Ajuda de Desenvolvimento de Povo para Povo runs 11 Teacher Training Colleges all over Mozambique. Since the first one started 17 years ago, they have gained recognition as centres of excellence producing teachers with a high standard of ethics and sound theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The students are recruited mostly from rural areas, to where they return to serve as teachers. The programme aims to produce teachers who both build knowledge and take an active part in the development of their community. To prepare these students as agents of change, they live and study at the college where they share responsibility for managing daily activities and are trained in other skills besides teaching, such as organising and mobilising communities, health and nutrition campaigns, small-scale agriculture, sports and other extra‑curricular activities.
The key to the success of the Teacher Training Colleges is a methodology called Determination of Modern Methods, which ensures a holistic approach to education through its organisation into: Studies (where the student is connected to a digital database with all subjects structured into tasks); Courses (run by experienced instructors); and Experiences (school practice, community work, practical chores, sports, etc). This methodology gives the student the chance to organise his/her studies through a personally developed timetable of tasks to be realised and goals to be achieved where the teachers serve as mentors. This makes each student the driving force of his/her own education, and contributes towards raising self-esteem and an unprecedented sense of being in command of their own educational development.
Impact and effect
The pupil-teacher ratio in Mozambique continues to be very high and the Mozambican Ministry of Education has developed a number of initiatives to ameliorate this. However, they need all possible support to overcome the situation. At the same time, the challenges in the Mozambican primary schools with low completion rates and poor learning achievements, especially in rural areas, call for highly qualified teachers who are also able to take action and act as mobilisers and negotiators.
So far, the Teacher Training Colleges have trained 11,000 pre-service teachers, most of whom continue to work in primary schools – having an impact on thousands of children yearly. Several external evaluations have confirmed the graduates’ positive impact on learning performance and drop-out rates, especially among girls – with case stories of female pupils who returned to school after the teacher’s intervention. They are reported to have a proactive, problem-solving attitude and have been observed to carry out community work after classes with parents on topics such as preventative health, the rights of women and children, and domestic violence.
In 2012, the Ministry of Education introduced a new curriculum for teacher training, which extended the period of training to three years in order to provide the opportunity for a more thorough preparation. Ajuda de Desenvolvimento de Povo para Povo welcomed this and has responded by developing a very innovative programme that prepares teachers for the challenges in education in Mozambique and the world.