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CHAPTER SEVEN : Teacher Resource Centres in Zambia

1.0 Methods Used In This Study
2.0 The School System
3.0 How AIEMS Works
4.0 What Is The AIEMS Approach To INSET
5.0 What happens in the School Based Workshops and Teachers Groups
6.0 How Are Teacher Resource Centres Used?
7.0 How Much Does All This Cost?
8.0 So, What Conclusions Have We Come To About Resource Centres?
9.0 How Sustainable Are Resource Centres and How Is The AIEMS Approach?
10.0 Future uses for the Resource Centres

William Gibbs and Jason Kazilimani

1.0 Methods Used In This Study

In order to collect information about Teacher Resource Centres in Zambia and their role within the wider inservice programme (AIEMS) funded by the British Government we used two basic approaches, the collection of views and data through visits to primary schools, resource centres and district education offices. Attention was focused on the primary sector for two reason: it is the largest and most wide reaching sector and the one in which the centres were reported to be more effective. These visits were made over two periods often days each, one in September 1997, and one in April 1998, covering three provinces, over 20 schools and 10 resource centres, and involving individual interviews with a cross section of teachers, group discussions and lesson observations. We also collected information from Resource Centres about the nature of teachers visits during a sample month. We had hoped to follow up in some detail the workshops based around a particular skills module in the nation-wide INSET programme (AIEMS) but this proved impossible in the limited time. To our assessment of what we observed in a limited time both members of the study team also brought experience of the Zambian Primary classroom built up over 25 years.

2.0 The School System

Primary Schools go from Grade 1 to Grade 7 and aim to provide a universal primary education for all children They vary from single stream rural schools with 6 or 7 teachers, 4 of whom maybe untrained, to urban schools with 3 shifts coming in at different times of the day with over 1000 pupils and 30 members of staff, all trained.

Facts about Zambia


9.54 million

Population under 18

5.21 million

Population Density

11 per Km sq

Life Expectancy

43 years

Literacy Rate


Enrolment in Primary


To extend access to junior secondary education Basic Schools have been created in the last decade extending the education for more children to 9 years. This has been achieved by creating Basic Schools which go from Grade 1 to Grade 9. These are upgraded primary schools developed to spread the access to junior secondary (Grades 8 and 9).

Many competent primary teachers are keen to upgrade their qualifications so that they can teach in higher grades. A major incentive to do this is the growth of Academic Production Units, which are in essence private schools held after normal school hours in the existing school structure. They are run by teachers, are fee paying and provide an important opportunity for suitably qualified teachers to supplement their inflation hit salaries.

Most Secondary Schools go from Grade 8 to Grade 12 but there are some Junior Secondary Schools which only teach Grades 8 and 9. Because of the size of Zambia and the relative low density of population many rural secondary schools are boarding. Access to secondary education is by selection based on examination results.

2.1 Observations of primary schools

We saw a wide variety of classes and many subjects being taught. What follows is a collection of some of our impressions of the positive aspects of teaching and learning that we saw together with some analysis of problems that exist in Zambian Primary Schools.

The medium of instruction at all levels is officially English and the standard of teachers spoken English is good. Nearly all teaching is from the front of the class, the blackboard is the major means of communication and presentation of written and visual information. Materials for schools were originally developed by the Curriculum Development Centre in Lusaka. Increasingly private publishers are, with Government approval, taking on the task of developing, publishing and selling texts to schools. One result of the present policy of decentralisation is an increasing autonomy for schools to make choices about which texts they use.

A classroom in a city Primary school. The fabric of the classroom has been improved through the use of a World Bank Micro Project Grant. All the children have desks, there are good blackboards. There is little else on the wall as the classroom will be used by two other classes later in the day and charts and posters disappear. The children are experimenting with containers of different sizes to find out which holds more. The teacher had collected a large range of bottles, jugs and cartons and the children came to the front of the class in groups to watch while one child poured water from container to container. This is not a typical class but it exemplifies the talent that exists among teachers.

2.2 Glimpses of good and bad practice in schools we visited

In an upper primary class in Mpika a teacher has developed his own extraordinary experiment in classroom democracy. Children take considerable responsibility not only for their own learning but for that of others in their group. They also grade the teacher regularly on his punctuality, fairness, and clarity. Not one child looked up from their group activity when we entered the room. All were intent on the task. The class has 50 children and some have to sit on the floor due to lack of desks. The walls are virtually bear but the blackboard is well laid out with the days tasks. By contrast, in other classes we visited children were sitting in 'token' groups, often with their backs to the front of the class but teaching was still from the front.

A reputedly weak teacher is taking a class on bodily functions. One child raises their hand and the teacher allows the question, "Please Sir why is my breath warm when I breathe out?" The teacher stops and thinks for a moment and then asks all the children to try breathing out across the back of their hands and to report what they feel. There is intense experimenting for a few minutes.

A young untrained teacher is struggling to teach long division of decimals. He gives several examples on the board and the children grow impatient to try one themselves. Eventually with a few minutes of the class left he sets them one to do. It involves division leading to a recurring decimal, something he has not shown in his examples. The children are puzzled.

A teacher is inadequately and slowly drawing a map of Africa on the board. In the Head teachers office next door are a whole pile of class atlases.

The topic is pests. The teacher of grade 5 has taught a lively lesson full of questions but then produces a small and rather badly drawn picture of a mosquito which does not fit into the theme of his lesson, presumably to demonstrate that he is "using drawings" as suggested in Module 4 of the INSET course.

By contrast a teacher teaching about the flag of Zambia has brought into class a small paper replica as used on Independence Day and uses it as the basis of questions and observation.

We visit a school near Kafue. In a small room that the school has converted into their own little resource centre and library children are returning books they have borrowed and an office orderly checks them off. A parent is sitting with one of the teachers. He is asking her advice on what books he should buy for his children. The school has just bought its own supply of books with the help of the PTA which it can sell on to parents, teachers and children.

We visit a rural primary school. All the teachers are absent at a funeral; all except one who is teaching her own class while the rest of the children mill around outside.

Another school and the same pattern. This time the teachers are all attending a meeting with parents. The children play somewhat aimlessly in the school grounds. The Resource Centre based at this school is also closed. The coordinator is away on a course and the assistant co-ordinator is in a school 15 miles away. This Resource Centre was converted from a classroom though the school is short of classroom space. Two Grade 1 classes now have to double up so that there are eighty in one room.

Conditions for learning vary from class to class and school to school. Books issued from the Curriculum Development Centre in Lusaka often take a long time to reach rural schools. A source at the centre described how up to 80% of one text failed to reach the classroom. Physically there are signs that schools are improving due to the Micro Credit scheme that supports parental and self help improvement schemes. Several of the schools have refurbished classrooms, with walls around the school to prevent vandalism and theft. But some classes still have appalling blackboards where it is virtually impossible to read what is written on it.

3.0 How AIEMS Works

3.1 The origins of Action for the Improvement of English, Maths and Science (AIEMS)

In 1989 eight English Teachers Resource Centres were founded in eight selected secondary schools. Limited book resources were provided, a typewriter and duplicating machine. This equipment was later upgraded to an electric typewriter. It was out of this project, and out of SHAPE, that Action to Improve English Mathematics and Science (AIEMS) grew. The Self Help Action Plan for Education (SHAPE) started in 1986 with the support of SIDA and aimed to enhance the capacity of schools and colleges for self help especially in the 'practical' subjects, agriculture, industrial arts and home economics. It set up a structure of provincial, district, zonal and school based committees.

The perceived success of the English Teachers Resource Centres and the work done within the SHAPE project is cited in the ODA appraisal documents which developed the basis for the AIEMS programme as a justification for the expansion of the resource centre model. The organisational structure of SHAPE reappears in AIEMS and many of the SHAPE centres have been developed to become district Resource Centres within the AIEMS programme.

It is, however, worth commenting at this stage that the SHAPE centres had encountered difficulties in implementing change in the classroom, and that three of the characteristics of the earlier project in English were that the centres were:

a) secondary based
b) centred around small school-based resource centres
c) subject specific.

The National Resource Centre for SHAPE.

SHAPE as one of the predecessors of the AIEMS programme aimed at encouraging teachers to be self reliant in the creation of teaching and learning aids. Many of the District Shape Resource Centres were incorporated into the AIEMS TRCs. In Lusaka the National Centre now houses a considerable number of unique teaching aids developed by one imaginative teacher who has used low cost materials such as seeds, paper and papier mache to create a wide range of display items; a periscope made from papier mache. A mat made from seeds, portable blackboards made from hardboard. But the take up of these materials and ideas and use in the classroom has been negligible. For ideas to be viable on a larger scale they need to combine low cost with low preparation time and multiple use in the classroom.

The role of resource centres as designated in the project planning document for AIEMS in 1993 is outlined in two sentences:
'INSET delivery capacity will be expanded by building and equipping 14 provincial resource centres and equipping 57 district resource centres. '

'The INSET will enable teachers to make better use of the learning materials coming into schools. '

3.2 Development of the ideas behind AIEMS

How AIEMS was to be implemented is further developed in materials produced by AIEMS itself in the Management Module, (AIEMS 1994)

'To improve the quality in the teaching and learning of English, Mathematics and Science

1. Establishing a sustainable and well managed decentralised system for in-service teacher education

2. Providing the necessary resources to schools and training headteachers and teachers in methods of resourcing and better management of schools

3. Ensuring that disadvantaged groups, girls, women, rural pupils from poor socio-metric backgrounds have equitable access to project facilities and education in general.'

The needs as iterated by AIEMS

A nation wide provision of school based in-service for all primary and secondary teachers in the three core subjects English, mathematics and science. It is planned that this will be achieved through a decentralised system of resource centres in the Provinces and Districts and a cadre of trained trainers across the 9 Provinces, 61 districts and approximately 500 zones throughout Zambia using appropriate learning and training materials which will be developed by the Inspectorate and the Advisers. The specific objectives of the project are as follows:

'To strengthen and develop the existing provision in inservice education for teachers in the primary and secondary sector through the building of 14 Provincial Resource Centres and the rehabilitation of 61 District Resource Centres.'

Additional preparation for the development of the AIEMS programme was collected from a Base Line Study published by the Inspectorate in the Ministry of Education in July 1994. This did not establish base line levels of achievement in maths, science or English. In fact it is remarkably quiet on the particular requirements for the improved teaching and learning of these subjects. It did however highlight the need for:

· Comprehensive supply of text books
· Short school based courses linked to upgrading
· Gender sensitivity
· Reflection by teachers on their own performance
· More resource teachers and trainers
· More resourceful teachers
· Increased skills in assessment, monitoring and evaluation
· Encouraging pupils to develop thinking skills and work independently
3.3 How AIEMS works at each level

The central idea that underlies the AIEMS approach is a Cascade model of INSET which flows down through 5 levels in the Primary System and 3 in the Secondary. The 5 stages in the "cascade" reflect the 5 levels in the Zambian educational system: National, Provincial, District, Zone, School.

At the National Level the Implementation Team for AIEMS is located in the Inspectorate in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. This is made up of a Principal Inspector (INSET), Senior Inspector in Mathematics and Science, plus two UK advisers: in Science and in English. An adviser in Maths had left in 1996 and there is no Senior Inspector of English. This team is responsible for writing the Modules which have cascaded through the system.

Each of the sixteen Provincial Resource Centres is run by three co-ordinators, one for each of the major subjects on which the AIEMS programme focuses, Maths, English and Science. The coordinators were selected after the posts had been advertised and interviews held and all are experienced secondary teachers though not all are graduates. A high proportion are female.

Nearly all Provincial Resource Centres are purpose built to the same plan and supplied with the same equipment. The Centres are usually located in the grounds of a secondary school. In some large provinces - Copperbelt, Southern and Central Provinces - there are two Provincial Resource Centres.

The Kitwe Provincial Resource Centre is typical of the design built centre. It is well designed and built of attractive brick. The Resource Centre fits well physically into the school environment. The small windows keep the building cool, allow in enough light and help to prevent break-ins. The outside is decorated with two posters with a somewhat enigmatic message. Spaces in the building include a seminar room, materials store, offices, reprographics room, machine rooms, a library area, a kitchen and toilets.. Each centre has an office assistant who will be present when the coordinators are out in schools.

Kitwe Provincial Resource Centre has 158 Primary Schools in its provincial orbit and 23 Secondary Schools. The majority of schools are over 20 Km away.

The Kitwe Provincial Centre Catchment

Distance of Schools from TRC



0-2 Km



2-5 Km



5-10 Km



10 - 15 Km



15 - 20 Km



More than 20 Km



The furniture inside is flexible and solid. The walls decorated. This centre has a blackboard in a prominent position, some only had the inappropriate white board. Books are well catalogued but unused. Apparatus stands untouched on the shelf. Like all the other Provincial Centres this centre is well equipped with a photocopier, electric typewriter, duplicator, spiral binder, computer and printer, tape recorders, TV, camcorder and video recorder. Seminar rooms are furnished with tables and chairs, chalk board, and white board and flip chart easel. Provincial Resource Centres have four wheel drive vehicles and drivers.

AIEMS has also established District Resource Centres in each District in Zambia. These have a coordinator who is an experienced primary school teacher, a part time associate coordinator who is usually based at a nearby school and an office orderly.

District Resource Centres have often been adapted from existing buildings. Here in Choma the centre had previously been a Shape Resource Centre. It was located not in a school but next to the District Education Office. This has the advantage that teachers visiting to collect their pay and on other educational business may drop into the centre. It had the disadvantage of not being very close to classrooms and of the vehicle being more easily "borrowed" by senior education officials. The coordinator in this centre was very lively and had on her own initiative visited Lusaka to buy readers which she was taking out in sets to lend to schools.

In each district there are District Subject Trainers in the three key subjects. Each district may have 20 to 30 primary schools, 5 to 10 basic schools and 3 or 4 secondary schools, and some schools can be up to 60 kilometres distant from the centre.

Each district is divided into Zones made up of a group of from 4 to 7 schools which may be 10 to 15 kilometres apart. In each Zone there are a Zone INSET co-ordinator and 3 Zone subject trainers. The Zone INSET Co-ordinator has a bicycle. At School Level the pattern is again repeated with a senior teacher as INSET Coordinator and three teachers appointed to take on the role of resource teachers in the three key subjects. Each teacher is assigned to a teacher group. Workshops within the cascade model take place at each level with representatives being inducted into the course modules; until they reach the school where school based workshops are held to be followed up by teachers group meetings

3.4 The Cascade Model: What is being cascaded?

The materials developed for input into the "cascade" have been produced in the form of modules. These modules were generated by the Implementation Team with some input from Resource Centre Co-ordinators involved in the Pilot Phase, were piloted and then modified. Most modifications arising from the pilot phase were of a procedural nature intended to protect the modules from alteration during their trip down the cascade.


National Workshops


Provincial Workshops


District Workshops


Zonal Workshops


School Based Workshops

Earlier Modules (1, 2, and 3) were either related to secondary schools or to setting up and managing the Resource Centres. Module 4 is aimed at providing experience of different types of group activities for Teachers Groups. The Twelve Skills looks at common skills already in use in the classroom and seeks to develop them. Module 6, GEMS, is a more subject specific module. It has tasks and study activities for Teachers Groups to raise gender awareness. In addition it provides guidelines on activities in the three core subjects, English Maths and Science as taught in the primary school.

The Twelve Skills

Making and using Teaching Aids
Using Songs, Games and Rhymes
Encouraging Communication
Planning Lessons
Planning Group Work
Planning the Chalkboard
Using the Local Environment
Testing for Teaching and Learning
Questioning for Teaching and Learning
Exploiting the Text books

4.0 What Is The AIEMS Approach To INSET

The AIEMS programme in Zambia embodies three contrasting and conflicting approaches to INSET - Cascade, Teachers Resource Centres and School-based Workshops together with Teachers' Groups.

In essence these three models are based on different and conflicting ideas about how Inset should be delivered, about where expertise lies and about the role the school can play. Each strategy to some extent undermines the other. In particular both the cascade model and the school based workshops could be developed and implemented without Resource Centres.

The Cascade Model
Centralised analysis of need and design of inputs
Uniformity throughout the system
Delivery down a ladder of workshops.

Teachers Resource Centres
Provide expertise at district level
Localise needs analysis and design of inset
Provide high level reprographic facilities, libraries and seminar space which teachers can use for meetings, for Inset and to design learning resources

School Based Workshops
School decisions on needs
Reliance on expertise within the school
Development of school based resources

4.1 What happens in the Cascade System?

Let us now look at the cascade model as a means of disseminating ideas. The cascade model, if it is to be effective in changing teaching and learning in the classroom, relies on the careful development of relevant inputs which can be implemented in the classroom and on the effective replication of these strategies down the cascade. Let us consider each of these two elements.

4.1.1 Effective replication

Within any cascade the effectiveness of replication depends on the extent to which the purpose and objectives of each step in the cascade are the same. Within AIEMS the top and middle levels of the cascade share the common purpose of preparing participants to conduct a similar workshop for the next level down. Here the evidence is that the carefully structured modules allow for a high level of replication. However in the final stages of the cascade the purpose changes. At the school level the purpose of the workshop is to instigate teachers groups which have a multiplicity of tasks depending on the modules. These teachers' groups, and the content or process which they are expected to implement have not been modeled in any of the previous steps in the cascade, and consequently there is much confusion at this stage. Again, the final stage of Teacher Group to classroom differs in almost every essential from the initial stage of the cascade process.

It is perhaps significant that in the diagrammatic representation of the cascade that appears in the AIEMS Module booklets the cascade stops at the school level. There is no representation of the School workshop > teacher group > classroom stages.

As we looked at the cascade system in action within AIEMS critical elements within the model became apparent, each restricting the scope and effectiveness of the replication of training. We have called these factors the Filter Factor, the Status Factor and the Time Factor.

4.1.2 The Filter Factor

The need for replication inhibits the flexibility of cascades. A cascade is limited by the minimum conditions present at any level. It is as though there is a filter at each level in the cascade and each filter has a different gauge. Only particles that will pass through the smallest gauge have a chance of reaching the bottom. Within AIEMS this has severely restricted the forms of modeling that can take place within the training. For example, neither video-clips of teachers in action nor demonstration classes with children have been incorporated in the cascade because video players are available only when the training takes place at Resource Centres, and children are only available when the training takes place in schools. The inflexibility of the cascade has militated against these methods being incorporated and encourages the one method which is possible at any level: discussion, and talk.

A group of teachers at a Zonal workshop have been introduced very ably to the importance of drawing (one of the Twelve Skills in Module 5). All have contributed significantly to the discussion. They spend 30 minutes producing their own drawings. These are presented to the group. None of the drawings relates to any topic the teacher will be teaching next week. No attempt is made to improve their skills in drawing though clearly some are much more competent than others

4.1.3 The Status Factor

The relationship and status of leaders and participants also effects and limits the nature of the transactions at different levels of the cascade. At the highest level of the cascade, working with experienced and articulate participants, there is a natural reluctance to engage in practical and active tasks that might threaten the status of the participants e.g. reveal their weakness in questioning, or their inability to draw. This leads to an emphasis on the theoretical nature of the educational issue or skill being cascaded. This emphasis is then built into the processes and modules being cascaded. This was a marked feature of the Zonal workshops which were observed. The awareness-raising aspects were competently managed and effective, but the skill development tasks and critical reflection on personal skills were absent. The status factor has, within AIEMS, encouraged an abstract approach to ideas and skills being cascaded.

This group of teachers is attending a Zonal Workshop which in 3 days will cover all the 12 skills which they will introduce to their schools over the next 4 terms.

4.1.4 The Time Factor

One of the critical conditions that varies within steps of the cascade is the time available. Both the time available for the workshops and the time available for application vary considerably between the zonal and school levels.

4.2 Creating relevant Inputs for the cascade

Perhaps the most important factor in determining the effectiveness of the cascade model is the quality of input at the top of the cascade. Cascades are very demanding. Once a cascade has been started it requires continuous feeding and it is extremely difficult to design continuous quality input which:

· Matches actual needs with practical responses which can be practised.
· Will cascade successfully producing the expected outcome in the classroom.
· Is based on credible models of existing good practice.
· Relate to the immediate needs of a teacher and support next weeks lessons.
From our observations of the cascade in action we have drawn limited, but we hope useful, conclusions about what works when designing materials for the cascade.

Cascading is supported:

· When the input and output are the same: for example: participants are undergoing a "workshop" which they themselves are to replicate;

· When there is an opportunity to develop skills needed at the next level: for example in zonal workshops where resource teachers model in outline the sessions they themselves would run.

· When the outcome is simple and clear and resonates with existing practice: for example, the idea of teachers groups is a familiar one in all schools.

· When the idea is simple and clear and can be demonstrated easily at each level of the cascade; Example; dividing the blackboard in separate spaces to organise work

· When the aim is to raise awareness in teachers about educational issues through discussion: for example the gender ideas within the GEMS modules.

To meet all these conditions is extremely demanding and is severely limited in Zambia (and for that matter in any country) by the lack of personnel equipped to design adequate inputs; personnel who have the necessary imagination, experience in the classroom, and awareness of the severe limitations of the cascade system as outlined earlier. Cascades once established are voracious animals demanding to be fed and it is extremely difficult to feed them well. In the case of AIEMS it has led to either the rather thin soup of general teaching principles repeating in essence the basic ideas of initial training or the indigestible particles of subject material.

The illusion of immense activity, "millions of INSET hours", can easily conceal the lack of really valid inputs leading to clear and effective changes in classroom practice.

5.0 What happens in the School Based Workshops and Teachers Groups

After an initial period of producing modules for the cascade AIEMS identified the need to establish school based workshops and teachers groups. These are to be the end point of the cascade ensuring that ideas are taken into schools. The establishment of School-Based

Workshops have been one of the clear successes of AIEMS. As a result of the AIEMS programme all schools visited have run one or more school-based workshops.

Examples of Topics Discussed leading to a school policy change

· Equal access to all forms of sport for all children
· Equal duties and responsibilities regardless of sex
· No subject division based on sex.

From our observations of schools and from discussions with those involved in the workshops we have deduced that school workshops based on specific issues were those most likely to have some effect on school policy. Evidence of policy changes were found when the workshop was based on themes such as gender. Here school policy decisions were being taken as a result of the workshop. Follow up of the schools involved will be needed to find if these policies have been implemented.

Secondly, classroom outcomes appear more likely after subject based and in particular text-based workshops.

The Resource Centre Coordinator in Livingstone has run workshops based around the Zambian English Course Books which introduces a new methodology. The workshop has a specific context and is related directly to lessons to be taught because it is based around a text which is to be used in schools.

Thirdly evidence was found in some schools of the production of resources, demonstration models, charts (as suggested in Modules 4 and 5) and of story books written by teachers and children as a result of the Write a Book workshops (not part of the modular AIEMS programme). However, questions need to be asked about the relevance of the materials produced and the effectiveness of their use in the classroom.

Overall in our visits we saw no clear evidence of improved classroom skills as a result of he workshops (but the opportunities for observation were limited. Resource teachers reported change in questioning in one school and of the use of methods suggested for dividing up the blackboard in another.

In one school charts that had been made were too small for class use, and were rolled up and placed in the school resource centre for future use. They were not related to immediate classroom use, were not on display, and had not been made use of by other teachers (or even by the teachers who had made them). In another school models made had been sent to the Resource Centre to be put in the "shop window" and not to be used. In another school some of the children's own stories, produced as part of the 'Write a Book' workshops had been sent to the Resource Centre. Here they had been revised and edited but were not being read by other children. They had been sent to Resource Centres. They were not in the box of class readers kept at the school.

5.1 The establishment of Teachers Groups

As the AIEMS programme has developed there has been a shift away from the simple cascade model resulting in workshops outside the school to a commitment to stimulating workshops in schools run by school resource teachers. Linked to the school based workshops has been the drive to establish Teachers Groups which will follow up the ideas introduced in the workshop. Module 4 has the specific aim of establishing groups and introducing teachers to a variety of means of working in groups.

We found clear evidence that AIEMS Teachers' Groups have been established in all schools. From the records kept by District Resource Co-ordinators there is evidence that the AIEMS groups have not only been formed but have met. Files had been kept on the meetings in Module 4 and Heads had timetables of meetings and lists of group members.

The concept of teacher groups is well established already within the Primary School System. Previous programmes such as SHAPE and Child to Child set up groups in schools. In one school visited the head reported proudly that he had 18 groups or committees in the school including SHAPE, Child to Child, Chongololo (wildlife). Preventive Maintenance, Discipline, Sanitation and Obituary (sic). The concept of having an AIEMS groups was thus easy for Heads and teachers to accept.

5.2 How are Teacher Groups being implemented?

Module 4 presents five "Types" of groups. In fact two of the five, EROTI and Action Research, are models of how the Teachers Groups can function. The other three describe topics to be investigated by groups (reading, cross curricular issues, learning resources). Both models for group action, EROTI and Action Research, are sophisticated and complicated. EROTI is one of those dangerous acronyms that hides its purpose which is for teachers to identify a skill to be developed in the classroom, to reflect on it, and then for a demonstration lesson to be held for members to observe and comment on. The evidence we collected suggests that some schools have implemented the Observation and Discussion part of the EROTI groups. In one school the co-ordinators had on their own initiative decided to hold a Whole School Workshop to explain and demonstrate EROTI as Teachers' groups had failed to understand the idea.

A resource teacher in one school we visited was very enthusiastic about the EROTI method of working. This was one of the methods detailed in Module 4 and intended as a model for Teachers Groups. She told us proudly how she was implementing the EROTI method in her classroom.

The relative success of the EROTI group meetings may be due to the fact that there as a step by step process to follow, that demonstration and observation are activities not far distant from those of teaching practice at college. >From our observations it would seem that the younger teachers were the ones prepared to teach in front of their peers. Perhaps older teachers had more to loose or the process was more familiar to the younger ones from their training. The relative failure of the topic group meetings suggests that they were not related to teachers needs

Evidence of the use of Action Research was more difficult to find but two examples described by teachers were:

1. an investigation of school lateness leading to a staff decision to move registration 10 minutes before assembly rather than after.
2. an investigation of the first language "problem" in school and a staff decision to insist that all informal interactions between staff and students be conducted in English.
No other examples of outcomes from group topics were found.

Three factors why Teachers Groups have had difficulties in implementing the models advocated in Module 4

· The lack of clarity and confusion within the module itself about the nature and role of the groups and the decision to attempt a multiplicity of models,

· The lack of any clear modeling of the groups at any stage in the cascade,

· The ideas behind the groups did not arise out of " good practice" in Zambian Primary schools but were the adaptation by the implementation team of ideas from other systems.

5.3 Problems with running Teacher Groups

As a result of Module 4 all schools we visited had run teachers groups. Some INSET coordinators we talked to were keeping very elaborate files with teachers each completing teacher 'Group Forms' and these being filed (this was partly related to the initial plans for the accreditation of AIEMS activities by the University of Zambia, an idea that has not been realised).

Many involved in the programme are aware that teachers' groups are proving fragile and there is evidence from our interviews with teachers that:

· Teachers' Groups are not taking place as frequently as planned for in the modules
· Some schools have simplified the procedure by having school-based workshops and no teachers groups.
· Groups meet for a very short time.

The following factors contribute to the decline in the regularity of Teachers Group Meetings:

· It is difficult to find a time to meet.
· They take up time of teachers already loaded with two or more teaching sessions.
· Teachers do not see them as relevant to their immediate teaching needs.
· The original accreditation system has not been put in place.
· The membership of the groups are random.
· The groups as elaborated in Module 4 are complicated.

5.4 Possible ways to encourage teacher's support for Teachers Groups

The potential problems with Teacher Groups are becoming more critical as teachers move into Modules 5 and 6 which place much emphasis on the role of the Teachers Group and expect a meeting almost once a week. This will not be practical unless new ways of making the groups viable are found.

Some suggestions for facilitating Teachers Group Meetings

· Finding a convenient time by basing teachers groups on sessions taught i.e. drawn from all the morning, session teachers.
· Time-tabling the Teachers' Groups in teaching time (and increasing children's time off task?)
· Making them strictly voluntary
· Providing an incentive in the form of credits towards a qualification that can be collected for preparing and running a group session, presenting a lesson on a particular topic for others to watch (preparing a test, exercise or activity that can be used by all the teachers of grade
· Basing the groups on interest groups e.g. Maths Science English.
· Basing them on Grade or level groups e.g. Teachers of grade 1,2 Teachers of grade.
· Basing the activities for the groups around normal tasks that can be made easier by meeting in groups; Lesson scheming, test writing, marking etc.

5.4 Time lost through inservice workshops

Teacher absence from the classroom is disturbingly common in Zambian Schools. In over 20% of the primary schools visited little or no teaching was going on; teachers were attending funerals or meetings or 'on leave'.

AIEMS proclaims on its files that "One million training hours will ensure four thousand school-based INSET years".

This means that for each inset training hour during school time 40 children are without a teacher for an hour. One million training hours will ensure 40 million pupil hours lost.

All INSET programmes need to confront the issue of time lost in the classroom. The AIEMS programme is no exception. In fact it involves more teachers hours out of the class than most other INSET programmes, in both school-based workshops and teacher groups. As one primary teacher commented "Too many seminars and workshops disrupt class teaching". In the worst example of time lost to Teachers Groups we found that a teachers group scheduled from 9.30 to 10.30 meant in fact that the teachers did not return to classes even when the Teachers' Group had finished and classes were untaught from 9.30 to 12.00.

6.0 How Are Teacher Resource Centres Used?

As part of the information collected for this case study co-ordinators in a sample of ten Resource Centres were asked to keep records of the teachers who visited the centre during the month of January 1998. Co-ordinators were also asked if January was a normal month representing a fair picture of their centres. Two replied that as January was the start of the year figures were lower than normal. To compensate for this in the calculations that follow we doubled the figures for January.

Consolidated Data from 10 Resource Centres over 1 month

Number of Visits by Teachers


For a meeting


To use the library


To use the computer


To use the photocopier


To use the video


To use the duplicating machine


To consult centre staff


On average in each centre

· teachers per day visit the centre
· teachers per week come for meeting
· teacher every two days comes to use the library
· teacher every 4 days comes to use reprographic facilities for professional use
· teacher every 3 days comes to consult centre staff

Use of the Resource Centres for workshops and teachers' meetings amounts to about 10% of the time available. (The 1993 project document called for a 90% utilisation rate by 1998). In the Livingstone District, which has both a DRC and a PRC, the teacher visits to centres in the month represent about 6% of the total teaching force. From our interviews with teachers in a Phase 1 area, the percentage who have made any visit to use the Centres facilities was 15%.

6.1 The effect of distance on use

Distance traveled by visitors to the TRSs

0 - 1 km


1 - 5 km


5 - 10 km


10 - 15 km


15 - 20 km


20 + km


The data indicates that the distance teachers have to travel in order to reach the Resource Centre is an important factor influencing frequency of visits. There is a sharp decline in the number of teachers prepared to travel more than 5 km.

The table also indicates that visits by teachers in schools right next to Resource Centres are not high. The figure of 27% represents 70 teachers, a visit rate of about 2 teachers per centre per week from the "base" school. The data also indicates that some teachers are prepared to travel long distance to visit the centre, distances which may be as much as 80 km.

6.2 What do teachers make in the resource centres?

There is no evidence to indicate that teachers are using the centres to make teaching aids and there is very little evidence that teachers are using the centres in any significant way for the creation of teaching and learning materials for children's use. The number of teachers creating classroom materials represents one teacher per centre per month. Much of the photocopying which is done for school use is to replicate administrative forms and documents. Very little use is made of the duplicating facilities available (some schools have there own duplicators). Almost half the teachers using the photocopier use it for private use. There is no evidence that these teachers who visit the Centres to use the photocopier for private use then take advantage of the centre for professional use.

We found only a few isolated examples of teachers who are using the RC to create learning materials:

· A group of Grade 7 teachers preparing a mock Grade 7 exam
· A senior secondary teacher preparing revision notes for Class 12
· A primary teacher preparing materials for private tuition classes

This secondary teacher has traveled over 40 km to prepare revision notes for his class in Agricultural Science. He is not passing them on to other teachers as he hopes to publish them in the near future.

For this small group the Resource Centres provide an important stimulus and it is difficult to estimate heir value within the whole system. It is to teachers like these that Zambia needs to look in the future for new curriculum ideas and textbooks.

6.3 Pupil use of the resource centres

There is considerable variation in the use of centres by pupils, but there is no evidence that teachers are using centres systematically with their pupils.

At one Provincial Resource Centre we were told "This is a teachers Centre. It is not for children". At others we found children who regularly used the centre for private study, to study past exam papers and to do their homework. Most pupils using Centres came from examination classes.

Use of Resource Centres by Pupils (10 centres in a 1 month period)

Total number of Students







Photocopying, tuition

The highest use by pupils was 67 visits in the month. Students working in one provincial centre came regularly for 2 hours a day to study (the school library was closed). This indicates the huge potential Resource Centres have for serving student needs.

7.0 How Much Does All This Cost?

The AIEMS project is funded initially by a £12 million grant from UK Aid, administered by the British Council. The plan is for the Government of Zambia to take over the funding of the Resource Centres and it has agreed to a monthly grant to Provincial Resource Centres of K800, 000. This is an important commitment and demonstrates considerable Government support for the programme. Included too as a Government contribution are the salaries for all teachers who are seconded to work full time in Resource Centres. However, programmes are at present being delayed as the payments are 6 months behind schedule.

The Monthly Balance Sheet for a Provincial Resource Centre














Workshop Costs





Hire of Centre


Selling food






7.1 Income generation

The training of Centre Coordinators stressed the importance of covering costs by raising funds. Centres charge for schools and individuals to become members of the centre. Photocopies are K1 50-300 each with a discount for members. For some centres this initially was a major source of income. However, the example has stimulated local business men to follow suit and set up their own copying business and income has dropped dramatically (though many clients favour the Resource Centres as they provide a better service). Food is prepared and sold mainly to school children using the RC kitchen. Some income also comes from use of the computer and videos.

Some centres (Mpika, Monze) have used the income they have generated to buy deep freezers, and one (Choma DRC) to buy children's books.

7.2 Cost of workshops

The AIEMS workshops are costed at K23, 000 per person per day. Participants are provided with transport, accommodation and food plus K3000 'out of pocket' allowance. This is for all workshops down to Zonal level. There is no funding of school-based workshops except for a starter grant of K30, 000 for stationery. As a guideline to educational costs in Zambia; a pen costs about K150, an exercise book about K200, a pupil's maths book about 4500.

8.0 So, What Conclusions Have We Come To About Resource Centres?

Nearly all teachers we talked to had a positive attitude towards the Resource Centres and the AIEMS programme. For a small number of teachers they were providing a much needed spur and stimulus to their teaching, and even those who had never visited them felt they must be a good thing, helping teachers "to make teaching aids". This "Sunshine Effect" cannot wholly be ignored. Focusing large amounts of money, resources and energy on activities that support teachers and show that they are valued does help to improve morale and provides for a general feeling of improved status.

8.1 The role of Resource Centres in the AIEMS INSET programme

TRCs play a very limited role as training venues for the Cascade Model because they are too small and do not offer accommodation. The Zonal Workshops which we observed were at other centres, schools or institutions. In nearly all cases, School-Based Workshops and Teacher Groups meet in their school buildings, and TRCs play no role in these. The 'use rate' optimistically predicted in the project document of 90% use by 1998 has no where near been realised. The present 'use rate' for training is less than 15%. We conclude that as training centres Teacher Resource Centres are not essential to the Cascade/School based strategy adopted by AIEMS.

The resources and facilities available at TRCs are only marginally instrumental to the cascade and school-based workshops. Some materials are provided to school-based workshops in the inevitable form of chart paper and pens. Occasionally extra copies of the module manuals are made at the TRC. We conclude that the facilities and resources available at Teacher Resource Centres are not integrated into the AIEMS programme as developed in the modules and school based workshops.

The initial role of the Resource Centre as the focus for the delivery of INSET has been modified as the AIEMS programme has developed. The focus has shifted away from the Resource Centre to the school; to the school-based workshop and the teacher groups.

The modules and workshops so far developed, based as they are on developing teachers groups and school-based workshops, are not aimed at stimulating the use of the facilities available at Resource Centres by teachers. The underlying philosophy of the school-based approach to INSET is in conflict with the idea of District Resource Centres stressing the importance of the school to act as a self sufficient institution and to look to itself and its own resources for its development. District Resource Centres and school-based workshops reflect different and conflicting strategies for INSET.

The cascade approach to INSET encourages a dependency on centralised initiatives and a top-down approach which both reinforces a telling/talking approach to INSET and marginalises initiatives at Resource Centre level. Funding policies which subsidise cascade training also establish levels of expectation among participants in terms of per diems/travel allowances which will be hard to sustain. The cascade model of INSET impedes the development of resource centre initiatives in providing localised INSET.

8.2 Resource Centres as centres of resources

The Resource Centres at present provide no significant contribution to improved resources in the classroom. The concept of centres as "showcases" of resources has meant that there is more emphasis on collecting teaching aids and models from schools than in disseminating them to schools. Resource centres make no significant contribution to improved resources in the classroom.

One teacher remarked that "we do not have a reading culture". The evidence on teacher use reveals that teachers are visiting the centres in small numbers to read, study and in some cases borrow books. Text-books and teachers guides remain the core book resources that teachers use. Selecting books for centres that will effectively supplement Zambian texts is extremely hard. Most UK primary texts are totally unsuitable. Pupils are also beginning to use the centres both as a study area and as a library. Books remain the central educational resource.

8.3 Resource Centres as centres stimulating the creation of learning materials

A culture does not exist among primary teachers in Zambia of creating classroom learning materials other than on the blackboard. This is realistic given class sizes and the cost in both time and money of creating worksheets, work-cards, etc. Only a tiny minority of teachers are using centres to develop their own learning materials. It is, of course, vital for the development of the primary system in Zambia that these creative and exceptional teachers are recognised and supported. Our experience suggests that these teachers are either teaching senior exam classes or private classes. Resource Centres provide support for a tiny minority of teachers to create classroom materials.

Resource Centre location has an important influence on use. Two factors that appear to effect use are:

1. Proximity to District Headquarters, Ministry of Education and commercial centres. It was reported that most visits are made when teachers come to collect their salaries.

2. Type of school in which the centre is located; there is not enough data from our survey to compare the performance of centres situated in primary, basic and secondary schools but from our own observations the least used District Resource Centre was located in a secondary school.

Distance and transport problems and costs mean that for the vast majority of teachers Resource Centres are inaccessible. However, even when Resource Centres are right on their doorsteps teachers make little use of the facilities. The range of the Resource Centre as a 'drop in' centre is 5 Km

8.4 Resource Centre Co-ordinators

The TRC personnel play a key role in the Cascade system as facilitators, trainers and monitors - but not as initiators, moderators or adapters of the process. The bulk of their time is spent as trainers of the received modules within the cascade and passive monitors of the process at school workshop level. The TRC coordinators are fully integrated into the Cascade model and are effective and efficient managers of the system. However, they play little active role in the school workshops or in teachers groups. (An exception to this is the revised role that co-ordinators have been given in the secondary cascade where they are now taking responsibility for initiating school based workshops)

8.5 Teachers attitudes to Resource Centres

Nearly all teachers interviewed were very positive about the presence of Resource Centres and thought they were valuable, but a majority had not used them. This has puzzled us and we can only suppose this can be put down to the following possible reasons:

· Any initiative that recognises teachers needs and is dedicated to teacher enrichment helps to raise the self esteem of the profession.

· Zambians are polite and gracious

· Donor driven programmes and centralised initiatives have been the norm for so long that "dependency" has lead to uncritical acceptance.

· Teacher training has always emphasised that teaching should be more "teaching- aid" based. When asked what they thought they might use the Teacher Resource Centres for many teachers suggested the making of teaching aids. Resource Centres fit into the idea of what "teaching should be like".

Resource Centres and AIEMS have been very positively received by primary teachers, but there is a lack of constructive criticism (reflection and suggestion) on the role of Resource Centres.

9.0 How Sustainable Are Resource Centres and How Is The AIEMS Approach?

9.1 Sustaining the programme i.e. the Cascade, Teacher Resource Centres, School Based Workshops and Teachers Groups

The two major factors undermining sustainability of the cascade are the ability to provide quality cascade-proof inputs and the high cost of financing a pyramid of workshops. MoE Zambia does not have the ability to sustain either of these without donor support.

Possible support from other donor funded programmes will keep some parts alive. PAGE the programme to advance Girls Education has already supplied an input into the Modular Programme which is incorporated in the GEMS module. The British support programme to establish a first language literacy programme is exploiting the system set up at zonal level and may be able to use some Resource Centre facilities. The Danish supported Preservice Teacher Education Programme is going to incorporate Resource Centres in supporting the training which aims to reduce the residential course to 1 year with a year placement in schools.

So some elements will be sustained through the support provided by future donor aided programmes. These are likely to be the organisational structures of delivery with an increased emphasis on the role of the zonal group as an effective unit and the physical structure of the Resource Centres. To what extent the skills which AIEMS and Resource Centres have tried to develop will be built upon is much more open to question. For example, the effective use of the Resource Centre as a focus for trainee teachers in school placements remains highly doubtful. This would require trainee teachers to be posted to schools clustering around Resource Centres; it means developing in Resource Centre Coordinators skills of mentoring, course preparation and course delivery, all of which are new; and it will mean co-ordinating the role of the centres with the Preservice colleges.

9.2 Sustaining the organisational structure established, i.e. jobs of national to zonal co-ordinators

The costs of all posts except those of consultants is at present met by the Ministry of Education in Zambia. In this sense the structure is sustainable. Two caveats here. The role of Resource Centre Co-ordinators will be severely constrained if and when transport becomes unavailable (through loss of control to senior education officers, increasing mechanical failure, maintenance and fuel costs).

One very able Resource Centre Co-ordinator we met had made no visits to schools in the last 2 months. Her vehicle had been appropriated by the local inspector.

Secondly the programme as it exists is identified as a national programme and increasing moves to decentralise the financing and control of the school system will marginalise all central programmes.

The Principal Education Officer in Southern Province has many ideas for developing Primary Education in her province. One scheme is to develop the role of specialist teachers in key subjects. This plan does not include using the existing Resource Teachers established by the nation-wide AIEMS programme.

9.3 Sustaining the facilities

The major investment in physical structure has been the Resource Centres and in the resources they contain. The most heavily used resources will be the first to suffer. Photocopiers are heavily used and maintenance charges are high. If realistic rates are to be charged which cover maintenance AND replacement then most Centres will have to increase their charges.

In the section below on the 'Future Use of Resource Centres' detailed suggestion for their continuing use have been made and these have been based on two criteria; how are they being used at present and which uses are low cost and use existing resources. To ask the severest question; what role can Resource Centres have when there is no fuel for the vehicle, no ink for the duplicator and no electricity? Some Resource Centres already have experience of these conditions and still play an important but limited role as quiet places for pupils to study.

9.4 Sustaining the ideas

One key idea that lies behind the way the AIEMS programme has developed and behind the initial vision for Teachers Centres and in particular the development of teachers groups is that of developing teachers' capacity to be reflective, to identify and solve their own problems. However much we may approve of this idea in theory, and it does underlie an enormous amount of the present writings on teacher development, we seriously need to consider its effectiveness in the reality of the Zambian school and classroom. We also need to consider the effectiveness of the strategies used to bring it about. Do the strategies provide a context and structure in which each of these elements can be developed. In Zambia these have been threefold; provision of Resource Centres, the development of a cascade system, and the setting up of a school based system. Here is an attempt to make a simplified analysis:

Opportunities for Reflection

Opportunities for Identification of Problems

Opportunities for Application


Opportunity for discussion, awareness raising within a tight timescale.

Problems already identified at the top and passed down

No opportunity to apply in the classroom until the bottom of the cascade.

Teachers Groups

Opportunity for discussion. Strong time constraints

Some opportunity to identify problems specifically those in demonstration lessons and at policy level. Subject based modules deal with pre-ordained topics

Decisions on school policy (language use, equal opportunities) Some teachers through taking lessons which are observed.

Resource Centres

But some opportunities for teachers to read and meet.

Reinforces the idea that resources are the main problem and that teaching aids are the solution

For a few talented, highly motivated teachers who use Resource Centres to create learning materials.

This analysis suggests that the ability to develop reflection, problem identification and application in the classroom is minimal in all strategies, with Resource Centres at the bottom. However, looking at skills developed more generally within the AIEMS structure we found evidence in our discussions and observation of leaders within the system that they had benefited individually from the opportunities provided. For example, we can identify Resource Centre Co-ordinators who had ideas about programmes they could run related to specific needs and in some cases had run their own workshops. We found Zonal Co-ordinators who showed improved skills in running participatory workshops with other teachers. There were some School Resource Teachers who had been given increased responsibility in organising workshops and had used their own initiative to structure them in the their own way.

From this we conclude that those given a role to play within the system have benefited from it. The ability to spread this involvement widely and to school level is one of the most successful outcomes of the AIEMS programme. As the Cascade model leading to teachers workshops involves a large number of teachers in the process of running workshops it is the most effective strategy at developing skills related to this task. To a degree this task does involve teachers in thinking about their own teaching especially when they have to demonstrate lessons to others.

But is this sustainable; will these skills and talents be built upon? The fragility of the Teacher Groups has been discussed in detail. The demonstration lesson as a basis for continuing school based workshops is cheap and replicable but how often are teachers prepared to put themselves on show? What are the incentives to continue?

AIEMS has established a series of incentives based on status and limited financial reward. It has significantly failed, however, to establish sustainable incentives based on improved qualifications. Also, the sustainability of financial and status incentives will always be at risk in any programme which is both donor funded and time limited.

One vital element that ensures a degree of continuity of the ideas in any inservice programme is "the book". The AIEMS programme from its inception had been concerned about increased text book supply (mainly at the secondary level) and planned to introduce a revolving fund system to increase and maintain the supply of texts. This was abandoned early on within the programme.

The subject elements within the primary programme aim to hit a few trouble spots spread over the whole primary curriculum. Sustainability would have been greatly increased if the teachers had materials which support their every day to day teaching in the way that they teach.

Our personal opinion for how to improve sustainability is to provide teacher texts and pupils books. A major weakness in the Zambian classroom, for example, is the lack of material to help teachers develop mental mathematics. A continuing impact can be made by focusing on this element, developing step by step teachers guides and pupils exercises for classroom use.

10.0 Future uses for the Resource Centres

The figures from our research suggest that Resource Centres are at present underused. They will need to find alternative roles which make them a vital part of the educational system, if they are to survive in the future. In our discussions with the Ministry of Education, teachers, co-ordinators and from our own observations the following suggestions have arisen. They are based on a different conception of the role of Resource Centres; one based on our observations and belief that there is a need:

· To build on examples of existing good practice in Zambian Schools

· To change centres from Museums of unused teaching aids into bases in which coordinators can work with teachers to improve the supply of basic teaching resources in schools.

· To have a realistic view of the limitations that centres can play in training both due to costs and lack of expertise in training.

10.1 Resource Centres as support centres for the work of the school in which they are located (the base school).

Although visits to the Resource Centres by teachers working in the 'base school' are higher than for other schools they are still very low. The Resource Centres are independent of their base schools, although several head teachers felt initially that they would be theirs and the quality of the relationships between school and centre management vary from the very positive to the distinctly hostile, clouded by professional jealousy. As a minimum. Resource Centres can become classrooms in schools that are short of teaching rooms, i.e. become teaching space for at least one session a day.

Suggestions for the role the Resource Centre can play in the school

· Establishing the centre as the school staff-room and encouraging staff to use it in both a formal and informal way, as a space for staff to mark books, to read newspapers and magazines or even to have a cup of tea.

· INSET co-ordinators at the base school being assistant RC co-ordinators. This is already the case with some centres.

· Establishing the base school as a "model" or "touchstone school".

· Having regular classes from the base school time-tabled in the Centre.

· Developing the Centre as the School Library, as a place where pupils can borrow books, as a study centre for students where they can do their homework, or read newspapers and magazines.

· Developing the Resource Centre as the resource room for the school with texts stored and borrowed from centre. Examples already exist in certain schools which can serve as a model.

· Co-ordinators taking some teaching responsibilities in the base schools. Schools are short of capable and able teachers and, yet over one hundred able teachers have been taken out of the classroom to become co-ordinators. Co-ordinators by teaching in schools in a limited way would be both providing support for the base school, keeping themselves in touch with classroom realities and able to develop teaching ideas, methods and skills. Furthermore, co-ordinators could invite other teachers to observe their lessons and use their classes as the basis for demonstration and to generate discussion of teaching techniques and materials.

10.2 Resource Centres as centres of textbook and school supplies.

The principle resources used by teachers are textbooks, teacher's guides, and blackboards. The principle resources used by pupils are pupil texts, readers, pens, pencils and exercise books. The top priority for Resource Centres is increasing and extending the provision of resources with which teachers are familiar and developing with teachers more effective ways of using a limited number of books.

Resource Centres should have on display all the textbooks and readers now published and approved so teachers can make choices about which to buy. Choice over which books are used in the classroom is gradually being devolved. Decisions on which books to buy are now being taken by staff e.g. At Lusaka Boys School those teaching Grade 2 decided to change to the Macmillan Series. Teachers need to be able to see all the texts available so they can make informed choices.

10.3 Resource Centres act as bookshops selling textbooks approved by the Ministry but published by independent publishers.

Over recent years there has been a growing change in the practice and policy for the production of curriculum material with an increasing role being played by the private sector. The Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) no longer has a monopoly in the creation of classroom materials. It is now recognised that CDC has failed in this respect and CDC is now only responsible for syllabus development and material evaluation. The role of production of materials is now largely in the hands of commercial publishers..

However, the Resource Centres could play a vital link role in spreading the opportunity for book buying throughout the whole of Zambia. The sales manager of one leading publisher in Lusaka (Macmillan, Zambia) when interviewed spoke of his interest in using the Resource Centres as outlets and allowing them a 25% price share.

One way that the Resource Centres have begun to act as book suppliers is through the renting of dictionaries to schools. Boxes containing 35 dictionaries have been taken to schools by co-ordinators and schools are paying K5, 000 per term for the books whose use is managed by the school itself. Early indications are that this scheme is working well and provides a potential strategy for book supply on a much wider scale.

10.4 Resource Centres act as centres for the supply of school stationary supplies

If the Centres are to be commercial centres, as they certainly are with their photocopiers, then a high priority must be given to the supply of educationally useful materials. The Centres that have used their profits to buy deep freezes need to be encouraged to look at more educationally valuable enterprises.

In one centre which was visited during this study the co-ordinator was running a very successful (private) business in the supply of exercise books, pens, pencils etc. to schools, parents and pupils. A stock had been established with an initial loan and supplies are sold both at the centre and delivered on bicycle. Other Centres might follow this model but integrate it into the professional services offered by the Centre.

One Resource Centre co-ordinator has suggested that responsibility for the supply of resources in the district schools could be given directly to Resource Centre co-ordinators. Co-ordinators working with zonal and school resource teachers would identify the areas of greatest need and seek to alleviate them through the following strategies:

· Copies of texts in short supply held in class sets at Resource Centres for rotation among schools, or

· Teachers in a particular school create copies of materials in short supply by using the Centre scanner and duplicator.

· Making texts go further by breaking them into chapter sections and copying in pamphlet form.

· Introducing into schools the lost art of tracing so that pupil's workbooks e.g. those in the ZEBEC course, are used. At present these are not being used as teachers are reluctant to allow children to draw on them. Instead children are asked to copy the whole page (a quite unsuitable activity).

Even when books do reach schools they were often found in unopened boxes in the Heads office. The reluctance on the part of Heads to use the books stems in part from the recent emphasis on their role as good managers of materials and the stress that has been laid on the fact that each book should last for 3 years. This has meant that some Heads have decided that it is either better to keep them safe in their boxes or distribute only one third of the books.

10.5 Resource Centres as creators/publishers of learning materials

A few but significant examples exist of teachers creating learning materials using the facilities of the Resource Centres.

Examples of materials produced with some support from Resource Centres

· Typed copy of children's story
· Mock examination papers
· Reports of twinning experiments in school and "The Democratic Classroom"
· Log tables and maths problems

The potential of these for wider circulation is not being realised. As a top priority Centres can celebrate, duplicate and circulate teacher produced materials both among centres and within their own schools: for example, scanning and duplicating and selling copies of the stories written in the Write a Book scheme at present lying unused in the centres. The production of localised curriculum material is one of the justifications for Resource Centres emerging from the Tanzania Conference. No evidence was found of this in the Centres in Zambia.

With the coming of the First Language Literacy programme "Breakthrough to Literacy" there is now a perfect opportunity for Centres to play a leading role in stimulating the writing of reading materials in the language of their area.

10.6 The Resource Centre as a mobile resource bank of books and resources which are taken out to schools.

The example, mentioned above, of the District Resource Centre Co-ordinator in Choma shows the pro-active role that-co-ordinators can take in using their vehicle and their discretionary funds in a creative way. The success of that example stems form a partnership of co-ordinators with teachers in identifying classroom needs and taking to schools the resources requested. This could be extended so that the co-ordinator facilitates the supply, rotation and sharing of limited resources.

10.7 The Resource Centre as study centres for teachers

Inservice of the form that AIEMS has provided is expensive. It has also attempted to provide courses for ALL teachers and to cope with universal needs. This has lead to a lack of focus and, by implication, effectiveness. An alternative strategy is to identify groups with specific needs. Within Zambia this includes untrained teachers, trainee teachers on school placement year, teachers studying for further qualifications, and even more specifically class 2 teachers of mathematics who have no teachers guide or pupils book to follow. It also includes Class 6 teachers who have just received the new science text and want to learn how to use it.

Mazabuka District has set up its own course for untrained teachers. The course is run by practising teachers