Image from DETA conference see: http://www.deta.up.ac.za/
Are Large Classes a Challenge to Implementing TESSA Materials in Rural Primary Schools in Uganda?
The introduction of universal primary education in Uganda has resulted in enrolment in Primary Schools doubling and in some cases tripling, making classes too large for teachers to manage. As a result resources have become very few for all pupils to benefit and get quality education. Quality learning is limited and pupils in many schools leave primary education when they cannot read or write fluently. Ugandan government is already making efforts to improve quality by increasing the supply of text books and deploying more teachers to schools. However, having enough trained teachers to deal with large classes has remained a challenge. Teacher Education for Sub Saharan Africa (TESSA) in its effort to support education in Africa has developed open educational resources to be used by teachers in classroom. This study therefore was intended to find out whether large classes are a challenge in the use of TESSA materials. More focus was given on what impact TESSA materials are providing especially in areas that do not have good technological infrastructure. Hence the study was conducted in primary schools located in districts outside the main city.
This study has shown positive impact of TESSA materials and how they are used in large classes. Additionally, they have been used to make classes more learner-centred. Before they were introduced there was little learner participation. Many pupils listened to what the teacher said. Very few tried to answer questions asked in class and there was heavy reliance on teacher’s notes. However, the findings of the study showed that after TESSA materials were introduced, teachers have learnt to use group methods and other skills to manage large classes. Pupils are able to study more on their own after being involved in group activities under the supervision of the teacher.
Dates visited the UK
Did not visit the UK
Kyambogo University, Uganda
Doris is a lecturer and teacher trainer at Kyambogo University, Uganda where she teaches bachelors and diploma students specializing in Ethics, World Religions and Gender studies in the Department of Religious studies and Philosophy. She has an interest in distance education and has been involved in a number of related activities in her university. This includes leading distance education programme activities for Diploma Education Primary students in one of the ten centres that support this program in the country as well as leading a team of writers for Religious Education training and reading modules for distance learners in education. Additionally, she acts as the coordinator for the TESSA project which is located in the department of Distance Education.
She has published articles in a local journal and attended international conferences in Africa to improve her scholarly work as well as widen her professional network.
Doris holds a Master of Arts (Religious Studies) from Makerere University Uganda and is currently pursuing a PhD in the same University.
The main output of this research project is a report on how TESSA materials are being used in large classes in Uganda primary education.
Presentation at DETA Conference
Kaije, Doris (2011). Efforts made by African governments and challenges faced in education in changing circumstances: a case study of Uganda In: DETA Conference, 3-5 August, 2011, Maputo, Mozambique.
Doris attended the conference and was able to present a paper on how her government is making efforts towards achieving quality education. Her paper argued that unless the real challenges faced by governments’ interventions are identified, there will be many initiatives with no desired impact and hence will fail. These challenges need to be identified so that appropriate solutions can be found. This also focused on how TESSA materials are part of these initiatives.
Doris also used this event to meet and discuss her research project with her fellowship mentor. She was encouraged to listen to what other fellows had achieved in their countries and was able to borrow ideas from them.
Update since fellowship
Besides carrying out the research project, Doris has been engaged in promoting and extending the use of TESSA materials among her colleagues, students and primary training colleges participating in the distance education program she is involved in.
Text extracted from pre-publication draft of report by Pauline Ngimwa, "Achieving impact in Africa through openness: OLnet TESSA Fellowships", March 2012. Full details of this publication will be available on this website when available.