Supporting induction to the teaching profession for women in Malawi

Wolfenden, F.; Gallastegi, Lore and Chitsulo, J. (2011). Supporting induction to the teaching profession for women in Malawi. In: DETA (Distance Education and Teacher Training in Africa) 2011, 3-5 Aug 2011, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique.



More than half of the countries of Sub Saharan Africa have yet to achieve gender parity in primary and secondary education. The presence of female teachers as role models is recognised as an incentive for girls’ enrolment and learning success but in many rural areas in Malawi there are few qualified teachers working in primary or secondary schools.

In this paper we outline the characteristics and rationale of a new programme designed to address this issue in Malawi; over a period of a year women in rural areas take on the role of ‘learning assistants’ in their local community school whilst studying to achieve the qualifications necessary for application to a formal primary teacher training course. Study towards the school leaving examinations is through supported open learning using original open content materials. We examine the design of the programme and in particular the support provided to participants, personal support as well as embedded support in the self-study resources. Using initial analysis of data from the early stages of the project we explore the backgrounds and motivations of the applicants to the programme and emerging constraints on the achievement of programme intentions.

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