Tuesday, 16 June 2015
An education lecturer at the University of Worcester has been helping primary school teachers in remote Zambian villages to access and use new resources.
Gareth Dart spent time with schools in Zambia to see how TESSA materials (Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa) were being used.
The materials have been developed to reflect the reality of life in schools and teacher education institutions across various African countries and Gareth was approached some years ago to be the link for TESSA in Zambia.
On this particular visit he worked with a Zambian colleague to organise and run a workshop designed to introduce key players from the Ministry of Education, Higher Education institutions, USAID and community school organisations, to the materials, which are free to access, adopt and adapt, and ways in which these might be used in their various contexts.
Gareth said: “As a result of this moves are afoot at the Ministry of Education to make the resource available to all primary school teachers in Zambia to support them as they engage with the newly developed National Curriculum and from USAID to make them available for a large reading development project, ‘Read to Succeed’.”
Having completed this activity Gareth ventured to the south of the country to see how the resource is already being used in some schools that surround the Mosi oa Tuna (Victoria Falls) game reserve.
Gareth found himself camping on the banks of the Maramba River, near to a lion conservation project (Lion ALERT) which has recently started using the TESSA literacy sections to support reading clubs in some of the schools that it supports as part of its community engagement activities.
“These schools are in rural forest areas typically with no electricity and few other resources,” Gareth said. “The TESSA content has helped to build a strong, lively and popular reading club in one of the schools and the project leader and I are now making plans in conjunction with other Zambian partners to introduce the full set of materials to teachers in the other schools linked to the project.”