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Multigrade teaching, gender and the community in Zambia


Multigrade teaching, gender and the community
Learning ,education and development.


Zambia is situated in the middle of southern Africa and is home to 10.7 million people. The capital city is Lusaka, the currency is the Zambian Kwacha and the official languages are Bemba, English and Nyanja. The majority of the country is an upland plateau and the climate is tropical. Major attractions include the world-famous Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River. Economic strengths include the copper industry, as well as coal, colbalt and a large variety of crops. Multigrade Teaching is important in the political dimension in providing people with the opportunity of participating more usefully in the communities and countries .It may be a liberating force in terms of enabling communities and individuals to escape from poverty and illiteracy, it may be an empowering force in enabling them to identify their needs and goals, and in making them aware of how to achieve their objectives.

Basic Education covers seven years of primary school and two years of secondary school.Senior secondary school consists of three years.There are public examinations at the end of each level -primary - junior secondary - senior secondary - determining access to the next. The two major gaps in the primary education system are the insufficient number of classrooms to ensure that all children are able to enrol in Grade One, which is an acute problem in urban and peri-urban areas, and the insufficient number of primary schools which have classes beyond Grade Five, particularly in the rural areas.Eighty-eight percent of all children of enrolment age in Zambia enrol in primary school and of those, 27 percent go on to enrol in secondary school. Boys have a higher enrolment ratio than girls, 101 compared to 92 at primary and 20 to 14 at secondary. At the university level in Zambia, there is only one female student for every four male students.Possible reasons for the high drop out rates of girls include the need to do domestic chores and withdrawal from school for marriage. Pregnancy leads to expulsion and it is estimated that this is the reason for dropout of about two percent in secondary school .In lower income groups, the preference for financing boys education is probably an important factor.

The Zambian government continues to reaffirm its commitment to the Educating Our Future policy of 1996, which strives to achieve universal education on all levels by 2015. The current implementation focus is on the provision of basic education and the Ministry of Education has been working to expand education access for all children through far-reaching education reform.A key program promoting this objective is the Basic Education Sub-sector Investment Program (BESSIP) that began in 1999. Among the nine components of the BESSIPs is the Equity and Gender Sub-program supports educational access and monitoring of the educational performance of vulnerable children. Other programs include the Program for the Advancement of Girls Education (PAGE) and Multigrade Teaching, the main theme of my essay.

Multigrade teaching is a term used to describe the teaching in primary education of children from a number of grades usually in one class. Multigrade teaching involves the teaching of children from two or more grade levels in one classroom.Such contexts requires the employment of particular teaching methodologies and classroom administration.

MTMTG teaching wants to create access to education for all children by reducing drop-out and repeater rates and increase the participation rate and literacy rates. The way to achieve this is by bringing schools closer to communities, modernize teaching methods and so overcome a shortage of teachers.