a study of pre-service teacher training for effective primary schooling

Capacity of primary school management for professional development in selected
primary schools in Tanzania1
Emmanuel Nkumbi
Letisia Warioba
Willy Komba
Background and policy context
Reflection on review of literature
Problem statement
Significance of the study
Work plan
In Tanzania, as in all other countries, education is considered the corner stone of
economic and social development. This is because investment in education has a direct
and positive effect on productivity as well as development of social-cultural activities.
Recognizing the central role of the education sector in achieving the overall development
goal of improving the quality of life of Tanzanians, the Government of Tanzania (GoT)
has identified education as one of the strategies of combating poverty. Several policy and
structural reforms have been initiated for improving the quality of education and ensuring
universal primary education with a view to strengthening the link between education
provided at all levels and the socio-economic development of Tanzania.
In 1996 the GoT developed the Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP). The
aim was to address the existing problems and face the new challenges resulting from the
socio economic reforms initiated in 1986 and increasing demand for human resource
development in line with fast changing technological advancement. The ESDP derives its
objectives from the national policies such as
the Tanzania Development Vision 2025,
the Education and Training Policy (1995), the technical education policy and the national
science and technology policy, millennium development goals, etc.
Research Proposal presented at the Africa-Asia Dialogue Seminar held at the United
Nations University, Tokyo, 10th March 2006
Objectives of the Education Sector Development Programme
The ESDP covers all sub-sectors in the education sector, namely basic education
including pre-primary, primary, adult, secondary, and teacher education; higher education
and vocational education, both formal and non-formal. The major objectives of ESDP
Decentralization and devolution of powers to regions, districts, communities and
education and training institutions.
Improvement of the quality of education both formal and non-formal
Promotion of access and equity to basic education
Broadening the base for education financing by encouraging cost-sharing
measures and establishment of education funds
Promotion of science and technology
Expansion of provision of education and training
In 2000 the GoT in collaboration with Development Partners (DP) commissioned a study
on the status of the education sector in an effort to develop a strategic approach to
education sector development. The Education Sector Status report (Galabawa et al, 2001)
formed the basis upon which the Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP)
was initiated. The four strategic priorities of PEDP are enrolment expansion, quality
improvement, capacity building and optimizing human, materials and financial resource
utilization. Each of the strategic priorities has components, sub-components, objectives
and strategies around it.
With regard to quality improvement, PEDP aims at
improving teacher’s teaching styles and methods in the classroom,
ensuring the availability of good quality learning and teaching materials, and
ensuring the necessary support for maintaining educational standards.
The document stipulates that the implementation of the components should be
complemented by the adoption of proven best practices and innovations from projects of
CBOs, NGOs and religious organizations. The policy document recognizes that a teacher
in the classroom is one of the main instruments for bringing about qualitative
improvement in learning and that such quality is maximized where there is an enabling
and supportive environment, where the learners participate actively in the process, and
where pupils, teachers and schools have opportunities for personal and institutional
growth. One of the objectives around this component is to enable pre-service and inservice teachers to acquire and develop appropriate pedagogical skills that are
academically sound, child-friendly and gender-sensitive.
The policy prescribes the following strategies that are relevant for achieving the
strengthening cost-effective in-service teacher training programmes
reviewing the content of pre-service and in-service teacher training programmes
with a view to sensitizing teachers and providing them with opportunities to
acquire and develop appropriate pedagogical skills that are academically sound,
child-friendly and gender-sensitive, together with individual life skills which take
into account the current HIV/AIDS pandemic
Strengthening the linkage and network of pre-service and in-service school based
training through outreach programmes.
Establishing and utilizing school based teacher resource centres
Provision of professional development opportunities for tutors, inspectors, head
teachers, ward education coordinators and other education administrators at
council, regional and central levels.
Having in place a formal programme for support and mentoring of student
Reinforce the participatory teaching and learning methods in teachers’ colleges
Have a clearly defined and sustainable continuous professional development
(CPD) programme for primary school teachers
Develop mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating CPD courses
Put emphasis on classroom competence in primary level classroom teaching and
Strengthen and conduct classroom-based researches
Quantity versus quality
Reports on the implementation of the PEDP suggest that the thrust was on enrolment
expansion, teacher recruitment and deployment, construction of classrooms and
sanitary facilities, provision of teaching and learning materials, as well as provision of
pre-service and in-service teacher training. In other words, the trend has been to
create better conditions at school level (inputs) and not so much on content or
pedagogic capacities of the teacher (processes). This is clear from reviews conducted
by academics, the World Bank, and NGOs. For example, the WB ICR report (2003)
remarked ‘We feel that more could have been done in the quality component of the
programme’. A similar remark was made by HakiElimu (2004): ‘The teaching and
learning process needs to be transformed to become participatory, interactive, gendersensitive, child focused in safe and supportive school environments’. In addition,
there are several micro research studies conducted by Masters students at University
of Dar es Salaam that indicate the prevalence of poor teaching methods in public
schools (Shoo, 2004), and that interventions were welcomed by many teachers (Sila,
2003) and could, in principle, be effective in improving teaching methods but they
either lacked materials or support (Minduva,2004).
A School mapping and micro-planning study (MoEC/JICA, 2002) conducted by JICA
in 33 districts aimed at strengthening institutional capacity of targeted local
authorities in educational administration. Although the study did not examine
capacity at school and community levels, it observed that some teachers do not teach
well, that management capacity for primary education at all levels is low. Among the
recommendations was the need to raise community awareness, to improve teachers
and to improve school administration.
Statement of the problem
Tanzania has, ever since gaining independence in 1961, been committed to the
Universal Primary Education (UPE). However, by the late 1990s, the primary
education system was in crisis, with fewer than half of Tanzania’s school age
population attending primary school, whilst many of those who were attending were
receiving poor quality of education. In response to this situation, in recent years,
Tanzania like many other developing countries has committed itself to providing high
quality UPE. Partly with reference to the insights gained from the in-depth research
conducted within a selection of Tanzania primary schools and their communities, and
partly from the wider literature available, there are serious doubts about whether,
despite the rhetoric to be found within recent government documents, the quality of
education being provided has been a genuine policy priority.
There are debates as to whether the increases in key quantitative inputs in the
education process, notably classroom construction and teacher recruitment, have been
sufficient to compensate for the rapid expansion in access to primary education.
Furthermore, in addressing the shortage of teachers in primary schools, MoEVT
revised the two year Grade A teacher education program into a one-year program
followed by one- year school based training. There has been much criticism about the
new program. Concern has been raised by the Tanzania Teachers’ Union and
academics about the quality of the teachers produced under the new program. The
arguments seem to revolve around the adequacy of the professional support that the
school management can provide to these teachers
Although policy statements in PEDP and Teacher Education Master Plan
(TEMP) recognize the centrality of the teacher in the realization of quality
education, little attention has been given to the capacity of school management to
support teacher professional development and improvement of classroom
processes. Therefore, there is a gap in knowledge particularly with regard to the
capacity of school management to support teachers, who are the single most
important factor for the realization of quality education
Literature review
The need for Teacher Professional Development
Teachers are expected to play new roles as part of the systemic reform efforts.
Teacher professional development provides opportunities for teachers to explore new
roles, develop new instructional techniques, refine their practice and broaden
themselves both as educators and as individuals. It is important that educators,
parents, policy makers and the general public should understand the new expectations
of teachers, the new roles and responsibilities, and current definitions of professional
development. Recognition by the entire community of the complex nature of the
changes needed is the first step in building the necessary support to ensure that
teachers can fulfill their crucial role in systemic reform.
However, schools are bureaucratic, hierarchical; teachers are isolated from one
another and have learned to work alone; principals usually have not been asked to
support teamwork; leadership has been linked only to formal roles. PD has relied
upon a deficit model in which an expert imparts knowledge and information to
teachers who are assumed to be deficient and in need of outside experts to teach them
new modes of working with students (Little, 1987).
PD requires systemic reforms, changing both structures of school and the norms and
practices within them. According to Fullan (1991), the change process involves four
levels, namely active initiation and participation, pressure and support, changes in
behavior and beliefs, and ownership. Without understanding the complex nature of
the changes required, and without creating professional development opportunities for
teachers and others, school communities can end up adopting innovation after
innovation without seeing any permanent improvement in the achievement of school
goals. The design, implementation, and evaluation of professional development must
ensure attention to all phases of the change process. Reform efforts that do not focus
on teacher acceptance may fail. Therefore, PD must shift its emphasis from working
on teachers to working with teachers toward improvement of teaching and learning
for all students.
Teacher professional development in the context of Tanzania
In the context of Tanzania refers to the processes, organizational mechanisms and
practices that are aimed at providing support to the teacher for the improvement and
smooth discharge of his/her duties. Organizational mechanisms are the mechanisms
for monitoring continuous development of the teacher. These may take the form of
planned and scheduled short term training programmes and seminars aimed at
meeting various professional needs of the teaching force.
Practices, on the other hand, include the formal mentoring programs developed in situ
e.g. advice that the teacher gets from the head teacher, ward education officer. Other
forms of practice are the meetings held at school level and at cluster level with the
purpose of reviewing and reflecting on practice on a regular basis. Establishment and
effective utilization of Teachers Resource Center is an important element in the
professional development of teachers. Informal practices include team teaching and
the sharing of experiences and educational resources among teachers, which greatly
contributes to self improvement.
The need for teacher professional development links with the quest for school
effectiveness and school improvement. Much research has been done in this area
which can be summarized as follows:
School effectiveness research
Effective School Research (Coleman, 1966; Heineman, 1976) – capacity
viewed as deficit at school level; absence of certain inputs; judged by test
scores; ignores classroom processes.
School Improvement Research (whole school development): de-emphasis
of classroom processes
Improving Educational Quality: in-depth focus on generating knowledge
about the school and classroom experiences of educators and students;
focus on processes and context, limited scope and time-frame
The researches in one way or another were skewed efforts at assessing the capacity of
schools to provide quality education. This research focuses on school management
capacity for teacher professional development.
School Management Capacity
In the context of this study, SMC refers to the potential and the actual use of that
potential, including school-wide organizational and other resources available in the
school’s environment that can be tapped and deployed to support, enhance and
sustain quality of teaching and learning. It is a dynamic interaction of leadership
style, teacher's intellectual and personal resources, professional and peer support, the
curriculum and materials including the organizational (both systemic and
institutional) culture.
Leadership style
With regards to the style of school management, Beare, Caldwell and Millikan (1993)
distinguish between transactional and transformational leadership. Managers who are
‘transactional’ in their approach to school improvement try to ‘sell’ their ideas and
demands to staff, using a combination of pressure and compensation.
Negotiation takes the form of bargaining, in which management and teaching staff
each aim to protect their interests as much as possible. Transformational managers, on
the other hand, try to improve the organisation through improving its working
conditions, most notably the capability of its staff. Negotiation takes the form of
convincing staff of necessary change, sharing responsibilities and empowering staff
through shared decision-making. Depending on the kind of change, managers in
schools may exhibit either styles at one time or another. Beare et al (1993) argue that
the use of the transformational style is a feature of management in more effective
schools, in particular with regard to changes for improvement.
In the transaction model, head teacher might be the main ‘change agent’ in the school,
promoting the increase of capability of the teaching staff through regular in-school
inspections, promoting staff attendance in in-service training, by being accessible to
staff, parents and pupils and willing to listen to and act on suggestions as well as
If school improvement is interpreted locally as using more effective ways of
achieving the required level of performance of the school and improving the working
conditions of staff, and both are viewed in a material and procedural way, then a
transactional approach may be seen as sufficient in achieving the desired changes.
Where school improvement is seen as mechanistic rather than a cultural change, a
transformational style of leadership may be seen as less appropriate, as the ultimate
aim of the improvements is the enhanced efficiency of the existing situation, not a
change of that situation. This seems to be true for both externally imposed as well as
internally generated initiatives to improve the schools.
Personal charisma of the head teacher may be a determinant for achieving success in
school performance, as well as in securing collaboration and commitment among
Organizational Culture
The institution’s vision and the values of the school managers are important factors
for achieving school improvement and so they form part of its capacity for providing
teacher professional support.
Having a vision of the direction and how to improve the school is seen by many as
essential to the process of school improvement (Bush and Coleman, 2000; Fullan,
2001; GoT, 1997; Hopkins, Ainscow and West, 1997; Stoll and Fink, 1996; Bell and
Harrison, 1995;). Leaders in the school have to be able to communicate this vision
convincingly in order to provide a rationale for change and to secure commitment and
collaboration from all staff so as to achieve the intended change.
Leading by example is considered to be among the most effective ways of instilling
educational values in the functioning of the schools’ staff.
Fullan (2001) stresses that mutual trust between school leaders and teaching staff is
the single most important factor within a school’s culture that will allow for
successful changes for improvement to be possible. Without trust there is no effective
communication or collaboration, which hampers the development of commitment to
school improvement
Purpose of the study
The study seeks to investigate the capacity of primary school management for teacher
professional development in Tanzania.
Research questions
1. What is the capacity of school management in providing professional
development support of primary school teachers?
2. What factors affect school management capacity to provide professional support?
3. How is the capacity perceived by the school management and teachers in relation
to professional development?
Study objectives
1. To determine the capacity of school management in provision of teacher
professional support.
2. To identify factors that influence the school management capacity to provide
teacher professional support.
3. To investigate the school management’s perception of its capacity for teacher
professional development
The objectives of the study suggest the use of largely qualitative but also quantitative
research approach. The case study, sometimes described as the collective case study
(Cresswell, 1998, Stake 1995), will be used. The approach involves studying a number of
cases jointly in order to understand a phenomenon, population or general condition. The
present research seeks to understand the school management capacity for providing
professional support to teachers. This methodology is well suited because the intention is
to conduct an in-depth analysis of the complex concept of school management capacity
and teacher professional development.
Using the case study approach the processes, organizational mechanisms and practices
that are aimed at providing support to the teacher for the improvement and smooth
discharge of his/her duties will be reviewed. The review will find out the existence and
identify the forms of organizational mechanisms that have been set up by the school
management for monitoring continuous development of the teacher.
Through a combination of data gathering procedures, practices relating to the formal
mentoring programs developed in situ will be examined e.g. advice that the teacher gets
from the head teacher, and ward education officer. Other forms of practice to be
investigated are the meetings held at school level and at cluster level that aim at
reviewing and reflecting on teaching practice. The study will establish the frequency of
such meetings as well as the beneficiaries. As noted earlier, the establishment and
effective utilization of Teachers Resource Center is an important element in the
professional development of teachers. This study will investigate the extent to which
TRCs are actually being used to support teacher professional development.
Focus group discussion and interviews will be conducted with teachers in order to
understand the teachers’ own perception of professional development and attitude
towards self improvement. The study will determine the prevalence of teacher initiated
practices such as team teaching and the sharing of experiences and educational resources
among teachers.
Classroom observation will also be used. The purpose of the observation is to investigate
teachers’ knowledge, competencies and attitude towards innovation, and towards lifelong
learning and self improvement. This will enable the researchers to have a better
understanding of the real needs of teachers and the kind of support they may require. The
observations will be complemented by interviews. Capacity and willingness of the
teaching staff to teach the children with learning difficulties will be examined. Some of
the children may have (severe) learning and behavioural difficulties for which the staff is
not equipped to deal with appropriately. These difficulties may be aggravated rather than
addressed, if staff teach in a suppressive rather than an understanding way.
Factors affecting teacher professional development
Through interviews the study will examine the vision and seek to understand the values
of the school managers in relation to achieving school improvement and enhancement of
capacity for providing teacher professional support.
Leaders in the school have to be able to communicate this vision convincingly in order to
provide a rationale for change and to secure commitment and collaboration from all staff
so as to achieve the intended change. A study of school leadership will be conducted
particularly as it relates to the provision of teacher professional support. Social networks
analysis and institutional culture study will be conducted within and outside the school
particularly as this relates to attitudes, values and practices of the schools’ managers
towards teacher professional development.
In addition to the analysis of policy documents that are relevant to school management
capacity, the research team will make naturalistic observations of how the system works
and what resources are available and the manner in which these resources are constructed
and organized to provide the school management’s capacity for teacher professional
development. This will produce thick descriptions of the practices that exemplify the
organization of resources and materials at each school so as to realize the school goals.
Sampling procedure
Tanzania (Mainland) has 21 regions divided into 8 educational Zones. Due to its
proximity to the participating Universities in Dar es Salaam and Morogoro (including
external universities and partners), and also because of logistical considerations, only one
zone, namely the Eastern Zone, will be chosen.
The following procedure will be followed:
All districts in the Eastern Zone will be classified into two categories;
A = districts where school mapping and micro-planning study was
B = districts where school mapping and micro-planning study was not
Both the groups will be ranked in respect to completion rate so as to obtain
two districts – one with high completion rate and another with low
completion rate as follows:
A1 = district with high completion rate
A2 = district with low completion rate
B1 = district with high completion rate
B2 = district with low completion rate
All schools in each chosen district will be ranked on the basis of school
inspection reports in order to obtain two schools (good and poor) as
A1.1 = Good school
A1.2 = Poor school
A2.1 =Good school
A2.2 = Poor school
B1.1 = Good school
B1.2 =Poor school
B2.1 = Good school
B2.2. = Poor school
The eight schools will then form the study sample. These will be
compared in respect to school management capacity for teacher
professional development..
The study will focus on head teachers, primary school teachers, ward education
coordinators, district education officers, school inspectors, and members of the school
committee. These categories of respondents are a key to the study because they possess
the information that is pertinent to the objectives of the research.
Data analysis
The qualitative data gathered from interviews and focus group discussions with teachers
will be analyzed and categorized according to patterns and themes. These will be
interpreted so as to provide insights into the school management capacity for teacher
professional development. Quantitative data obtained through the observation and
checklist will be analyzed using frequencies and percentages.
Significance of the study
This study is significant for the following reasons: first, findings will add to the current
body of knowledge and debates about the concept of ‘education quality’, teacher
effectiveness, and school effectiveness. Secondly, findings will make a contribution to
policy that will lead to enhancement of school management capacity for teacher
professional development
Research plan
This research is expected to last for two years. The following sequence of activities will
guide the implementation of the project.
Research team
The research team shall consist of 22 members drawn mainly from the following
Research facilitators 3
Ministry of Education and Vocational Training
University of Dar es Salaam 2
Mzumbe University 1
Tanzania Institute of Education 1
Agency for the Development of Education Management 1
District Education Officer
Primary school head teachers 8
Phase I: Planning phase (April-May 2006) to be conducted through literature review,
school visits, meetings and workshops
Briefing meeting: This will be organized immediately upon return to Tanzania.
The following dignitaries and stakeholders shall be visited for briefing about the
research proposal and soliciting of their goodwill and support.
Minister of Education and Vocational Training
Permanent Secretary MoEVT
Dean, Faculty of Education, UDSM
JICA representative, Country Office, DSM
UNESCO, Country Office, DSM
 Literature review and conceptual framework
 Identification of members to join the research team; literature review.
 Workshop to develop research instruments and procedures with identified team
 Kick-off meeting and Launching of the project among academics and other
stakeholders ((from JICA, CICE, and other AA dialogue participants)
Phase II: Baseline research (June-December 2006) to be conducted through
interviews, documentation of school management capacity, (e.g. characteristics of
teachers), classroom observation, focus group discussions, and interviews
 Piloting and revising instruments
 Fieldwork
Data collection
Development of profiles
Supervision and monitoring of fieldwork
Compilation of data and writing of field work findings
Data analysis workshop
Report writing
Phase III: Data analysis and report writing (January-May 2007)
 Discussion of findings at primary school level and integrating comments into
 Reviewing and writing final report
 Reflective meeting (Uganda, Feb/March 2007)
Phase IV: Dissemination of the study findings (June 2007)( (with JICA, CICE, and
other AA dialogue participants)
Final presentation at AA Dialogue conference (Nov/Dec. 2007)
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