An invesitigation into teacher preparedness to teach initial literacy in Zambia indigenous languages under the new breakthrough to literacy programme: the case of Solwezi college of education and selected basic schools in the north-western province of Zambia

Thumbnail Image
Kamangala, Benson
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This study mainly focused on how pre-service teachers were prepared in College of Education to handle initial literacy using Zambian Local Languages (through the NBTL course). The New Breakthrough to Literacy course (NBTL) is a British based literacy scheme (BTL) developed in the early 1960s and launched in 1970 in order to assist school children with special education needs to attain early reading and writing skills. This course later spread to several parts of the world and Africa was no exception. Notably, in South Africa it was adopted by a nongovernmental project called Molteno Project and later spread to Botswana and Namibia with a lot of success.In Zambia, NBTL had been piloted and implemented in the lower basic schools at full scale through the Primary Reading Programme (PRP) in order to improve low literacy levels among pupils in their early years of school.The study was mainly a case study at Solwezi College of Education and a survey in sampled selected basic schools in Solwezi District. The population of the study comprised of all pre-service teachers at the college and teachers in basic schools. The main research tools used in the study were questionnaires, interview schedules and a check list for lesson observation. A qualitative approach was used in order to probe several issues and to get deep insights of what was taught and how trainee teachers were prepared to teach initial literacy in a local language to grade one pupils. The qualitative data was analyzed through the identification of common themes from the respondents’ descriptions and presentations of their experiences. Later, conclusions were reached and analyzed with reference to research questions on which the study was based. Quantitative data was analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) to generate descriptive statistical information in form of frequencies and percentages.The findings indicated that respondents expressed varying opinions regarding the teaching of initial literacy in a local language. Some respondents strongly felt that they were not well prepared through pre-service training in the college and in-service training in basic schools. However, the majority of pre-service trainee teachers indicated that they had acquired useful techniques, whilst most practicing teachers strongly felt that the school based in-service training had equipped them with enough skills. Most lecturers were not trained in NBTL and indicated that pre-service trainee teachers were not adequately prepared due to insufficient time given to PRP in the college curriculum.The study concluded that most pre-service trainee teachers had not acquired most aspects of the NBTL methodology through pre-service training. Furthermore, some lecturers did not undergo comprehensive training in the NBTL methodology. This partially explains why most pre-service trainee teachers were ill-prepared to teach initial literacy in a local language. Additionally, it was clear that time allocated to the teaching of NBTL at the college was not enough to offer a comprehensive teacher training programme. The study also concluded that most practicing teachers were not accorded an opportunity to train in the NBTL methodology through in-service programmes.The study therefore, recommended that there was need to allocate enough time to the NBTL methodology in the pre-service teacher training programme. Additionally, there is need to strengthen the training as well as re-orientation of lecturers in the NBTL methodology; and to strengthen the in-service training in NBTL course at the college, district, zonal and school levels.
Literacy programs-Zambia , Reading--ability testing--Zambia