of Education has commended Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Malawi for taking lead in increasing number of role models for girls by training more female primary school teachers in their Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs).
Mary Chirwa, Chief Education Officer in the Department of Teacher Education and Development was speaking at DAPP Dowa TTC during graduation of 83 primary school teacher students of which 46 graduating students were females.
“It is pleasing to note that there are more female teachers who are graduating today.” She said, during Thursday graduation and added “This is commendable because we are now talking of gender equality.”
According to Chirwa, the country has shortage of female primary school teachers as they only resent 40 percent of primary school teachers national wide. She therefore said due to this worrisome statistics, most rural primary schools have no female teacher and that a lot of
girls in such areas dropout of school because they do not see any role model who can inspire them to continue with their education.
She then emphasised that there is need to train more female primary school teachers in order to balance current gender gap and has since expressed hope that the country will soon achieve this goal as DAPP Malawi has taken step in right direction on this exercise.
“So, we are happy that DAPP is taking part because these teachers will be role models in rural area primary schools,” she said
Chirwa disclosed that Government has taken serious steps to achieve balance in the representation of female and male teachers in primary school education. She said one notable measure is introduction of quota in the intake of students in public teacher training colleges
which is 50-50 selection.
However, she noted that this policy is facing challenge particularly when selecting female candidates as most of them fail to meet selection criteria set by these training institutions. She said one cause to that problem is that most girls do not excel in their studies as they rarely get exposed to role models who can motivate them right from earliest stage of their education.
But she expressed hope that as more female primary school teachers are trained now, 50-50 selection in public TTCs will be possible as more girls will excel in their studies and meet entry requirements into colleges.
“If we have role models in the primary schools, we will have more girls finishing primary school education and go to secondary school and finish their studies with excellent results that meet intake criteria for our teacher training colleges,” said Chirwa
Turning to education offered in DAPP TTCs, Chirwa said she is impressed with DAPP programmes and added that the college is producing well qualified teachers.
“There is demand for qualified and well trained teachers either in public or private schools. We really appreciate your efforts in the education of teachers,” she said adding that graduates from DAPP will help government meet required numbers of teachers needed in primary schools.
Graduating student representative, Spiwe Mwale said the three year training has enabled them to be self-starters both inside and outside classroom.
“We are ready to work in all areas of Malawi,” she assured, adding “We have acquired knowledge.”
She continued:“We hope to make a difference in teaching profession.” And said they have acquired necessary leadership skills which can bring meaningful contribution to social economic development of the country.
Principal for DAPP Dowa TTC, Blessings Kambewa explains that these graduating student teachers have been transformed and are set to bring change in communities they are going to live in.
“Our philosophy when we are training teachers is that we look at them as people who are so significant in transforming our community, so, in their training we encompass community, we train them how they can interact with communities around them.
“We also teach them to be responsible citizens in the way they manage their life and resources.”
Kambewa also hinted that part of the training included 4 months travel to some SADC countries to enable them appreciate what is happening in other countries so that they can relate such experiences to Malawi.
“[This travel] also help them to be courageous enough because traveling for 4 months they encountered a lot of challenges which required their resilience and courage. We hope that it will go into their profession, they will be courageous enough to come up with solutions affecting their lives and their teaching profession,” he added
The graduation of 83 teacher students at Dowa TTC on Thursday, brings total number of students graduating from the school to 490 since its opening in 2010 and this figure according to Iben Pedersen, DAPP Education sector leader means DAPP Malawi has now trained over 2000 teachers through its four primary school teacher training colleges namely; Amalika in Thyolo district, Chileka in Blantyre, Dowa and Mzimba.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :