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High teacher-pupil ratio choking rural schools

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Primary schools in Shire Highlands Division continue to grapple with high teacher-to-pupil ratios.

Senior Inspector and Adviser in the division Clayton Tambala made the observation on Thursday during a send-off ceremony of 370 student-teachers under the Initial Primary Teacher Education at Chiradzulo Teachers Training College as they are going for their teaching practice.

Tambala said rural schools in the division are failing to attract enough teachers due to the absence of pull factors such as electricity, portable water and good houses.

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He, however, expressed hope that the student-teachers would help alleviate the problem in the short as well as long term when they graduate.

“We are grappling with high student-to-teacher ratios.

We are trying to bring the ratio down to 1: 60 but there is still a long way to go. These teachers will help reduce the problem because we have an agreement that they will teach in their areas for at least five years before they can leave,” he said.

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One of the students, Smart Fraser Selemani, hailed the college for equipping them with skills to become effective teachers.

He said modern teaching practices require that learners should be at the centre of the learning process and hopes that they will deliver.

Chiradzulo Teachers Training College acting Principal, Edith Supanala, said the school has put in place mechanisms to produce high-quality teachers.

“We have taught them the basics and we also encourage them to read more. This is not a graduation; which means we will continue to monitor and supervise them wherever they will be doing their teaching practices,” she said.

The school, which was opened in 2015, mostly supplies teachers to Phalombe, Chiradzulo, Mulanje and Thyolo districts.

During the function, outstanding students went away with various awards.

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