Competence in mathematics of grade III A teacher trainees in Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study covers work done I 1979. The supply of competent primary school teachers to handle primary mathematics has not kept pace with the tidal wave of children now flooding the schools and the myriad problems challenging tutors in Colleges of National Education today, none is more crucial than that of staffing classrooms with competent teachers. As a consequence of this dearth of teachers, the Ministry found it necessary to cut down the duration of training from the previous two years residential training programme to one year. Such a move can be considered an emergency approach to the problem of procuring teachers in a period of critical shortage. In view of the continued shortage of primary school teachers and the recommendations on the part of school teachers and the recommendations on the part of school teachers and the recommendations on the part of the Ministry for jettisoning the old teacher training programme, the writer found it desirable to investigate the mathematical competence of trainees enrolled to pursue the grad IIIa teachers course in mainland Tanzania. The main purpose of this study, therefore, was to investigate the mathematical competence of grade IIIa teacher trainees in Tanzania. The Secondary purpose of the study was to investigate some of the factors which affect the competence of these trainees in the subject. Data for this study was collected through a 40 item test, questionnaires and interviews. The study sample included 200 grade IIIa teacher trainees selected from five out of thirteen Colleges of National Education which offer among other courses the grade IIIa teacher’s course. The findings of this investigation have revealed that the majority of grade IIIa teacher trainees are not competent to mathematics and hence cannot teach the subject effectively. Among the factors affecting the trainees’ competence in the subject the researcher was able to identify the following: lack of background knowledge and understanding of the basic mathematical concepts and skills included in the mathematics programme for the course, short training duration and lack of motivation amongst those pursuing the course. In view of these findings, therefore, a recommendation was put forward that in the training of teachers, concern should not be only on the methodology component of the course (as was the case with the training of this sample), but rather we should be concerned also with providing background knowledge to these potential teachers so as to raise their ability to do mathematics. Thus, the manner in which potential teachers come to know the subject matter must also be given as deep consideration as the knowledge they are to learn.
Mathematics, Teacher training, Tanzania, Training of Tanzania
Lisso, T. R. (1979) Competence in mathematics of grade III A teacher trainees in Tanzania, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at