A study of availability and use of the learning and teaching resources in primary teachers colleges in Kenya
Kimui, Violet Wangui
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Introduction Economists say that, people and society end up choosing, with or without the use of money, to employ scarce resources that could have alternative uses. They decide to produce various commodities, distribute them for consumption at any given time among persons and groups in society. This theory fits well, and can be applied with educational resources in our institutions. Maximum benefits can be yielded from the existing facilities and resources without severe ser-backs economically and socially. Statement of the Problem The high cost of Education, the global economic recession, the demand for relevant educational programs, the high student enrolment at all levels of schooling are among the many problems facing our education system in Kenya today. The problems warrant a different approach in handling the situation. One of the national goals of education in Kenya is to eliminate illiteracy with the shortest period possible. The other one concerns the training of manpower in all sectors of the economy. With all the teacher-training facilities we have, 55 per cent of the teachers in primary schools today are untrained. The Economic Survey (1986) shows that, the training facilities available produces 12,720 teacher trainees per year, about one additional trained teacher per year among 12936 existing primary schools. This clearly indicates that, the existing method of training teachers is inadequate. Several approaches have been suggested by this study. Training of the teachers through the use of the available technology, co-operative arrangements among institutions, more sharing of resources and services are among approaches suggested. The Scope and Limitations The study is concerned with the resource centers in all the seventeen primary teachers colleges. Those colleges which were promoted to diploma colleges have not been included. Those colleges that were not in operation at the beginning of 1985 are not included in this study. All the aspects related to resources and resource centers have been investigated. A guideline to be followed has been suggested through statements of objectives. Objectives of the study - To acquire data concerning the physical facilities available in primary teacher training colleges in Kenya. - To acquire data of availability of books, periodicals, audio/visual materials and related equipment. - To identify the categories, qualifications of the personnel working at the resources centers. - To study the effectiveness of those resources to the tutors, students and other members of staff. - To study the contribution of the resources to the process of teaching and learning. - To study other similar establishments giving similar services. - To propose the methods and approaches of applying the appropriate resources programmes in teacher training colleges. Methodology and Instruments The investigation has been done through the use of evaluative survey. This has been carried out in all the seventeen teacher-training colleges. The questionnaire was designed as a main instrument. The interview schedule as well as continuous observation were also used. The analysis of data had been carried out and conclusions reached. This will be listed in the next section of this document. Conclusions - All the primary teachers colleges have a newly established resource center. - A guiding policy towards development of resource centers is lacking. - The positions of those in charge of the resource centers have not been professionally identified and clarified. - Job descriptions of personnel working in these centers have not been stated. - The equipment and materials available in resource centers are under-utilized. - Lack of the badly needed print materials is crucial. - Over crowding in resource centers discourage the use of the available resources. - Lack of confidence in the use of resources among the tutors also discourage the use of the available materials and equipment. - Inservice training should be organized on regular basis to give the confidence. - Development of the resource centers in primary teachers' colleges did not originate from the real needs of the tutors. - A budget to develop and maintain the collection seem to be lacking. Suggestions - There is a need for statement of policy on personnel involved in the area of learning resources in primary teachers' colleges. - Identification and clarification of titles and job description of the duties of resource personnel are needed. - A means of communication between the Ministry of Education and the primary teachers' colleges need to be smoothened. - There is a need to establish a body to be involved in the development of learning resources and other educational innovations at all levels. The department of Educational Communications and Technology, with the help by the Ministry of Education has the personnel and the technology to implement this proposal. - A continuous exchange of ideas on learning and teaching resources needs to be established formally and informally. The teacher training institutions should carry this responsibility during the training periods and after. - The introduction and development of any educational innovation should fit smoothly into the existing infrastructure, and not as a separate entity. - As a matter of policy, a need for a reasonable budget, separate from other general expenses in the institutions, should be provided if we need to develop independent minds. - A staffing policy statement and a system to attract and retain the personnel working in resources centers in primary teachers' colleges is needed. - A uniform standard of qualifications of resources personnels in primary teachers' colleges should be established. - There is need to establish and encourage sharing of resources and service in primary teachers' colleges. - More emphasis needs to be put on production techniques and the use of the appropriate resources. - More research in the area of educational resources in relation to social and cultural backgrounds of the learners is needed. The data collected and analysed in the survey, the tools used for the purpose have been presented. The conclusion reached seem to suggest that, in general terms, application of the appropriate technology in the process of teaching and learning has been used with tremendous success in some countries. Where the resources are scarce, the technology has been used to extend learning to those who cannot attend classes for various reasons. It has also been used to train the tutors already on the job while raising their morale. It is the assumption of this research that, the approach can be applied in Kenya.