West Chaula, Capital Kavuta and Frida Mwale are primary school head teachers in Mzimba with the noble job of nurturing young minds as they start their limitless education journeys.
For the three to lead their peers in their respective teachers, they need all the support they can get especially in resources and well drilled teachers.
They all sing the same tune in terms of lack of capacity for teachers to effectively implement the National Reading Program as well as shortage of books in most schools across the country.
But with support form the Malawi Early Literacy Team, the three are among 40 resource teachers being trained how they can use simple words kits and vocabulary chats in effectively teaching pupils how to read.
This, West Kavuta who is Head Teacher at Mdeka Junior Primary School, says is a timely intervention by MELT.
“This training is very important as it supplements the National Reading Program being implemented by the Ministry of Education in assisting teachers to equip learners with the necessary reading skills,” he said.
In unison with Kavuta, Frida Mwale says there has been indeed gaps in some teachers as well as resources.
“Some teachers are not fully using the NRP because they might lack capacity. Here we have been given resources to use when teaching. This will help learners to learn English easily by using words and pictures,” said Mwale.
MELT Representative from the United States of America who is amongst the visiting team of well wishers and donors as well as tutors said this approach of training resource teachers was adopted as it has proved to be very useful as teachers are engaged in all stages from planning to deciding the type of training needed.
“Our strategy is to talk to the teachers and see what they want and we come up with methods to supply or assist them. They know the needs of their students and we think this is the best strategy,” said Burns.
He also added that at the moment only 20 schools are under this projects because of the current level the MELT is and can effectively produce desirable positive impact.
“We have 20 schools we work with, and with how we are doing things we can effectively give them supplies that they need without stretching ourselves by trying to grow too fast,” he added.
Meanwhile, Director for MELT in Malawi Sam Chirwa says the project which is targetting teachers from Mzimba, Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay was initiated after seeing the gaps that have been reported in terms of teachers not having the necessary resources and capacity in their day to day duties of teaching learners.
“The challenges we have seen mostly is that of teachers in the targeted schools, are lack of the needed capacity to teach learners how to read and that is why we started this MELT project. For this to be fully achieved we also need collaborated efforts so that more schools benefit,” Chirwa said.
Malawi Early Literacy Team, MELT began in 2015 and is comprised of education and business professionals with a passion for young children and with the belief that doors can be opened for children through literacy.