Tutors’ competences and implementation of early childhood education curriculum in primary teachers’ colleges in Eastern Uganda
This study was carried out on: “Tutors’ Competences and Implementation of Early Childhood Education (ECE) Curriculum in Primary Teachers’ Colleges (PTCs) in Eastern Uganda”. The study was anchored on the Pragmatism Paradigm. The specific study purpose was to examine the current implementation process of the ECE Curriculum with a focus on the competences of tutors to train quality teachers in PTCs. The Researcher’s motivation was on the apparent national overwhelming concern on the ECE Curriculum which is intended to improve teacher preparation for desired quality. The problem was the increasing claims on gaps inhibiting ECE hands-on-learning in PTCs which has a significant bearing on learners’ readiness to breakthrough to literacy in primary schools. The study sought to achieve four objectives: to assess tutors’ knowledge of the ECE Pedagogy, to establish tutors’ competences in the implementation of the ECE Curriculum, to find out the extent to which tutors exhibit pedagogical standards required in ECE implementation and identify challenges faced by tutors in ECE Curriculum implementation in PTCs. The study adopted a Cross-sectional survey design with mixed approaches. The study population comprised of Tutors of ECE, Teacher Trainees, Principals, Deputy Principals, HoD ECE at Kyambogo University, Commissioner in-charge ECE in the MoES, Headteachers and teachers of lower primary classes (P1-P3). The study sample comprised of a total of 306 respondents and participants purposively selected. The study data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire, an interview guide, document analysis guide and an observation checklist. The study generated predominantly qualitative data backed up with some quantitative data. It was revealed that majority of the tutors had the required knowledge of ECE pedagogy. Tutors' competences of ECE implementation were established at an average of 71.4% although inclined on preparing the trainees for “pen and paper” examinations, a minority of tutors exhibited pedagogical standards to be emulated by their trainees to a very minimal extent. The frequently reported challenges of inadequate funding, inadequate time and inadequate access to practicum opportunities did not aid tutors in the preparation of trainees holistically. In conclusion, tutors' knowledge of ECE pedagogy was theoretical. Tutors’ competences in ECE implementation were influenced by traditional approaches to teaching due to pressure for syllabus coverage and National elimination examinations. The extent to which tutors exhibited pedagogical standards in ECE Curriculum implementation was too insignificant to mentor their trainees and the challenges in ECE implementation did not aid tutors to scaffold the training of the Head, Heart and Hand (3Hs) of the teacher trainees. It was, therefore, recommended that specific CPDs be initiated to build tutors’ capacity in the required practical knowledge of ECE pedagogy through the Down-Top approach. Kyambogo’s initiative to reduce on the theory National examinations can reduce pressure on “pen and paper” examinations to boost practical skills and help tutors pay much attention to methods which enforce practical approaches to learning. National guidelines by MoES as well as in-service capacity building courses for tutors should be provided to enforce exhibition of pedagogical standards in terms of practicality, sense of humour, reflection, Modeling and Mentorship. There is need to design minimum requirements for PTCs on ECE, including a Model ECD Centre within the PTC as a Laboratory of Pedagogy to enhance continuous hands-on practice among the trainees. The study’s contribution is the Paradigm Shift from the traditional to a more innovative practice of contextualising the existing pedagogy to enforce teacher preparation for quality education by facilitating learners to breakthrough to literacy and realise their full potential with a focus on the 21st. Century education.