Believing in the right to education, DAPP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Zambian Ministry of Education in order to establish 8 Teacher Training a Colleges. DAPP Mkushi College of Education is the first teacher training college established by DAPP in Zambia in 2012. The college is training teachers for rural primary schools where there is a growing demand for qualified teachers.
The DNS Mkushi College of Education has the purpose of training and providing multiple skills to teachers who will be ready to render their service to schools in the remote areas of Zambia, where there is most need of education. The unique training programme provides an all-round education to student teachers preparing them to become passionate teachers with the will, heart and skills to work in rural areas.
The college offers a 3-year unique Ministry of General Education Primary School Teacher Diploma Course. The college is governed by the Common Meetings comprising of all the lecturers, the principal and the students. The deliberations are shared together with the students in common meetings that are held weekly.
In 2015 the College had a total of 72 students enrolled and reached over 1,500 pupils from government and community schools through teachers’ practice and community actions. Urbanization in Zambia has shifted the mindset of most youths who are thinking that staying in the rural area has no value comparing to urban areas. Any person who associates him/herself to the rural setup is seen to be backward and far from moving with the current generation.
Thus as we train our students to become teachers for rural primary schools, our main focus is working on the mindset and attitude so that our student teachers start appreciating the importance of being teachers for rural schools with the notion that if we fail to go and work in the rural areas, children there, the people and the community would remain forever backward and underdeveloped.
In 2016, the college was inspected and granted full accreditation as a Teacher Training College following the new regulations set by the Teaching Council of Zambia. Additionally, the college has been designated as a fully authorized examination center from the Examination Council of Zambia.
The additional subjects have been included which the student teachers focus on include Computer skills, the world in which we live, Charter subjects, Specialization, Our Country Zambia, Agriculture, Construction, Lifestyle skills, Communication, Economy, Community work, Pedagogical workshops, Leadership Intelligence and Fighting with the Poor. Through the additional subjects, the student teachers are modelled to be agents of change in the rural schools and communities.
“Our aim is to improve educational achievement of Zambian children through the training of rural primary school teachers and fostering community development”
STATEMENT FROM THE HEAD TEACHER
Mr Tamuli is the head teacher for Fibanga Primary school where 4 male student teachers are attached. The school has 5 permanent teachers to handle grades 1 to 7. The head teacher had this to say: “On behalf of the members of teaching staff at our school, I wish to express my delight on the general conduct and performance of the students as exhibited during their teaching practice in term 1, 2013. All of us, teachers, pupils and parents have had an exciting time with the students. This entails that really the college has a vision for the young generation. I personally monitored all of them and have had discussions with each student. The students were involved in various school activities such as lesson demonstrations in teacher group meetings, worked in improving the school environment. The school still looks forward to working together with them in the second term 2013.”
STATEMENT FROM LOCAL EDUCATION AUTHORITIES
Mrs Mary Mwiko, the District Education Standards officer has been overwhelmed by the coming of DAPP Mkushi College of Education in the district. She recommended the idea of training rural teachers as the only way to change the existing picture of rural education. She said early marriage is there in rural areas because of having boring or low active lessons by engaging untrained teachers.
THE DAPP TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAMME
The DAPP Teacher Training Colleges, rooted in rural communities provide students with the professional teaching qualifications and practical skills needed to live and work in the rural areas. The colleges are located in rural areas, demonstrating to the student teachers first hand that rural life can be challenging as well as full filling. Students train for their future jobs by working in nearby primary schools. They are also encouraged to become active participant in the community in which their school is located; learning about a community’s need and understanding how they can assist. During their training, students set the agenda for their own education, with a limited time being set aside for lectures. The college follows an innovative teaching approach called the Determination of Modern Methods (DMM). This approach makes the student the main navigator of his or her own training and it changes and improves the student’s ability and potential to learn and work, both independently and collectively.
This principle is also expressed in the exquisite pedagogical method of the colleges, called DMM – Determination of Modern Methods. This method establishes the student as the main navigator of his own training and secures that ample knowledge and access to many and varied knowledge sources are at the disposal of the students while they are in training. Within the framework of the two-year programme, the student teachers acquire the necessary skills and knowledge and start to practice and function as proactive teachers. In the first 3 days of each week, the students are attached to the primary schools for the school experience and the remaining 2 working days and Saturdays they are at college bridging the gap on the theory learnt in lecture sessions to what they have seen while on teaching practice in the surrounding primary schools. It is done for the whole 2 years. In the first year, the student teachers are attached to the lower grades (1 to 4) while in the second year they are attached to the upper grades (5 to 7).
The practice is combined with training and exercise in developing the rural community together with the school, children and parents.
The teaching Programme which the DAPP Mkushi College of Education is running is meant to train the teachers-to-be to command more knowledge and capabilities and to equip them with multiple and diverse skills, both to teach the children and to create development in areas where they would be posted to upon completion of their studies. The main pedagogical principle of the college’s teacher training is on placing the students centrally, making them as a driving force in their own learning process.
“BUSSING OUR CONTINENT” – AN INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL TOUR
The Bussing our Continent educational tour is a four month international travel that is conducted in the first year as a part of a bus trip through various countries in Southern Africa. The main objective of including international travel in the first year of the teacher training education is so that the future teachers get a wider understanding of the human, social, economic and political conditions in the Southern African region through personal experience. They meet people from all walks of life, from subsistence farmers in remote villages to government officials in the capitals; from workers in mines and industries to students and teachers at universities; to business people and street vendors.
The insights that the students gain provide the future teachers with a greater comprehension for the world, which strengthens them as citizens not only of Zambia, but of Africa and the world. This method of travel and learning, which puts them in situations where they have to learn to solve all kinds of problems faced during the trip, makes the future teachers more mobile and able to adapt to new situations. Each day and new experience teaches them that they are capable of much more than they had originally imagined possible, both individually and collectively.
STUDENT TEACHERS' SCHOOL EXPERIENCE
During teaching practice, the students carry out various activities apart from teaching. They get involved in sports, clubs such as math and science to improve the learners’ performance as well as inspiring the learners to take these subjects as any other subject. The student teachers are also involved in coming up with school-based projects where the pupils are actively involved. The would-be-teachers also carry out research work on various issues affecting the learner’s performance.
SUCCESS STORY FROM THE MKUSHI TEACHER TRAINING COLLEGE
Second year student at the DAPP Mkushi Teacher Training College, Brian Kamwendo always wanted to be a teacher at a rural a school because he saw how hard it was for rural areas to have qualified teachers. Even when pupils have the will to learn, they lack the basic right to education because most teachers are not willing not prepared to live in the most rural areas.
His dream was to be trained by a good institution which would prepare him in a comprehensive and professional way to become a teacher in the most rural areas of Zambia. He knew DAPP Mkushi Teacher Training College was modeling a different kind of a teacher and offered a variety of activities including the bussing our continent tour, as well as teaching skills and knowledge tailored for rural life.
Brian will graduate in 2016 and as he completes his diploma, he is pleased of different skills and knowledge acquired both in the academic and the practical fields. He is sure that the life skills the college have taught him will help achieving his dream to work as a teacher in rural areas and provide services to the rural communities and population.