In October 2011, tutors from TESSA’s Malawi Access to Teaching Saltire Scholarship (MATSS) programme took part in a two day workshop where they received on-going training, met other tutors and reflected on their experiences of supporting participating scholars. The workshop was led by two facilitators from the UK’s Open University, and two Malawian facilitators.
The MATSS project is part of the OU’s TESSA initiative (Teach Education in Sub Saharan Africa) and was developed following initial research in 2009 which indicated that the number of women teaching in rural Malawi was very low. The study identified a need to recruit more women into teaching within their own rural communities, whilst also recognising a lack of necessary academic qualifications as a key constraint upon this.
Within the MATSS project, rural women who aspire to teach can apply for a scholarship offering them a pathway into teaching in their local area. Participant scholars take part in supported distance learning to help them achieve their MSCE, the qualification required to begin teacher training. At the same time, they also gain school experience, spending four days a week in a placement as a Learning Assistant within a local primary school. Scholars are supported in their structured study programme by tutors, such as those attending this month’s workshop, who provide regular tutorial sessions. They also receive support from mentors working within their placement school.
TESSA would be interested to explore if anyone else has this sort of project focussing on developing women within their own communities.