Make your own free website on
Learning ,education and development.


Introduction | Background | Multigrade teaching, gender and the community. | Learning ,education and development. | Conclusion | Bibliography


Development is not the work of one man but of a nation, a tribe, a group, with man as the main actor,like the teacher is the main actor in his multigrade classroom. I can tell my whole life that my country has been much more developed than the developing countries where I worked in but development is relative to the region, to the people to the economic and social situation. Education is development and development is education. Any individual wants to be educated because it is the key to development.Multigrade teaching is part of this kind of development I learned a lot from teachers in Congo and Zambia, they learned me how to teach without essential teaching aids. You can learn a lot of theories on development and education and they have all their value but the most valuable theory is the one where individuls share experiene, knowledge, understanding, religion, technics... to move to a developed region, country,world.In a multigrade school you learn children to work and live for each other.A grade 3 pupil will learn from a grade 6 girl and vice versa.In a multigrade way of teaching you do not notice the difference between grades.That makes a school so special and exceptional.It is a school for and by the children where every child has the chance to evolve at his/her own pace.

As the experience in development bulked over the years my concept of development has changed and I hope in a positive way. In the eighties I was following the mind of a lot of Europeans that life was only good in the Northern regions. I had no idea how life could be in a developing country. Even on television they did not show those terrible pictures of hungry children and adults.My concept of development was changed completely once I started working as a development worker in Congo Kinshasa.In a positive way because my concept was rather negative because I was following the mind of about 90 percent of the Europeans. The idea of development was to help those poorblacks without giving up own privileges. Now that I was working in a bush village in the middle of the equator wood ,I saw that the population was very positive about the mputu (overseas Northern countries).They were ready to learn a lot about new teaching strategies or new agriculture strategies...They were really hungry to learn, so one my concept about development was changing...Now twenty years later the concept on how developing countries think about development changed obvious. Developing countries like Zambia are no those countries who are changing with the donors wind. They know what they want and which help they want. They dont see development aid as an isolated issue but as a part of the countrys policy in a sector wide approach.Give the responsibility of a project to whom it belongs.In a multigrade school every pupil and every teacher has his/her task.The all learn from each other, there is a mutual understanding of who is in charge and who has to obey.To feel good and to be accepted in such a society or such a school you need a good training as well as a good job.The more you are accepted in your environment the more you feel good. It is the same in school,when you have a lot of friends and you play a lot you will feel good as a child. So for me development is that you grow up in a safeand social environment.That you will receive a good schooling and training and that you are supported by your parents, your teacher, the school, the society, the government. When you have a salary you can buy things you like and it will make you feel good.When you have to struggle everyday to find a little money to feed your children, you will feel miserable and you will not develop

neither the one you are educating.Why is there so much AIDS under teachers in Zambia and other African countries. Because the teacher is not feeling good, he feels abandoned by the government in terms of training,salary ...

Teachers have to feed also their children so they try to look for the money where they can find it, the parents, the children, the girls.At one hand they feel poor because they have a bad salary and they have no perspective at the other hand they feel superior so they can ask girls to sleep with them to have good points at school.If there salaries were better, if they were better trained and if the conditions of living were better they will feel better and the will develop more and think about the consequences.In this case I am not only talking about male teachers but also female teachers to have a bigger salary they sleep with anybody to get more money and as they are the most vulnerable in the AIDS pandemic they die first.When a country is economically well developed the changes are bigger that the people will be developed also. To develop a population you need goofd education for all and I am sure Multigrade Teaching can deliver this.When wealth is very well shared there will be a good development of the nation. In my country Belgium we dont have raw materials but we are very well developed technically.Thats why there is a lot of wealth, government is providing a lot of services and there is a lot of work. This image was copied in the colonial time,in Congo. Congo was full of schools, hospitals, good roads and good services.Indigenous persons lived together with aid workers. But there was a big difference between them. Those working inside the country were very social and helped the local people in a social and economic way without exploiting them.Those working in town were less social and more radical.In every indigenous they saw an enemy, a slave to take profit of. How can you develop a nation or a population if you dont give the right to develop, to go to school, to say what they think?

The economic situation of a country is decisive for the development of the country. When you have a good economy , you have welfare and people enjoy to live in that country.There will be less migration. But when the countries around you are poor and you are a strong economic power, those poorer countries will infect and affect the strong economic power. Look at the land issues in Zimbabwe, affecting the land issue in South Africa but also the economie of South Africa.

When welfare increases, development will increase also. Why third world countries have poor people because they dont have money. A teacher in Zambia is getting about 50 dollars per month but he has to pay four times more to nourish his family.How can you progress if you spend more then you get? Parents in remote areas can spend money on churches so why do they not spend more on education like building Multigrade Schools in their villages.We have done it in Zambia.Some regions are convinced that Multigrade education is helping the children but also the community.Some kids are learning to read their parents.These parents will contribute more to the education project and so development is a fact.

Modernization in education is necessary also.Teachers in developing countries believe in tradition, that is why they dont progress enough, why they do not modernise. I am not condemning the traditional way of life, but I cannot agree that a teacher cannot adapt him selves to the modern development in teaching strategies . When he or she will stay in that traditional cocoon they delay the development of children. Since a Zambian teacher is is not ready to teach coming out of college, is in-service training is necessary. But while I was doing in-service I saw that a lot of teachers were not adapting their teaching skills because they were not confident enough.The Multigrade way of teaching can help these teachers to develop their personal skills. Miltigrade schools are clustered so the teachers meet on a regular base.Teachers inform each other about their progress in the school.There will be an exchange of ideas, lesson plans and administrative information.After the meetings every head teacher is informing the other teacher(s) and the community.This is a modern way of working in

a traditional African environment.That is why also that capacity building and sustainable development are very important. We must give as much as possible trainers of teachers from developing countries the chance to come and have a look in developed countries how teachers are trained and how they teach in their classrooms. I am not saying that teachers from developing countries need the material we have in Europe but they can learn a lot on how to manage a classroom, how to work with heterogeneous groups,and how to sustain such a method. An on going inservice is an ongoing development, is an ongoing improving of your abilities and that means progress. Progress means development because when your teaching is better and better the children will take more and more profit and education standards will raise.This can have an effect on the development of the country and it will enforce the sustainability of the development of the country an the community.

In most of the developing countries when people are exposed to western attitudes they only want to imitate the way of living, spending money.I am not trying to put those people in a negative daylight because it is a normal reaction an this would be the same with poor people living her in Belgium. When you are poor and you cannot buy what you want you can only look in the window of the shops. But the moment they have a little money they buy the most luxury things but dont think about education, health...A reason more to develop good Multigrade schools in remote areas.Decentralize the education system so the local community has to take their lifes in their own hands.Developing the remote places with local products and good multigrade schools will keep the people in that area.The barrier between the parents and the school will dissapear and will make place for a mutual collaboration for example the good functioning of parent teachers associations and multigrade schools in Zambia.The contribution by nature and finance has gone up thanks to the good relationship between those Multigrade schools and the parents.

How can we change this attitude so people spend more attention to elementary goods then to luxury goods?The conclusion is that education is the most important indicator of modern values. I have the same believe that is why education in Africa must be a top priority, but does their leaders believe in this philosophy? Do they prefer underdeveloped people so they can do what they want and enrich more the rich?I agree that the more you develop the more you improve.That is why we go to school form nursery to university because we improve all the time.But we have to give the right to every child in every country to develop. A child in Zambia or Congo cannot develop like a child in Belgium.Thats why we have to help these countries more and more so every child can develop like every other child in the world. When you dont have a future before you development will mean nothing for you.You dont have a positive perspective, you will not improve, you cannot plan.I think that your personal development is part of the national development. If the country is doing bad, the population will suffer. Of course we can help each other in bad times but then you need a strong leader with good ideas, also ideas for the poor. Spreading ideas will go through education which is the base of every development. Have a look at what Nyerere did in Tanzania. One of the poorest countries in the world, but peace and progress at their own pace.The partnership between parents and the multigrade school promotes the economic development of the rural communities that implicates a local management ,because adapted solutions to local problems can be better solved by the local people themselves.Efficiency is part of the motivation.A certain decentralisation of decisional powers allows the community to organize them and to develop the local human resources.

Education is the key of development.Every child has the right to basic primary education and in 2015 it has to be a fact? The world will never reach this goal if we dont share our experiences, our wealth, our schools. Last week I was teaching for one week in a sixth grade in a primary school. Since two years the school is receiving children from countries in Eastern Europe and South America. They could not read and write. After two years the children from the worldclass are sharing their experiences with the local children. Without forcing the children the goal is reached, education for all.

Of course you cannot get all the children to Europe but we can help more in developing countries. Those countries have enough motivated people who are ready to progress, to change and to develop. A Multigrade class is a multicultural class where children learn to understand each other neither which age they have.Congolese children escaping the war in their country came to multigrade schools in very remote border villages in Zambia thanks to the collaboration between the PTA, the church, the local authorities and the Multigrade school.Education , basic primary education (formal or not) is one of the most important factors that influences the way individuals come to understand concepts like development. Thanks to your education you can read, write and calculate. It will open doors for you to develop more your personal skills. You will find a job , win money and settle somewhere you like it.People without education are always depending on others. A lot of Zambian girls and woman cannot read, so they depend ont he husband to get information. It is blocking the development of those hard working woman.They will get the jobs no one likes.They will never get out there misery. What you read, what you listen to, and the people you talk with, have a huge effect on the person you are and the thoughts you have.In Multigrade schools teachers are using their personal development to develop other people. Dont keep your development secrets for yourself but share them with everybody who is interested. That is whay I am interested in this course. For me it is the why of sharing my ideas with others. I will learn from you and I hope you will learn from me.

It is by decentralization that not only the regional disparities are not ignored any more, but that they can really fall under a national educational policy.On the Multigrade school level, a standard organization is sometimes difficult to conceive on a national or regional level as from the moment when, in the same country and a fortiori from one country to another, the rural areas are strongly distinguished the ones from the others, as well by the geographical and economic constraints as by their traditions and their cultures. It is on the ground that the reflexions are organized as well as possible to determine the objectives to reach, the assigned missions, to define a program meeting waitings and the needs. For the small Multigrade schools gathered in network in particular, it is mainly starting from a decentralization on the administrative level and with local resources that they can obtain the means and capacities to develop and to improve their operating mode.

It would consequently be necessary to imply at the local level in these Multigrade projects ;the administrators of education, the representatives of the community and the other social actors, and that those are legally elected to do it within the framework of the national regulation on teaching.

When you train more female Multigrade teachers over the next ten years the number of girls in school will remarkably increase.This change will contribute to the value of womens/girls education.It will change the discrimination against woman in the labour market. The expected economic rate of return from educating girls will be higher. Education of girls brings well-known social benefits such as reduced infant mortality and lower birth-rate. The decision to enrol and retain a child in school is still essentially a parental decision in countries where primary education is not yet compulsory. In other words, the respective social benefits of schooling for girls vs. boys are not taken into account by parents when making decisions about the education of sons and daughters, whereas private returns are.

Multigrade teaching can be the way to highlight the value of women's education. The message should be designed to shift conservative parental attitudes towards girls' schooling, on the grounds that many of the dividends of girls' education are non-economic benefits that accrue to the educated girl as well as to society at large, such as lower infant mortality rates.In multigrade community schools Children learn better in the medium or their mother tongue.Because of this way of teaching there will be less drop out (of girls)

The literacy rate will raise,parents will see more the need of schooling and so more girls will be send to school.Policy makers will see the need to start a Kgarten with multilingual education.The learning in the local language in those Multigrade communityschools will facilitate and strengthen the local culture.If a government can reduce drop out in schools and get more girls in schools with that new language policy, the road to reach the EFA goals will be easier.The use of the mother tongue language in the first grade will reduce also the repetition rate for slow learners.The cost of new textbooks will be compensate by the increased enrolment in schools. The cost of making new texbooks will be reduced.

The very act of acquiring knowledge and linguistic competence has a positive disproportional impact on the economic potential of an individual. Furthermore it contributes to the likelihood that the individual can make a greater contribution to his/her society. This notion of communicative competence is at the heart of a fascinating and powerful argument made by the political and social theorist Jurgen Habermas about the critical foundations of enhanced democracy through greater and more intelligent participation by the ordinary citizen. According to Habermas such a capacity for communicative competence is an essential ingredient in a vibrant democracy for it enables citizens to share a common conception of their life world, i.e. their shared experience of community and cultural life. Habermas has in mind a very particular form of communicative competence that goes well beyond what is meant by our official language policy.Education in general is best understood in economic terms as investment in human capital. The bundle of attributes associated with a skilled or well educated worker must clearly include language skills. As such, one would expect that knowledge of both of the official languages of the country is a clear asset with employers. Perhaps the most insightful comment of one employer was that having bilingual skills in a rapidly changing world made the employee much more flexible and more valuable to the company in their capacity to adapt.

During my stay in the SPRINT project at the Teacher Education Departement I experienced a lot of injustice in education.One of my main tasks was to visit schools in urban and remote places. When you went to a remote place (this could be only 15 km out of Lusaka) a school could be described as; It was a simple brick building, containing four, five classrooms with open holes in the walls for air, and in the ceiling a glass fibre plate to allow some day-light to penetrate into the room. In each classroom approximately 60-80 children were gathered, sitting three and three behind each desk(if desks were available).The most lucky ones were allowed to stay in school for four years, just enough to learn how to read and write.But I will never forget the joy and pride of the parents in that school, when they showed us their school which they had built with their own hands, while expressing the hope that their children would once get out of the situation they had themselves been in.

In Zambia, more teachers died regularly from AIDS that year than they were able to train new ones.An insufficient training of teachers is the reason. National education policies are implemented very fast in the bigc cities, but it takes time before they reach the most remote areas where a lot of the teachers die.A high percentage of the pupils left school without sufficient skills in reading and writing In orphanages I met children who had lost both their parents and children who had received the HIV-virus after having been abused and raped by soldiers. The children and their aunts had no money to send the children,especially girls, to school.A reason more to develop those very local Multigrade schools close to the community where you can tackle faster the daily problems of a very remote society.Zambian GNP per capita is $390, but each Zambian owes $720 to foreign creditors. Each year the Zambian government spends $17 per person on health and $30 per person on debt service to western financial institutions. Contrast that with the nations of the G7 (the US, the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan) where governments spend $2,300 per person on health care. Zambia's weak health service has been unable to cope with the rapid spread of AIDS. The treatment of AIDS is very costly. The average cost of treatment in the North amounts to about 10,000 per person each year. In Zambia 20% of the population is now HIV positive, and it is estimated that around 9% of

Zambian children under 15 have lost a mother or both parents to AIDS. Yet the Zambian government has only $17 per person to spend on health. Life expectancy has now dropped to 43 years, and is expected to decline still further as AIDS continues to take its toll. Zambia is not alone. ( from jubilee 2000).Many rural Zambians who have not been to school do not believe in the existence of AIDS. When somebody dies of AIDS, it is called malaria or some other disease.It is still a taboo, a subject that has been disastrously shrouded in ignorance. As a direct result, AIDS is rampant throughout Zambia. It is clear that the subject needs to be discussed openly. The Multigrade Community School is one of the only places where kids can and do meet to learn about AIDS and the simple means of its prevention.Together with the local hospital and the PTA association awareness campaigns were organized to explain the dangers of AIDS to the kids in the Multigrade school.Young and old in the same classroom were reflecting on the dangers.The children went home and told the parents what they heard in the classroom...

On the base of these results the Zambian government organized training for its officials which they could use in their day-to-day work. That extended not only to professionals in government, but also to the support staff.

Increase vulnerable children attending school,

Increase number of children reached through non-conventional schools,

Bursary scheme, PAGE and INSPRO scaled to more districts to increase the number of children accessing education,

Increased funding to government and community schools,

Increased number of women in management positions.

Girls were encouraged to take up technical subjects such as science and mathematics.To increase the level of girls education, the cut-off points for girls to qualify for secondary education had been lowered and a quota of 20 per cent for girls has been introduced in science colleges. Girls and boys have the same curricula, the same examinations and the same teachers. Ninety per cent of the schools were coeducational.The multigrade schools are preparing in the most effective way the girls and boys to this way of teaching at secondary level.

The international commitment to basic education is one of the reasons why the tesxt is written. All children, young people and adults have the human right to benefit from an education that will meet their basic learning needs in the best and fullest sense of the term, an education that includes learning to know, to do, to live together and to be. It is an education geared to tapping each individual's talents and potential, and developing learners' personalities, so that they can improve their lives and transform their societies.

In the developing countries,Multigrade teaching is regarded as an effective means to provide services of teaching of quality in the rural zones, it play sa paramount part in the improvement of the access to primary education and in the maintenance of the educational services vis-a-vis to the budgetary constraints and the means limited as personnel.In the rural schools, teaching takes support on the experiment of the children and the analysis of their immediate environment and integrates a dimension of cultural identity naturally and takes part in the valorization of the medium. If the environment becomes resource for the school, often the school in its turn, thanks to the participation in its operation of the parents and the authorities of the local life, can revivify the

cultural and social life of the community and become an engine of its development.If it seems established that the support granted by the administrators at the central level is essential with the correct operation of the multigrade school, it is by a policy of decentralized management that this one could be optimized. A rigorous planning can allow in particular that, as of the starting of the device, the formation is ensured, the material arrives at the establishments, the principals, the teachers and the agents forming part of the environment take part in operation.

It is for the same reasons that these schools exist in the developing countries. Regarded as effective means to provide educational services in the rural zones, they play a paramount part in the improvement of the access to education and in the maintenance of the educational services vis-a-vis to the budgetary constraints and the means limited as personnel.

On the one hand, the techniques of instruction of the multigrade classes are a teaching aid which supports a training personalized and autonomous, which constitutes an asset in the access to and the success in secondary education. In addition, the mixed classes offer to the pupils better chances of socialization.

The multigrade option offers a great potentiality of economies, in comparison with the recurring cost and capital costs. The capital costs are lower mainly because the multigrade school uses less classes (but larger) than the option monograde.