April 25, 2014
Physical science session
Although it was the week after Easter, mathematics and science teachers were enthusiastic about enhancing their knowledge and skills. Their zeal was demonstrated by the high attendance of 87% at the 5th Divisional In-service Teacher Education and Training (INSET) of the Strengthening Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education (SMASSE) programme, held at six INSET Centres in North Education Division (NED) and South West Education Division (SWED) from Monday 21st to Friday 25th April, 2014.
Divisional Trainers who participated in the National INSET in February facilitated the Divisional INSET this time. They arranged the training with their ingenuity based on what they had acquired at the national INSET. The Divisional Trainers carefully prepared the course contents so that they could transfer knowledge and skills to their peers as aptly as possible, considering respective local situations. Undoubtedly they succeeded, since the Divisional Trainers are also teachers and know what is going on in the classroom. And what is more, all the participant teachers were discussing issues vehemently so that they could make the INSET their own.
In Malawi, education sector is suffering from lack of qualified teachers especially in sciences; more than half of teachers are under-qualified or hold degrees or diplomas in other subjects such as geography, history or home economics. The shortage is even more alarming in rural areas with more Community Day Secondary Schools, and the proportion of under-qualified teachers is higher in these areas. Moreover, even qualified teachers may need to enhance their subject content knowledge and to improve teaching skills. SMASSE INSETs address these challenges.
INSET is composed of general issue sessions (where the participants discuss pedagogy), subject specific sessions, lesson planning and peer teaching sessions. The main theme of general issue sessions this time was Enhancing Effective Implementation of Mathematics and Science Lessons. In these sessions, the teachers clarified, through lesson planning, how to apply ASEI-PDSI principle (Activity, Student-centredness, Experiment, Improvisation – Plan, Do, See, Improve) to actual lessons.
We may take time to overcome the challenges, for SMASSE INSET is conducted only for one week a year. However, teachers are steadily making progress towards better mathematics and science education in this country.