DOWA DNS promotes gender equality among students
Established in 2010, DAPP Dowa Teachers’ Training College (TTC) trains young men and women to become primary school teachers in rural Malawi areas. Since its establishment, the school has graduated 556 with 223 males and 333 females. The school trains teachers who become skilled and productive members of society through spearheading community building efforts.
Blessings Kambewa is the Principal at DAPP Dowa TTC who has headed the institution since its establishment. He explains that the idea behind the DAPP TTCs is to train the young men and women who become “Another Kind of Teachers”.
“In DAPP TTCs we use a DNS (from the Danish name Det Nodvendige Seminarium meaning the Necessary Teacher Training College) training model that is designed to create a new generation of teachers who will bring modern and inclusive quality education into poor communities thereby contributing rural development,” he explains.
DAPP Malawi has four TTCs namely Dowa in Dowa district, Mzimba in Mzimba, Amalika in Thyolo and Chilangoma in Blantyre district. The training approaches are such that encourage students to take lead in the operations of the colleges. Regardless of gender or family backgrounds, the student teachers in DAPP TTCs are introduced to a world of equal opportunities upon enrolment into the colleges. They are divided in groups that comprises both genders and allocated tasks to carry out regardless of gender. Some of the tasks they carry out include cleaning around the college campus, preparing their meals during weekends and establishing vegetable gardens.
DAPP TTCs train teachers who are expected to live in rural areas. The Principal for Dowa TTC stressed that gender balance for rural primary school teachers becomes a problem where student teachers are not motivated to live in rural areas. He said, often times, female teachers prefer to work in school that are in urban areas. However, this is different with DAPP graduated teachers, pointing out that the TTCs are located in rural areas which provides opportunities for interactions and adaptation of life in rural areas at an early stage.
“The TTCs are in rural Malawi areas, the students carry out their teaching practices in rural primary schools, and the college ensures that there are regular interactions with the community members in the course of training,” said Kambewa.
The DAPP student teachers provide free lessons to community members at the college in areas of; sanitation and hygiene, conservation agriculture, knitting, sowing as well as climate change through tree planting exercises and use of firewood saving stoves.
Community interactions are said to have improved the number of female teachers in rural primary schools. When the teachers are posted by the Malawi government to work in the rural areas they play a role of spearheading community building efforts and being change agents in their schools. One of the brainchild of Dowa TTC was the establishment of Girls Clubs which target learners and youth from schools around the college. The Girls Clubs are made up of both boys and girls with an aim of promoting girl child education. Female teachers become role model to girls in primary schools hence the learners are able to open up to their teachers on issues that affect them thereby encouraging them to remain in school.