Education Knowledge

April 2003

Practical Subjects in Basic Education - Relevance At Last or Second Rate Education?

Lessons from 40 Years of Experience

by Herbert Bergmann
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)
Eschborn, December 2002

This paper was presented at the "Aid Agencies Workshop Education for Rural People: Targeting the Poor". (Rome, December 2002)

Summary
Introduction
The Issue
GTZ's Experience
Demand
Expectations
Economics, values, and lessons of the past
Realism versus Legitimacy
Models
The Reform School Movement
Colonial Education
Socialist Work-oriented Education
Approaches
Ruralisation
School Farm Work and Primary School Agriculture
Practical Subjects
Builders' Brigades
Work- and Technology Education
Vocationalisation of Secondary Schools
Basic Science and Technology Studies
Environmental Education in Primary School
Lessons Learned
Refusal of a Separate School System
Effectiveness
Quality
Manual Labour as Punishment
Accountability and Management of Income
Costs and Finance
Cost-Effectiveness
Manpower Issues
Competition with local producers
The Way Ahead - What Options Remain
Relevance and the Core Functions of School
Rural Education: Parallel but Equivalent
Enhancing Relevance across the Board
Local Content in the Curriculum
Low and No-Cost Approaches
Shaping Expectations
Using Gender Roles
Conclusion
Bibliography
Annexes

SUMMARY

Since modern formal education was introduced in developing countries, there have been complaints that education was too academic, not preparing children for life. The relevance of education was challenged, and particularly so for rural areas. This is a worldwide, longstanding debate. The conceptual discussion has not been limited to primary education but has also touched on secondary education.

German Development Co-operation has been active in this field in a number of countries, 8 in Africa, 2 in Latin America, and 1 in Asia. Two international events on the topic were organ-ised in Africa (Tanzania 1985, Zimbabwe 1990). A pilot project to link education with re-gional rural development was carried out between 1987 and 1989.

The demand came from policy makers and parents alike. It was a demand for an education that would help to improve everyday life, and provide access to salaried employment. The demand was strongest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Elsewhere, it often appeared in socialist countries.

Expectations had economic reasons, often supported by socialist ideology going beyond utilitarian productivity gains. Sub-Saharan Africa had witnessed, in the first years after independence, an extraordinary job expansion with a premium on formal education. This had reinforced the experience under colonial rule. Such expectations were unrealistic in the short and medium term. Seen through the eyes of parents and rural communities, they are legitimate expectations of return on investment.

There are a number of models for work oriented, practical education.

  1. Early in the 20th century, a pedagogical reform movement emerged in Germany that intended to move away from an elitist, academic education, incorporating manual work.
  2. Colonial education, whether organised by the administration or the missions, included practical subjects very early on, mostly through gardening and farming activities. Most of the time, this did not apply to the children of the colonizers.
  3. In Socialist education, manual work is an integral part of education. Every child would have to learn a trade. This led to polytechnical education for everybody.

The following approaches have been developed based on one or several of the models:

  1. Ruralisation of education was promoted by UNESCO in the sixties and seventies of the 20th century.
  2. Agriculture as a topic or subject of general primary education were common, par-ticularly in Africa.
  3. Prevocational training was provided, in certain cases, through practical subjects - Agriculture, Domestic Science, and Arts& Crafts (woodwork, masonry, and metal work).
  4. "Builders' Brigades" were organised in Botswana. Skill training, income generation for the school, and the creation of small enterprises by school leavers were combined.
  5. China has a system of work-oriented education in upper primary and work- and technology-oriented education in the lower secondary school.
  6. Basic Science and Technology Studies reduce the ambitious approaches reported above to a classroom centred subject whose costs are the same as those of any subject of general education.
  7. Environmental education was the guiding focus in other instances. This also led to practical content.
  8. Vocationalisation of secondary education was tried out in several Latin American countries: specialised secondary schools were organised in such a way that students would graduate with a vocational certificate and the right to take up their studies at university level.

Lessons Learned

Results have been mixed and, most of the time, discouraging. The best basic education is a good general education. The experience with practical subjects can be summarised as follows:

  1. The practical components added to the general subjects overtax primary school teachers. Few teachers were able to teach the practical content correctly. Teacher pre-service training for these subjects is usually as deficient as the training for general subjects.


  2. Well-qualified secondary school teachers are 'poached' (Peru). They got offers from the private sector and left the profession.


  3. The budget can finance neither investment nor running costs. Other sources of income are unreliable. Teacher training for practical subjects is far more expensive because of the workshops, land and equipment needed.


  4. None of the approaches with production actually mastered the issues of accountability and correct use of the income generated through pupils' efforts. The investment and recurrent costs proved too high to be supported on a regular basis.


  5. During examinations, practical subjects count for less than general education subjects and, in cases of doubt, they are ignored.


  6. The ruralised school system was rejected by the rural population. As the system did not offer any possibilities for further studies, it was perceived as a dead end.


  7. The concept of Vocationalised Secondary Schools was discredited since a World Bank Study in Tanzania and Colombia showed that the expected effects did not materialise.


The Way Ahead

The core functions of formal education are the three Rs, and, in general, learning to learn and reason. Relevance in terms of practical skills needs to be subordinated to the fulfilment of these core functions. There cannot be a trade-off between one and the other.

  1. Relevance to real life is possible. In Rwanda, the subject 'Vocational Training and Technology' was set up, which, if need be, could be taught without tools, working materials and workshops, but still prepare young people for work. The approach to incorporate vocational training and technical instruction into the general curriculum in China has a chance because, and so long as, it corresponds to the prevailing ideology. Healthcare and environmental education, integrated in subjects such as general knowledge and science education, will increase the relevance of these subjects.


  2. However, the errors of the past need to be avoided. The best strategy would be to enhance relevance to out-of school and beyond-school life in all schools according to the local environment. An example would be the topic of HIV/AIDS.


  3. The space for local content in the curriculum of certain countries provides room for locally relevant contents and skills.


  4. Girls' education is most often held back by very traditional gender stereotypes and roles. If attacked upfront, resistance against female education might become stronger. One strategy would be to take up the skill requirements of major traditional female roles in school.


  5. The expectations of parents and children/youth alike need to be oriented towards realistic objectives. No school education can provide jobs and income. It can improve school leavers' chances in the competition for income opportunities. Nobody should promise more.


  6. It might be possible to offer parallel curricula in rural areas, formally equivalent to the education in urban areas. However, this will be accepted only if it leads to certificates of equal value.


INTRODUCTION

The Issue

Ever since formal, Western type education was introduced in developing countries, there have been complaints that education was too academic and did not prepare children for the life they were going to lead after school. The relevance of education was challenged, and particularly so for rural areas where the majority of the population used to live and in many countries still does. This has turned into a worldwide debate, not restricted to any of the continents in development and does not spare the countries of the North. It has been discussed in one or the other form since the early years of the 20th century. The conceptual discussion has not been limited to primary education but has also touched on secondary education.

GTZ's Experience

German Development Co-operation has been active in this field, providing technical co-operation to a number of countries, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, China, Kenya, Nicaragua, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Togo. A workshop on For-mal and non-formal Education in Regional Rural Development Projects in Africa was held in Tanzania in 19851, and a Conference on Primary School Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa was organised in 1990 in Zimbabwe2. From 1987 to 1990, GTZ carried out the pilot project 'Training and Educational Components in Regional Rural Development Projects' in three Af-rican countries, Central African Republic, Togo and Senegal.

DEMAND

The demand was strongest in Sub-Saharan Africa, for a variety of reasons. Elsewhere, it often appeared in countries with a strong socialist orientation. It came from policy makers in the field of education and parents alike, a demand for an education that would help to improve everyday life, and, more important, provide access to salaried employment. It was not a de-mand for skills as an outcome of formal education but for the income that such skills would procure. Certificates count more than practical skills.

This had become abundantly clear in Ph. Fosters famous study "The vocational school fallacy in development planning" as early as 1965. At that time, there was a belief among the professionals of education that the inclination of young people towards white collar jobs could be changed by a practically oriented curriculum towards production-oriented skills such as farming, trades, and crafts. These were thought to be more needed in development than office jobs. According to his findings, the job aspirations of students were not determined by the curricu-lum taught in their (middle) schools but rather by the opportunities offered in the modern sec-tor of a country's economy. This was true in a setting where practical skills taught in middle schools were rather broad and unspecific - Gardening, Housecraft (Domestic Science, Home Science), Woodwork, and Arts&Crafts. Forty years later3, when both the economy and the education system had become more complex, it was quite clear that students would choose schools according to their perception of future opportunities in the labour market, and that schools could do very little to influence students' orientation towards work (King and Martin, 2002). This mechanism is valid as well in basic education. Findings from Kenya in 20004 show that parents try to provide quality education to their children. However, they prefer ad-vanced secondary and university education to practical subjects.

EXPECTATIONS

Economics, values, and lessons of the past

Expectations had underlying economic reasons, often supported by a strong socialist ideology that went beyond mere productivity gains.

The independence movement in Sub-Saharan Africa had witnessed, in the first years after in-dependence, an extraordinary job expansion in the administration with a premium on any kind of completed formal education. This had only reinforced the experience under colonial rule when people who had successfully completed primary school were employed in the colonial administration and had huge advantages compared to those without formal education. Politicians therefore had a hard time explaining why gradually it became ever more difficult for school leavers to secure an income in the modern sector.

Realism and Legitimacy

In most development contexts, such expectations were unrealistic in the short and medium term. Seen through the eyes of parents and whole rural communities who often made huge financial sacrifices to send somebody to primary and secondary school, they are legitimate expectations of return on investment. Beyond the expectations of income, there are expectations that are even more justified - the expectations that what children learn in school be instrumental in improving everyday life. In rural areas, there is often little demand for the 3 Rs in general (reading, writing, and arithmetic). But the time in school is most of the time the only chance children have to learn in a systematic way. Direct costs and opportunity costs make it an expensive period, too. It is only legitimate to demand that what pupils learn during five to seven years have a direct bearing on their life - in other words, that they have an opportunity to acquire life skills.

MODELS

There are a number of models for work oriented, practical education in basic education.

The Reform School Movement

In Germany, a pedagogical reform movement emerged as early as 1908 (Kerschensteiner) that intended to integrate work and school under the label of "Arbeitsschule" (work-school). This type of school was supposed to foster autonomy, a positive attitude towards work, rationality, overcoming obstacles, and the capacity to work in a team. Work was a pedagogical instru-ment to foster adequate learning. Education was supposed to convey both practical and intel-lectual skills that would really matter in later life.

Colonial Education

All colonial administrations and the mission schools included practical subjects very early on, mostly through gardening and farming activities. In many colonies in Africa, the curriculum contained Agriculture/Gardening for boys and girls, Arts& Crafts for boys, and Domestic Sci-ence for girls. This had partly economic reasons - boarding schools needed farm produce to feed the boarders, and partly political and ethical reasons: it was meant to fight what they per-ceived as laziness, and it should teach the dignity of labour, and of manual labour at that, to the colonial population. The children of the colonizers did not learn these subject, which had a strong demonstration effect with political connotations. It was therefore abandoned in all for-mer French colonies at independence, whereas the former British colonies tried to reform it.

Socialist Work-Oriented Education

In Socialist education, manual work was an integral part of education. For philosophical, socio-political, and economic reasons, every child would have to learn a trade. This led to polytechnical education for everybody. In socialist ethics, labour had a higher moral value than capital. Everybody had to work and acknowledge the dignity of labour, and manual labour in particular. Education had to lay the foundation for a positive attitude5 towards work. Polytechnical education became an element of general education in all countries belonging to the Socialist Block. At the end of the full educational cycle (primary and secondary school), students would master one trade and fulfil the formal requirements for admission to university. In the People's Republic of China, during the Great Leap Forward, schools were expected to participate actively in production6 and to turn out qualified workers7.

APPROACHES

Ruralisation

Ruralisation of education was an approach promoted by UNESCO in the sixties and seventies of the 20th century8. Education was meant to become directly relevant to conditions of life and work in rural areas. This meant adapting curriculum content to the realities of rural areas, adapting the school year to local and regional agricultural cycles and their labour requirements, and including practical activities such as school gardening, school farm work and animal husbandry. In its more extreme form, it meant a parallel education system without links to general education. This form was tested and practised in Upper Volta, today's Burkina Faso. It was not well received by the beneficiary population and was therefore tacitly aban-doned.

School Farm Work and Primary School Agriculture

Agricultural topics and subjects as part of general primary education had a longer life, particularly in Africa. In Tanzania, the colonial tradition was reinterpreted in the context of Uja-maa - African Socialism under the guiding principle of education for self-reliance and made compulsory for Tanzanian pupils, no matter their race.

Practical Subjects as Prevocational Training

In Rwanda, in grades 7 and 8 of primary school, about half the teaching time was devoted to three practical subjects, Agriculture, Domestic Science (Home Science), and Crafts (woodwork, masonry, and metal work). Again, colonial tradition, this time of Belgian origin, was taken up. It was made more coherent, received much more attention, and had a clearly stated objective: school leavers should be able to apply a range of modern agricultural, technical, and household skills to everyday life, and to solve a number of everyday problems much better than before9. While for education planners and curriculum developers it was clear that at the end of primary school, pupils would not be skilled workers or craftsmen, many local politicians sold the new approach to parents by making just that promise.

In Kenya, the educational reform introduced in 1985 in fact put a strong emphasis on the practical subjects Home Science, Agriculture, and Arts&Crafts, introduced in order to promote respect for and inclination towards practical work and impart useful skills and knowledge to the children.

The attitudinal objectives are typical for all these attempts starting in the early sixties. They are unrealistic since they are based on wrong assumptions about what shapes parents' and pupils' attitudes towards work and economic activities in general. This approach must be con-sidered as failed and should not be taken up in future.

Builders' Brigades

"Builders' Brigades" were organised in Botswana. Skill training, income generation for the school, and the creation of small enterprises by school leavers were combined10. This is also a failed approach.

Work- and Technology Education

The People's Republic of China is practising a system of work education in the upper grades of primary school and work- and technology education in the lower grades of secondary school. In rural areas, the emphasis is on trades and skills needed locally. For details, see the homepage of a GTZ-sponsored project under www.fgbsuzhou.com. This is an attempt at keeping the valuable core of the education policies promoted during the "Great Leap Ahead". For a foundation, it has the same mixture of ideological-philosophical and economic reasoning. However, the approach has become more realistic. It works in a context were many schools continue running production units - small factories, farms, service companies. The approach currently practised in China has a potential in a specific political and ideological environment. It would not succeed in a non-socialist environment.

Vocationalisation of Secondary Schools

In several Latin American countries, specialised secondary schools were organised in such a way that students would graduate with a vocational certificate and the right to take up their studies at university level. The case we know best is the ESEP-model in Peru (Escuela Superior de Educación Profesional). This is also a failed approach.

Basic Science and Technology Studies

When the practical subjects approach was abandoned, Rwanda introduced a new subject, "Basic Science and Technology Studies" that does away with expensive workshops, tools and raw materials, and land for school farms. Syllabi and appropriate teaching and learning mate-rials for grades one through six have been developed. The subject focuses on topics that can be taught in an ordinary classroom, using books, wall-charts, small experiments, demonstra-tions, and nature walks. It develops pupils' observational skills and general manual dexterity, and focuses on things and problems available in the local community for practical examples and illustrations. Basic demonstrations concerning plant life can be carried out "on the win-dow sill" of classrooms and on very small plots of land in the schoolyard. A similar approach was tested in Togo (see Buchholz: 1992). The Science Education Quality Improvement Pro-ject (SEQIP) in Indonesia, following a nationwide approach, nevertheless developed a particular package for remote rural areas. This package contains science kits and an approach to teacher in-service training suitable for regions with widely scattered schools. Details can be seen under www.seqip.de/. This is a potentially promising approach.

Environmental Education in Primary School

Zimbabwe had introduced Environmental & Agricultural Science (EAS) as a core subject in primary school. It was practice-oriented and geared to situations of pupils' everyday world. The emphasis had shifted from a prevocational towards an ecological orientation focusing on sustainability. In practice, however, it had retained many previous elements such as school garden work and farming. Basic scientific knowledge and principles relevant to agriculture and in line with pupils' age and experience were incorporated in a reorganised science subject. This should be taught in such a way that the relevance to local agricultural problems and practices became clear. This also is a potentially promising approach.

LESSONS LEARNED

Results have been mixed and, most of the time, discouraging.

Refusal of a Separate School System

The ruralised school system was rejected by the majority of rural parents whose children were supposed to be its main beneficiaries. As the system did not offer any possibilities for further studies, it was perceived as a dead end.

Effectiveness

The idea that primary schools could impart usable and marketable skills beyond the 3Rs proved a failure.

Quality

Quality has always been a major problem. Rapid expansion of education had led to compro-mises concerning teacher employment; large numbers of untrained teachers were teaching. Good practical education required as much or more teaching competence as general education. Gardening and school farm work was often less well done than similar activities in the farms and gardens of illiterate parents11. Agricultural innovations taught at school often went against well-established local farming practice and therefore did not catch on (e.g. single cropping, compost work, gardening in straight lines). Well-motivated female teachers were able to teach Domestic Science reasonably well, but Arts&Crafts more often than not pre-sented insurmountable problems. Planners usually underestimated the time it took teachers to become reasonably proficient in techniques that were uncommon in rural areas.

Counterproductive Methods - Manual Labour as Punishment

Far too often, teachers used school garden work as a form of punishment. The message about the value of manual labour this practice conveyed was disastrous and counterproductive.

Accountability and Management of Income

None of the approaches with production (e.g. in gardening and school farming) actually mastered the issues of accountability and correct use of the income generated through pupils' efforts. This could neither be achieved at the individual level nor at the institutional one. A number of teachers and headmasters would use the school garden or farm produce for their own benefit. Sometimes, they bought it below market prices; sometimes they used it without paying anything. The education sector authorities failed to come up with appropriate regulations. Given the financial crisis in many countries and the corresponding salary arrears for teachers, it would have made sense to partly legalise this practice. But this was never done. Therefore, pupils and parents alike came to resent school farm work, especially when teaching was of poor quality.

Examinations

A subject that is not examined ends up not being taught properly. When examination time approaches, and sometimes during the whole of the last year of primary school, periods allotted to "non-essential" subjects are being used for examination preparations. In most cases, practical subjects were not examinable.

Costs and Finance

The investment and recurrent costs proved too high to be supported by the national sector budget, by communities or parental contributions. A study done in 1990 shows that even the costs for good-quality teaching of gardening and farming at the end of primary school could be quite high, and beyond the reach of the sector authorities. To develop usable skills, each school would need an additional teacher specialised in agriculture, and at least some auxiliary staff for the school farm. Curriculum development would involve two Ministries, Education and Agriculture. Pupils would need additional books on agriculture, total teaching time would be quite high. To allow farming practice at a reasonable scale, each class would need about 1.000 m2 of land and access to water. In densely populated rural areas, land would become a problem. Tools, farm inputs, and crops would need safe storage facilities. In addition, good quality tools, a steady supply of seeds, and some fertiliser would also be needed. Land, facilities, and supply all mean an initial investment, and funds for replacement and annual pur-chases. Thus, a full-grown skill development scheme would overtax the budget of basic edu-cation. For details, see Annex 2: Resource Requirements of Different Concepts of Teaching Agriculture.

In the past, different countries have tried to teach agriculture in primary schools with far fewer resources than mentioned here. This has inevitably led to very poor quality, and has discredited the whole approach.

There certainly is a need for skill development in agriculture. This should be addressed, however, through full-scale rural vocational training schemes targeting a much smaller number of potential students in centres specialised to this effect. Any non-agricultural craft needing a separate workshop with specialised tools, equipment, and a minimal supply of raw materials, was much more expensive than teaching agricultural skills. The approach used in Rwanda in the eighties was really low-cost- very simple structures as workshops, locally produced work benches (often makeshift), no power tools, raw materials that could mostly be found in the communities. And yet, it needed special measures (e.g. annual national competitions) to motivate communities and parents to provide what it needed to do a minimum of practical teaching. The GTZ-pilot project on Training and Educational Components in Regional Rural Develop-ment Projects has produced cost estimates of teachers' guides to be used in approaches where agricultural topics are treated in General Science, Nature Studies or Environmental Studies. The main investment is developing these materials. Development costs accounted for about 75% of total costs. The remaining 25% pay for occasional revisions, printing and distribution. The average cost per school (two sets of materials for the teachers) excluding development costs would be estimated at between 42 and 75 Euro (see Annex 1: Cost Structure of Teaching/Learning Materials ). The larger the print runs, the lower this cost would be and the closer the total costs per school would get to this estimate. As these materials would be used in one of the general subjects, usually Science or Nature Studies, where books are needed anyway, not all of this cost would be additional. Cost-Effectiveness

A famous World Bank Study on Vocationalised Secondary Schools showed that the expected effects did not materialise despite heavy investments. The study by Psacharopoulos and Loxley, done in 1985, is a thorough analysis of curriculum diversification in secondary education in Colombia and Tanzania. Through the use of tracer surveys and rigorous economic analysis, the authors consider access, internal efficiency, external efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Its main weakness is that it is restricted to two countries only, but even so, it cannot easily be dismissed.

This study has had far-reaching effects on the Bank's policy towards financing practical subjects in general education. Findings and conclusions have been generalised to primary education. The Bank has systematically rejected such an approach. In Rwanda, grades seven and eight of primary education, devoted mostly to practical subjects, have been abolished owing to Bank pressure. In Kenya, practical subjects were not abolished but lost their importance.

Manpower Issues

With a few notable exceptions, teachers were not able to teach the practical content, both in terms of knowledge and skills, correctly.

Teaching practical skills needs solid preparation. Teacher pre-service training for these subjects is usually as deficient as the training for general subjects. Because of the workshops, land and equipment needed, it is also far more expensive. It is, therefore, not easy to get well-trained, qualified teachers. Since usually, only a small number of students went for vocational education and training, there was no pool from which to recruit teachers that had the required technical skills.

Very good teachers often got offers from the private sector and left the profession. This was particularly true at secondary level, where skills could be rather advanced and specialised. Vocationalised secondary school suffered a lot from teacher attrition. The education sector could simply not pay competitive salaries.

Competition with local producers

Where practical subjects were taught in good quality, and school workshops and gardens produced reasonable quantities, this was often resented as disloyal competition by local craftsmen and commercial farmers since schools produced at zero labour costs.

THE WAY AHEAD - WHAT OPTIONS REMAIN

Relevance and the Core Functions of School

The core functions of formal education are reading, writing, mathematics, and, in general, learning to learn and reason. Relevance in terms of practical skills needs to be subordinated to the fulfilment of these core functions. There cannot be a trade-off between one and the other. However, it should be possible to combine the general skills and contents with a certain measure of relevance, and such combinations should be enhanced.

Buchholz (1992:52) reaches the following conclusions:

Providing basic knowledge concerning issues and topics relevant for everyday life is in line with … the position that maintains that it is easier with children than with adults to help build a frame of mind that will later on facilitate learning and understanding something completely new.

A subject like applied basic science or nature studies, geared towards the surrounding reality, not only reinforces learning the 3Rs and the language of wider communication but also helps to fulfil the mission of the school to prepare children for life better than an orientation towards production and agricultural topics. This is certainly also true for African societies that are not static, look for new activities and experience a strong rural-urban migration. With the help of the key qualifications acquired through such an approach, a youth will be better equipped to master life, no matter whether he or she remains in the country side or "escapes" to the cities.

Rural Education: Parallel but Equivalent

Instead of going for separate school systems in rural areas, it might be more successful to of-fer parallel systems that are formally and for all practical purposes equivalent to the education received in urban areas. The main criterion for equivalence is the examination system. While examinations would have to differ in content since there would be curricular differences, they must lead to certificates of equal value. A "parallel system" can differ from other regional systems not only with regard to parts of the curriculum but also with regard to the school year (beginning and end, vacation periods in line with regional labour requirements), the daily schedule and the weekly timetable, the extent of multigrade teaching, the patterns of school buildings, provisions made to attract and keep teachers, and the potential to raise income from the local community. These are clearly areas for support.

Enhancing Relevance across the Board

The best strategy would be to enhance relevance to out-of school and beyond school life in all schools according to the local environment. An example would be the topic of HIV/AIDS. Certain topics would be specific to rural areas, e.g. applying general science to farming. Others, e.g. health in general and HIV/AIDS in particular, would receive differential treatment according to local conditions.

Local Content in the Curriculum

Care should be taken to work within the existing national curriculum. Usually, regionalised curricula will simply not be implemented12. In certain countries, the curriculum provides room for locally relevant contents and skills. Sometimes, up to 25% of teaching time is reserved for local content. Arrangements have been made to have such content examined. Very often, regional, district and local education authorities do not have the skills for such curricu-lum development. Very detailed curricula for Agriculture, Arts&Crafts, and Domestic Science are available, many of them with a spiral structure. This is an area for support.

Low and No-Cost Approaches

Based on the experience in Rwanda, GTZ has developed an approach that does away with expensive workshops, tools and raw materials, and land for school farms. It touched upon cur-riculum and materials development, decentralised teacher in-service training, and ran try-outs in schools. It was designed in such a way that it could be taught in the usual classroom setting, although it is more effective if some gardening is possible and a few simple tools can be mobilised. Central to the approach is establishing decentralised teacher in-service training capacities.

Shaping Expectations

The expectations of parents and children/youth alike need to be oriented towards realistic objectives. No school education can provide jobs and income, it can, at best, improve school leavers' chances in the competition for job and income opportunities. Politicians and administrators should not promise more.

Using Gender Roles

Girls' education is most often held back by very traditional gender stereotypes and roles. If attacked up-front, resistance against female education is usually reinforced. One strategy would be to take up the skill requirements of the role of the housewife and mother and teach some of the corresponding skills to girls. This was current practice in a number of European countries right into the second half of the 20th century. Almost certainly, it would enhance the demand for girls' education in many countries with large gender gaps.

CONCLUSION

The relevance of general education can be enhanced, and certainly so in rural areas, provided the errors of the past are avoided. However, relevance is but one of the issues to be addressed in order to improve education in rural areas. Other issues might be more important, depending on the situation. The optimal mix of measures to promote education for the rural poor needs to be identified in each country separately.

The impression that education in or for rural areas is a second rate education needs to be avoided at all costs. Where it exists, it will certainly diminish the demand for education. In order to avoid it, it must visibly be at par with education dispensed in urban areas. This means that it has to provide the same certificates, produce the same level of achievement, and have the same quality characteristics as education elsewhere in the country.

Relevant education content will, by itself, stimulate demand. Relevance has a utilitarian, a cultural, and a moral aspect. Content that is perceived as useful, in line with the cultural, religious and moral values of a population will enhance the attractiveness of education.

With reference to cultural values, it is very important that education is not seen as threatening. This risk seems to be more pronounced in rural than in urban areas. Any such perception of a threat will weaken the demand for education. The support of local leaders is crucial in this respect, as we have experienced in Pakistan.

Other issues relate to logistics and legal aspects: the distance to schools, the transport requirements for teacher INSET, the legal ownership of school buildings, the locus of authority over teachers. How these issues are being tackled will make quite some difference in the way education in rural areas is accepted.

ENDNOTES

1Promotion of Rural Regional Development Through Formal and Non Formal Education, Tanga, Tan-zania, October 1-12, 1985
2African Workshop on Primary School Agriculture, Kadoma, Zimbabwe, November 18-28, 1990.
3Foster's first set of original data was collected in 1959 in Ghana.
4Randow, Nora von, p.69: "Generell haben die meisten Eltern den Wunsch und das Ziel, ihren Kindern eine möglichst umfassende Schulbildung zu gewährleisten. Dabei ist jedoch eine starke Tendenz zu weiterführenden Schulen und Hochschulbildung erkennbar. ... Das Erlernen praktischer Fähigkeiten spielt .. eine untergeordnete Rolle, obwohl viele Eltern die klar erkennbaren Vorteile solcher Lernfächer .. erkennen."
5Wang, 2002:118 "Encouragement of the creation of locally established and managed schools appears to have been predicated upon the claims that such schools would: save educational expenditures; de-stroy the capitalist intellectuals' domination of the schools; popularise education; re-educate intellec-tuals; coordinate education so that the nation's youth would develop the proper attitude toward pro-ductive labor …"
6Wang, 2002:117: "The education revolution was based on the concepts of 'politics in command' in studying and teaching, and that 'education must serve the political ends of the proletariat'. Education professionals and students at all levels should participate in various types of productive labor in facto-ries, mines, rural people's communes and other labor sites nearby the school."
7Wang, 2002:118: "The policy of 'walking on two legs' required 'both the simultaneous promotion of various forms of education (general and vocational, children's and adult …' Among the various types of minban schools established at this time [1957-58, HB] the 'agricultural middle school', a half-day secondary school with nearly all courses unrelated to politics and agricultural techniques cut off, was set up in early every commune."
8UNESCO organised three projects that became famous during their time: the Bunumbu project in Sierra Leone, the Kwamsisi community school project in Tanzania, and the Namutamba project in Uganda.
9The term used was "mieux se débrouiller dans la vie" - get by in life.
10The author of the concept was Patrick van Rendsburg.
11 Buchholz:1992, p.51, translation mine: "Teachers do not seem suitable to instruct pupils in farming and garden-ing skills. A quotation by a Senegalese teacher illustrates this point when he says: 'The children know better than me how to do all this.' "
12 see Buchholz:1992, p. 52/53

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

1. Bergmann, H., Agriculture as a Subject in Primary School, International Review of Education, vol. 31, 1985, No 1, S.155-174
2. Bergmann, H., Basic Education As A Factor of Rural Development - Impact And Po-tential, Vortrag beim internationalen Symposium Regional Food Security and Rural Infrastructure des Zentrums für regionale Entwicklungsforschung der Universität Gießen, Mai 1993, veröffentlicht in: Thimm, H.-U., Hahn, H. (eds.). Regional Food Security and Rural Infrastructure, Schriften des Zentrums für regionale Entwicklungsforschung der Universität Gießen, Bd. 50, vol II, pp. 29-45, LIT Verlag Münster-Hamburg, Juni 1993
3. Bergmann, H., Concepts for Primary School Agriculture. in: Mades, Georg, Hrsg, Primary School Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa - Workshop Report and Resource Material, Eschborn und Bonn 1992, S.141-165
4. Bergmann, H., Input Requirements For PSA. in: Mades, Georg, Hrsg, Primary School Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa - Workshop Report and Resource Material, Eschborn und Bonn 1992, S.229-252
5. Bergmann, H., Primary School Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa - Main Features and Structural Elements. in: Mades, Georg, Hrsg, Primary School Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa - Workshop Report and Resource Material, Eschborn und Bonn 1992, S.53-78
6. Bergmann, H., Primary School Agriculture Vol.I and II, Eschborn, 1985
7. Bergmann, H., The Effects of Education on Rural Development, paper presented to the seminar "Promotion of Rural Regional Development Through Formal and Non Formal Education, Tanga, Tanzania, 1985, published in: Pädagogik: Dritte Welt, Jahrbuch 1985: Ländliche Entwicklung und gemeinsames Lernen, Frankfurt 1985
8. Buchholz, J. (1985-1986): "Formal and non-formal Education in Regional Rural De-velopment Projects " - State of the art report and guidelines, published by GTZ
9. Buchholz, J.: Promotion of Regional Rural Development (RRD) through Formal and Nonformal Education - Guidelines, GTZ, Rural Development Series, Eschborn 1987
10. Buchholz, J.: 'Training and Educational Components in Regional Rural Development Projects', Final report on a pilot project in Central African Republic, Togo and Sene-gal, GTZ, Eschborn 1992
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Booklet 1: "Motivating target groups",
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13. Foster, Philip, The Vocational school Fallacy in Development Planning. In: Ander-son, A.A., Bowman, M.J. (Eds.), education and Economic Development, Aldine, Chicago
14. King, Kenneth and Chris Martin, The Vocational school Fallacy Revisited: education, Aspiration and Work in Ghana 1959-2000. International Journal of Educational De-velopment 22, (2002) 5-26
15. Mades, Georg G. (Ed.), Primary School Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa - Work-shop Report and Resource Material, DSE - GTZ, Eschborn 1992
16. Psacharopoulos, George and William Loxley, Diversified Secondary Education and Development: Evidence from Colombia and Tanzania, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press for the World Bank, 1985
17. von Randow, Nora, Bildung als Faktor im Entwicklungsprozess - Praxisfächer in Kenia, unveröffentlichte Magisterarbeit, Berlin 2002
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19. Wang, Chengzhi, Minban education: the planned elimination of the "people-managed" teachers in reforming China, International Journal of Educational Devel-opment, Volume 22 Number 2, March 2002

ANNEXES

Annex 1: Cost Structure of Teaching/Learning Materials
Annex 2: Resource Requirements of Different Concepts of Teaching Agriculture



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