Experienced teachers supporting women to access teacher education in Malawi

Gallastegi, Lore; Givah, Hendrina Mildred and Pritchard, Sally (2013). Experienced teachers supporting women to access teacher education in Malawi. In: ICET 56th World Assembly: The Changing Global Perspective on the Role of Teacher and Teacher Education, 10-12 Jul 2012, Cape Coast. Ghana.


The presence of women teachers in primary schools in Sub Saharan Africa is low and more pronounced in rural areas. Working with colleagues from the Forum for African Women Educationalists in Malawi (FAWEMA), the Open University in the UK (OU) has developed an access to teaching scholarship programme for women from rural areas of Malawi which combines academic distance study with practical work experience. The Scholarship offers women supported study towards the national exam, the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE), and a period of school experience as ‘learning assistants’ in primary schools in their local community. The success of the programme depends in part on the expertise and experience of practising primary and secondary teachers from Malawi who support the Scholars to develop their confidence and to study for MSCE exams.

This paper examines how the conceptual design of the project was developed, what has needed to be addressed or adapted to suit the reality and environment encountered in the rural areas of Malawi where it is being delivered, and the progress of the Scholars from the first cohort. It focuses on the role and support provided to Scholars by the experienced primary teachers who act as mentors, as well as secondary teachers (tutors) who support the women in their study towards resitting the MSCE using open educational resources provided by the OU. The paper concludes by considering the role experienced teachers can play in mentoring and supporting future and newly qualified teachers in developing a sustainable teacher education provision for the 21st century.

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