Multigrade Pedagogy and Practice: Accelerating Millennium Development Goals for Sub-saharan Africa

By Charles Kivunja and D. Wood.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Global initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) process, the Education for All (EFA) movement and the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) highlight the growing recognition of the vital role that education plays in improving health, social inclusion and driving economic development in a knowledge based society. Multigrade teaching is a common practice in many primary schools throughout the developing countries for achieving improved access to education for all primary school aged children. This paper reports the findings of a study which involved a situational analysis of the perceptions of stakeholders in Zambian multigrade contexts. The study found that the educational human and physical infrastructure in rural Zambia is in a poor state, which makes it highly unlikely that the MDGs projected for 2015 will be achieved. Capacity building involving the training of teachers and the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to motivate learners, facilitate innovative teaching and learning, and enhance multigrade education are suggested as possible engines to drive the realisation of MDGs, by 2015. It is argued that failure to provide effective multigrade teaching and access to the appropriate use of ICTs will commit millions of children in the developing countries to the vicious cycle of extreme poverty, unemployment, hunger, ignorance and disease.

Keywords: Multigrade Pedagogy, Millennium Development Goals, Access to Education for All, Primary Education in Rural Areas, Per-service Teacher Education, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Multigrade Capacity Building

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 11, pp.17-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 893.473KB).

Dr. Charles Kivunja

Lecturer, School of Education, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia

Dr. Charles Kivunja is a Lecturer in Leadership and Pedagogy in the School of Education at the University of New England, where he won the Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009. He gained his PhD in Leadership and Pedagogy from the University of Western Sydney. He holds three Masters degrees in Economics and Management one from each of the University of Sydney, University of Western Sydney and the University of Nairobi. His first degree was a Bachelor of Economics with Honours and a Diploma in Education. He lectured at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney before taking up his current appointment. His current roles include coordination of the doctoral Unit on Leadership and Culture in the Workplace, the teacher preparation Unit on Pedagogy and the Course for Master of Teaching (Primary). He is also the Project Manager for the development of Leximancer qualitative software. He is Leader of an international, capacity building research partnership, funded by the British Council (DelPHE), involving the University of New England, the University of Zambia and Kyambogo University in Uganda, to boost the use of multigrade pedagogy and strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. D. Wood

Senior Lecturer, School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, University of South Australia, Australia

Dr. Denise Wood is a Senior Lecturer and researcher in the School of Communication, International Studies and Languages at the University of South Australia (UniSA). Dr. Wood’s research focuses on the use of accessible information and communication technologies (ICTs) to increase social participation, as well as the pedagogical benefits of social media in teaching and learning. She has been the project leader of three Australian Learning and Teaching Council funded projects including a recently completed project, which involves the design and development of an open source accessible 3D virtual learning environment. Dr. Wood is also undertaking collaborative research in South Africa with the Gauteng and Limpopo Provincial Governments, which aims to explore the use of accessible ICTs to enhance student learning and increase student retention in rural and semi-rural special schools. Dr. Wood’s work in innovative teaching and learning, and accessibility solutions for learners with special needs has been recognised with several awards including an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, an SA Great Award, several University teaching and equity awards and the inaugural 2010 Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell award for Telecommunications and Disability.


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