The power of colleges of education

Tertiary students  during registration PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Tertiary students during registration PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Colleges of education train students to be the future teachers of the nation; here they study for the Diploma in Secondary or Primary Education (DSE/DPE), writes GRAHAME MCLEOD*

TONOTA: However, unfortunately, some of our colleges of education have, in recent years, closed down – Lobatse and Francistown  being examples. And in those remaining colleges, intake of students has been cut back resulting in much smaller class sizes and lecturer teaching loads. One reason given for the development is that we now have sufficient teachers in our schools. Yes, that might be true if classes continue to be overcrowded with numbers of students of classes exceeding 40 being the norm. This is a pity since teachers are the backbone of the education sector and classes need to be smaller in order for effective teaching to take place.

I have lectured at Tonota College of Education (TCE) for several years. Here students are trained specifically to teach in our junior secondary schools. Twenty years ago, Year Three students would know, before they left college where they would be posted the following January. But these days, it is a different story – graduates now have to compete with each other for the few jobs available. The best that most graduates can hope for now is a temporary teaching post at a junior secondary school where a teacher might, for example, be on maternity leave. So, the message is clear – we need to reduce class sizes and so employ those graduates who are at present without a permanent job! Our student teachers are unemployed, not because their training was irrelevant to the needs of the education system, but rather for other reasons.

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