Wednesday 1 May 2013

More hints for Michael Gove from Central Africa.

Whilst rummaging amongst my Malaŵian memorabilia for the previous post I came across the following.  Hastings Banda was the dictator at the time.

Ministry Circular 8/22 of 27/7/72.

Following His Excellency the Life President's direction that the progressive and modern methods of teaching and practice should cease forthwith  in all sxchools and colleges it has become necessaty to give guidance  . . . .in order to ensure that all teaching and learning is done in the traditional manner. . . 

. .  . His Excellency the Life President expressed dissatisfaction with the modern approach to teaching.  Much concern was felt  that there had been a fall off in educational standards . . . because of progressive methods  of teaching and organising classroom work. . .


a) Modern approach.

Here a child is allowed to work alone, or with other children, on what he finds interesting.  What he does not find interesting he is allowed to drop.  He is not supposed to be told exactly what he should do.  The teacher is supposed to stimulate interest in worthwhile things.  For example, Mathematics, or Science, arise from various situations.  Except for occasional story-telling, singing and movement, class instruction is out.  

The curriculum  is "child  centred."  The needs of the children  are never expected to be subjected  to that of the adult.  The consequence is supposed to be that children will evolve an interest in their studies, a free initiative, spontaneity, curiosity, etc. 

 In practice the majority of teachers have, however, lost control of the situation.  The pupils have continued to gain an upper hand and order and discipline  have been steadily deteriorating.  Knowledge has been unsystemised  and linked in rather a desultory fashion.  As a result standards have fallen in schools where  this approach has been adopted..

b)  Traditional Approach.

Unlike the modern approach there is no room for  permissiveness in the traditional approach to teaching.  The children are not permitted to do whatever they want.  Learning is a mastery of the subject matter.  Knowledge is systematised  and syllabuses and text books are logically organised and expected to cover the subject-matter adequately.  Nothing is left to chance and teachers issue clear instructions in connection with all aspects  of learning.  Learning being a master of the subject matter, pupils  are highly disciplined  and the teaching is done thoroughly.

In accordance with His Excellency the Life President's directive the Ministry has taken steps. . .(A)ll modern mathematics in primary and secondary schools should be stopped and all modern mathematics text-books withdrawn forthwith.

 I'm happy to offer the above to our Department of Education and Skills free of charge.  Save them a lot of time.

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