Author: Massawe, J.; Seka, B.; Baynit, C.; Mtitu, J.
COBET is the short form for Complementary Basic Education for Tanzania. It is a programme intended to benefit children who have missed the opportunity to enroll in formal schools or have dropped out of school for various reasons.
Purpose / Objective
Although the program had only been running for six months at the time of the study, information was urgently needed to improve the facilitators' modules as well as the learners' modules so that they could be published for wider-scale distribution in line with the planned COBET expansion.
- How the facilitators were using the modules, identify shortcomings in the modules
- The extent of what the learners had achieved
- The extent to which the community had accepted and internalized the programme, such as the COBET Center Committee, the Village Committees in the villages where the COBET Center is situated, parents and the Ward and District administration, in general
- Reasons why former school drop-outs had left school previously and decided to join COBET Centers today
Ten tests were designed; five different subjects for the two age cohorts the Centers serve: 8-13 years old and 14-18 years old. All of the students in the program took one test randomly assigned within their age cohort. Lessons were also observed and a COBET Materials Checklist completed.
Questionnaires were given to all 60 facilitators; there are three facilitators per center. Ten of the centers are located in Kisarawe district in the Maneromango Ward and the other ten centers are located in the Lisekese Ward of Masasi District. The facilitator in charge of each Center was also interviewed.
The COBET Center Committee members were interviewed. Since some of these members had their own children enrolled in the Center, they also represented parents of the students.
Key Findings and Conclusions
Overall, the facilitators rated both the facilitator modules and student modules as arranged well with a good correlation between the syllabus and related module. In most centers visited, charts were available but for the subjects who were observed, no charts were used. In almost all of the lessons observed, teaching aids were not used except for the facilitator modules.
Ten teaching strategy classifications were used to record the teaching strategies of the facilitators. Most of the facilitators used more than one strategy. All facilitators used question and answer while the next highest score was 50% of the facilitators used demonstration and 45% used skill training. Facilitators were observed to perform a number of activities when presenting their lessons. 100% encouraged and motivated learners; offered fair punishment to offenders; prepared a lesson and used it; and maintained satisfactory classroom management. 95% answered learners' questions; gave and marked assignments; and corrected learners' misconceptions. The lowest observation was 5% of teachers summarized group observations, 45% prepared and used teaching aids. About 95% of the facilitators used appropriate language level for their cohort.
The mean score on math test was 72.3% for cohort one, and 47.8% for the second cohort. For Personality Molding, the mean was 34.8% and 40.5%. Kiswahili mean score was 47.4% for cohort one. Cohort two was tested on English skills, with a mean score of 53%. General knowledge mean scores were 26.3% and 42.4%. 19.3% and 34.7% were the mean scores for vocational training.
In general, the places where the Centers hold classes are in fair condition. There is a lack of storage space, desks and chairs in many Centers. Some of the Centers do not keep an inventory of materials.
Parents have shown a lot of support for COBET. They have made arrangements for temporary space for COBET Centers and have built permanent Centers in Temeke, Mpekeso and Namkungwi. Parents were making arrangements in some Centers to provide an afternoon meal. They allow children to bring chairs from home and are arranging for permanent furniture.
COBET Centers are helped by the community. District councils supply COBET centers with construction materials e.g. corrugated iron sheets, cement and transport.
Facilitators suggested that the learners always asked for sports and game materials. Additionally, learners in COBET do not dress in uniform and are not required to wash their clothes, take a bath or keep clean. Some facilitators suggested that it would be a good idea if learners were given uniforms.
Many parents suggested that the COBET curriculum be expanded to include work skills for future self-employment.
A different strategy should be adopted to deal with the learners who cannot read or write. They may make insignificant progress when they are mixed in the same class with those who can read and write.
Supply COBET centers with supplementary reading materials. Since COBET programme has its own modules, the books used in mainstream primary schools could be used as supplementary materials for COBET.
COBET facilitators must be encouraged through seminars and trainings to use interactive and participatory teaching strategies. The form for leavers who have had no previous teacher training should be considered for training in Teachers' Colleges. The facilitators also need help in Math and English.
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Education - Non Formal
Tanzania Institute of Education, Ministry of Education and Culture