Teachers and paraprofessionals, and the importance of quality instruction to pre-primary education in Tanzania

Policymakers and implementers have increasingly recognized the critical role that quality early childhood education (ECE) plays in laying the foundation for improved school readiness and learning outcomes. In Tanzania, despite the potential of pre-primary education, major challenges impede quality implementation of ECE. Key challenges include (1) a teaching shortage resulting in an unfavorable teacher-to-pupil ratio (2) the fact that much of the teaching force is untrained or underqualified in ECE, and 3) a reliance on outdated instructional practices and curriculum that is developmentally inappropriate for young learners, lacking active and experiential learning activities and foundational content. 

In response, the collaborative identified the critical importance of improving instructional skills and practices among Tanzania’s teachers. The FkW teacher training course was developed by Aga Khan University with input from the Steering Committee on training materials and content. The intervention package was developed iteratively, piloted in 2014 and 2015, and modified as teachers were observed and lessons were learned. The course was designed to:

  1. Improve participants’ knowledge of early childhood education concepts
  2. Develop pre-primary teaching abilities
  3. Help participants develop reflective teaching techniques
  4. Empower teachers and paraprofessionals with strategies to manage context-specific issues, and provide a caring learning environment to all children

In addition, the training emphasized the importance of using play to support learning; engaging children in teaching and learning; and creating a stimulating environment for the development of social, emotional, and behavioral competencies for preprimary children.

FkW Package for Pre-primary teachers: In-service training, observation, mentoring, and support
 The course was designed to: 

  1. Improve participants’ knowledge of early childhood education concepts
  2. Develop pre-primary instructional practices and teaching techniques and abilities
  3. Empower teachers and paraprofessionals to provide a stimulating and caring learning environment for social, emotional, and behavioral development. 
  4. Empower teachers and paraprofessionals to engage children and use play to support learning
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As we complete analyses, we will share data, key lessons, and recommendations inform teachers, schools, policymakers, and other stakeholders.