The perspective of educationists in the adoption of a specialist approach in teaching at primary school level in Swaziland : focus on the Manzini Region.
Xaba, Victor Mbon'seni.
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The study investigated the extent to which the concept of specialization is understood by those in the education system in Swaziland. The philosophy of specialization at primary school level comes at a time when Swaziland is making a leap towards the much publicized vision 2022, 'first world status.' After so many innovative ideas in different sectors of the kingdom, the Ministry of Education and Training in particular, no one has questioned the quality of the education system at primary school level in terms of moving from the traditional “generalist approach” to a “specialist approach”. On the basis of the findings, the study challenges the whole education system in Swaziland to review its policies to allow specialization at primary school level. The study stretched further to explore if the teachers produced by Swaziland‟s tertiary institutions are faring well in the primary education system of the country to ensure the quality of the product of Swaziland‟s education system through the use of specialization approach. A qualitative research approach was adopted under the social constructivist paradigm. As a phenomenological type of qualitative research, data generation depended on gathering deep information and perception through inductive, qualitative methods such as interviews, discussions and participant observation. The study used the theoretical framework of specialization to reflect on how the specialist approach can be framed by an education system to ensure its workability and efficiency. Primary school teachers, university lecturers, primary school inspectors, official from the National Curriculum Centre (NCC) and the Director of Education were interviewed. The study reveals that teachers are not comfortable with teaching all the subjects. The study argues that teachers ought to be given a leeway to choose subjects they feel comfortable to teach than being imposed to teach areas outside their specialization which they feel uncomfortable to teach. The study also illuminates the need to revamp the teacher training college curriculum to ensure that it is in line with specialization. Specialization ought to start at least at second year in teacher training institutions to give strength to subjects picked by student teachers for specialization. There is an ultimate call for those responsible in the deployment of teachers (Teaching Service Commission) to work hand in hand with heads of schools to ensure a balanced deployment of teachers in line with their specialization. The study also sets a departure point for other scholars to pursue research in the field of specialization at primary school, especially bringing on board those in the Public Service Ministry in Swaziland who are responsible for the employment of the civil service.