Grade combination, using other resource persons available in the area and better seating arrangements could be some of the strategies to ensure student-centred and activity-oriented Multi-grade Teaching in schools.
Some of the major reasons for the institutionalisation of MGT in Nepal include Nepal’s geographical configuration, cost effectiveness, efficient teacher’s use, migration trend, teacher’s absence and the goal of universalising primary education. An MGT school in Nepal at present and in the foreseeable future will be especially necessary in the rural areas, particularly in the remote localities where people’s educational awareness and literacy rate, the density of the population and the economic status of the people are comparatively lower.
On the basis of a number of surveys, studies, research and workshops conducted so far in the country, the following major aspects of MGT as it is practiced in Nepal can be enumerated.
Different MGT types like two grades combined into one; teacher for individual help; one teacher in three different grades in three different classrooms; teachers moving from one group to the other; only one group engaged by the teacher while the other groups do self-reading.
- Teacher-centred classroom teaching;
- A few student-centred activities;
- Annual system of student evaluation;
- Monitoring system
All or some of the points mentioned above are in practice in schools. However, teachers are not very happy with the situation as it now exists, and the general reactions of the teachers are as follows:
- Difficult to teach two classes at a time, to evaluate and maintain discipline;
- Lack of relevant instructional materials, necessary physical facilities, relevant curriculum and teacher training;
- Many challenges like lack of facilities, amenities and incentives along with difficult professional responsibilities for the teacher;
- Teacher absenteeism and lack of a tribal teacher
However, most of the teachers have solved the most critical classroom teaching problem by adopting different kinds of seating management.
Grade combination, using other resource persons available in the area and better seating arrangements could be some of the strategies to ensure student-centred and activity-oriented MGT in schools.
Other recommendations include pre-service and in-service teacher training; production of training materials package and more teacher incentives; production of student’s instructional materials jointly by experts and teachers; better physical facilities; working out a more relevant teaching method like team teaching; curriculum design and evaluation; establishment of consultancy centres and resource centres; and regional, national and international exchange visits of MGT teachers.
MGT needs to be effective and must flourish in the Nepalese context. However, the important inputs required will be basically related to research, programme development, extension services, material resources and feasibility studies.These are priority inputs, and national and international agencies need to focus on supporting and creating these inputs so that MGT can successfully operate in Nepal.
source:Shambhu Prasad Lohani,gorkhapatraonline (The author was formerly with the National Centre for Educational Development (NCED), Nepal)