Quality Basic Education for All: Challenges in Multi-Grade Teaching in Rural Schools
AbstractInequalities in terms of access, retention and completion compromise the provision of quality education in rural schools. Like other developing countries in Africa, South Africa’s rural communities remain disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in urban areas. The achievement of the goals set for 2015 by the millennium declaration – and especially, poverty reduction, food security, universal primary education and gender equity require special efforts in rural areas such as the use of multi-grade education. Multi-grade education is recognised as the viable option for promoting access to basic education for disadvantaged children, especially those living in rural areas. The study investigates the challenges faced by multi-grade teachers in rural South African schools. The study employs a descriptive qualitative case study design. Participants in this study were multi-grade teachers in a rural school. Data collection were done using semi-structured interviews. Two teachers were purposefully selected to participate in this small-scale study. Collected data were analysed qualitatively using themes. The key findings in this study indicate that teachers found teaching in a multi-grade context challenging and difficult. The study also showed that teachers have a negative attitude towards multi-grade teaching. Furthermore, there is no specific training provided for teachers teaching multi-grade classes. The article highlights the need for in-service training and on-going support for teachers in multi-grade schools for the provision of quality education.
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