2.0 Teacher resource centres as centres for resource access and development
3.0 Teacher resource centres as centres for in-service training
5.0 Teacher Absenteeism and TRCs
6.0 Summary of Findings
It is significant and highly laudable that education development projects have as their prime objective for Teacher Resource Centres that they should be used to improve the classroom performance of teachers and hence have a positive impact on teaching and learning. However, all our findings point to just how difficult it is for TRCs to achieve these goals.
The major problem with TRC strategy is that it is not designed to work inside schools. TRCs are detached from schools. This is particularly the case with purpose built structures, but it is true even when they compose a classroom in a school Teachers leave their classes to come to TRCs, most commonly to participate in in-service courses. The work they do at the TRC often becomes simply something that one does on the course: not something to translate into action with pupils. This happens particularly in up-grading, certificate courses where the content is often highly theoretical. It also happens on shorter, in-service courses associated with cascade programmes where new curricula, equipment and pedagogical skills are introduced. There seems to be little concern, by either trainers or teachers, to address how the ideas being presented and materials being made might be implemented in schools and classrooms. Curriculum planning, for instance, is rarely considered in a time frame longer than one lesson.
We often found, for example, that teaching aids made by teachers on courses were left at the centre, for display. If in schools (rarely seen) they were gathering dust in staff rooms; whereas in classrooms (very rarely seen) they were hung so high that children could not work with them. Such skills as higher order questioning and grouping children, making number lines and doing science investigations may be introduced and even practiced at centres, but time is rarely given to planning where and how to put them into next week's, and next month's lessons at school.
It is clear that the vast majority of teachers need help and support in planning and trying out new ideas in their own classrooms. This is the case with older, experienced teachers and with new, virtually untrained teachers. Indeed, we all need such intimate mentoring in our work place when we are called upon to significantly change our behaviour, as courses and activities at TRCs almost always prompt us to do.
It is clear to policy makers and educational planners as well. Plans for follow-up from TRCs to schools, usually by TRC staff are included in centre programme designs. Some projects even provide bicycles and motor cycles for tutors' use. But, in almost all cases, follow-up to schools and classrooms just does not happen. The task is too big. There are too many schools in the cluster served by the TRC, and many of them are just too far away. There are too many teachers with too many different subjects and grade levels to deal with. The human resource necessary to provide adequate support to schools through TRCs is never sufficient. Resources never match project expectations for adequate support in schools.
This is our chief concern about the effectiveness of TRC strategy; that the detachment of TRCs from work at schools makes it very difficult for them to have an impact directly on teaching and learning. The discussion that follows is intended to develop this basic concern. It considers our findings in detail and attempts to offer plausible explanations for why things are as they are. The points we make hold generally, although there are exceptions which have been described in detail in appropriate places in the study.
Before moving to these issues, however, we must comment on the utilization rate of the TRCs in our case studies. A most disturbing fact is that the TRCs in our study, across the board, are used very little. In Zambia, our figures show that the utilization of Resource Centres for workshops and teachers' meetings amount to about 10% of available time. The project planning document written in 1993 called for a 90% utilization rate by 1998. In Nepal, the 150 and 180 hour BPEP courses that used to be conducted at primary Resource Centres are now being moved to Teacher Training Centres. Resource Centres remain with only the 3 to 4 day textbook orientation courses and a few committee meetings. Even in the SIP project in Mombasa, the TACs hold only 3 or 4 workshop days per term. The project planning document for the Malawi School Support Systems Project 1996-2001, written in December 1995, set an 80% utilization rate. Based on our findings, we can not imagine that this figure will be achieved.
Almost all TRCs deal with the dissemination of teaching and learning materials to schools. Some distribute materials from central stores; some encourage teachers to develop their own; and some do both. Findings from our case studies suggest that TRCs are not very good at handling resources for schools. One exception to this is where TRCs are involved in the distribution of pupils' textbooks and teacher's guides accompanied by relevant orientation courses for teachers. Another exception is the class reader loan scheme operated through secondary TRCs in Kenya.
Resources from central stores can be distributed by any local body, the district education office, for instance. The unique contribution that TRCs can make is offering training courses in the use of these materials. The most successful of these, which we saw at primary Resource Centres in Nepal, are those which involve the distribution of new textbooks and accompanying teachers' guides. Teachers specific to the class level of the new textbooks come to the TRC for a 3-4 day textbook 'orientation' course when they pick up their new books. These are very popular courses with teachers. They say, 'This is what we now have to teach. The course is good because it tells us how to use the books and the teacher's guide.'
Nepali secondary science teachers, by contrast, are given a 3 day 'familiarization' course on the new science equipment their school is supposed to receive. Unpacking and making an inventory of the bits and pieces and manipulating some of the apparatus to see how it works is all that is done at the course. Where and how to incorporate this equipment and material into the syllabus, at what class level, for what specific purpose and how to use them in lessons is not considered, as many science teachers complained.
However, what is most important to note, here, is not the quality of the course that accompanies the distribution of resources to schools. Rather, it is the nature of the resource itself that should be considered. Textbooks and teacher guides carry with them individual lesson plans and a sequence of work. With science equipment, and any such teaching and learning aids, whether produced centrally or by local teachers, all the planning is left to the teacher along with all the curricular decisions to make. Consequently, in Nepal at least, new science equipment most frequently sits in locked cupboards gathering dust and rust. The same can be said for globes, charts and models. Instruction manuals on the use of teaching and learning aids may be supplied, but these are not nearly as likely to stimulate teachers to use them as injecting relevant information at relevant points in student textbooks and teacher guides. Courses to accompany new materials, the unique contribution that TRCs can offer the distribution of resources, can be helpful in targeting specifically difficult topics and for encouraging their use as intended.
TRCs are frequently heralded as places where teachers can come to make teaching and learning aids. Thus, centres are commonly equipped with type writers and duplicators, tools, card, chart paper and so on. Some even have computers, or plan to have them. What we found is that only a tiny minority of teachers use TRCs for the creation of teaching and learning aids. There are a few teaching aids being produced on courses -charts, models, diagrams. But, as mentioned above, such materials rarely get to the classrooms, and it is even more rare for them to be used by children. Many TRCs are decorated with teaching aids made by teachers, who have not produced duplicate copies for their own schools. In the APPEP programme, for instance, the teaching aids produced in workshops, together with children's work, is commonly put on display in a space not frequented by children. In Zambia, many of the stories written by children and teachers in the 'Write a Book' scheme are presently lying unused in the resource centres.
Very, very few learning aids (as distinct from teaching aids) are produced - such things as work sheets, problem sets, story books, reading comprehension exercises, sentence makers, even games. Do-it-yourself science equipment is sometimes seen, but the quality is so poor as to be detrimental to learning.
As Gibbs and Kazilimani say in their Zambian case study, a culture of creating classroom materials, particularly learning aids, just does not exist. It is too much to expect of teachers, and indeed of TRCs. Only exceptional teachers, anywhere in the world, are creative enough and can spend enough time to produce resources for their own classrooms. It is nice, but totally impractical, to think that most teachers will develop their own aids. This is particularly the case in developing countries where teachers are poorly paid and family responsibilities very demanding, and materials for the construction of teaching aids are scarce.
One thing that is not done consistently is identifying and supporting creative, imaginative teachers who are very good at developing resources for their own use in response to then-own perceived needs. All of our case studies document such excellent teachers, perhaps few and far between but nevertheless there. It is a considerable disappointment that we found few education officials who know of these exceptional teachers and few international technical assistants who spend much time in classrooms searching for them. The impact of supporting good teachers, of using them as role models and promoting their exemplary practices is hard to estimate, but it carries considerable promise.
Another promising idea comes from the secondary TRCs in Kenya which work principally in English teaching. They have a loan system for distributing multiple copies of set books for the English examination. These are boxed and borrowed to schools for a given period of time. It is most important to note also that most of the workshops conducted at these TRCs focus on how to teach the set books for the exam.
One of the roles for TRCs frequently mentioned is as a 'drop-in' centre where teachers can come to make teaching aids, seek advice, use reprographic equipment and consult resource books. We made a specific effort in our case studies to check on numbers of users. In all cases, perhaps with the exception of the SIP TACs in Mombasa, there were extremely few 'drop-ins'. For example, on average in Zambia only 2 teachers per week visited the centres. In Nepal, participants on in-service course were asked how many of them come to the TRC and how often. Even those who lived within a 5 km radius, some even one km away, said they had never been to the centre before. We checked the borrowing records of reference books, and at one centre only 5 books had been borrowed in the last year, and those were checked out to trainers. (Secondary TRCs in Nepal have been in existence for some 11 years, most of them in high density population areas.)
There are several possible reasons for this poor 'drop-in' showing. Distance from the centre does influence frequency of visits, but even then the poor figures persist. Also, TRCs are frequently open only during school hours, teachers have to pay to get there, resource books are often terribly old, dense and irrelevant to precise teaching needs.
To summarize this discussion of TRCs as resource centres it can only be said that in our experience TRCs are not providing a resource base for teachers. On the whole, the TRCs in our study make little significant contribution to improved teaching and learning resources in schools.
The TRCs in our case studies are the venues for a variety of different kinds of in-service courses: from long up-grading, certificate courses for untrained teachers; to short courses to introduce subject content and pedagogical skills associated with particular development projects; to workshops for orienting teachers to new textbooks. Our principal focus is on in-service training as part of development projects, e.g. APPEP in India; AIEMS in Zambia; and BPEP at the primary level and SEP at the secondary level in Nepal. In Kenya the timing of our study fell during the transition between the old SPRED I and the new SPRED II which is still feeling its way. The main contribution that Kenya makes to this analysis is with the work of the Aga Khan Foundation - as follow-up to its completed SIP project in Kisumu and in its on-going SIP project in Mombasa.
We visited many schools and sat in on many lessons taught by teachers who had been on TRC courses. We were looking for elements in their teaching, in what their pupils were doing in class and in their exercise books that could be traced back to the content of in-service courses held at TRCs. For instance, we were looking for classroom implementation of the 6 APPEP principles and the 12 skills in the AIEMS project. In Nepal we searched for the pedagogical messages that formed the backbone of BPEP and SEP courses.
As with the transfer of resources from TRCs to schools and classrooms, overall, we found little evidence of these new instructional approaches being used in schools and classrooms. With few exceptions what we saw was traditional teaching, in poor teaching and learning environments, untouched by new catechisms.
This finding should not be surprising. The literature on the up-take of new ideas from in-service training makes fairly grim reading for those of us who work in the business. In this sense, then, we are commenting here on a world-wide problem. Remmers (1983: 25) puts it this way: In-service teacher training seems to me like throwing a stone into a deep fountain and not even hearing a splash.' Nevertheless, what follows are our speculations on why up-take from in-service courses has been so marginal in the projects we visited.
Before moving to this discussion of possible cause of low up-take, we must point out that we have chosen to focus almost exclusively on observable 'impact on practice' as our measure of effectiveness. As discussed above in the chapter describing how we did the study, there are other possible outcomes of in-service work. Outcomes such as new awareness, new knowledge and skills and enhanced motivation from having been on a course may be products of the in-service work we experienced in our case studies. These, of course, are much more difficult outcomes to access. We stress that they may be legitimate outcomes of the in-service work we witnessed, and that in a longer time frame may in fact impact on our teachers' instructional behavior and enhanced learning for their pupils.
Imported Pedagogy - is it relevant?
One of our major concerns is that most courses at TRCs are tied to the pedagogical philosophies, principles and methods pre-determined by project aims. For the most part these are Western oriented, carrying the baggage of such rhetoric and slogans as 'child-centred', 'low-cost, no-cost materials', 'reflective teaching'. We question the relevance of such pedagogical initiatives given the contexts we witnessed - the state of schools and classrooms, the conditions of service for teachers, the basic education of teachers, the professional work ethic, the sheer weight of traditional ways of teaching and learning. We question it also in light of significantly shifting views in the West toward statutory curricula, teacher lead instruction, and prescribed instructional schemes.
The pitch in many of the project based in-service courses is toward creating reflective, flexible professional teachers expected to make decisions about individual children's learning needs, with capacities to create learning materials improvised from local resources and to contextualise the curriculum within the local environment. The gap, between this ideal, if indeed this is what we would aspire to, and the present state of expertise of the vast mass of teachers, is simply too great. It is too big a leap to make. And, in any case, imported pedagogy denies what many teachers do best - lecture, tell stories, use the textbook, use the blackboard. But training does not commonly start here, with where teachers are. It starts with some sort of theoretical import of 'good practice'.
Taking APPEP's '6 Principles', for example: we feel that grouping children goes too far; having them work at their benches with a neighbour to solve a problem on the blackboard when the teacher calls up one pupil to do it, is bridging the gap. Asking higher order questions goes too far because few teachers can frame such questions effectively; having pupils fill in the missing words in a story text gets closer to what teachers do in their chalk and talk lectures. Having teachers create teaching aids goes too far; giving teachers the aids and writing observation questions about them in the pupils' textbook and the teachers' guide fits easier with the lesson planning style of most teachers. Small, incremental steps from where teachers are might just help them to bring back workable messages from TRC courses and to try them out in their classrooms and with their colleagues.
It must be said that projects have moved on since the introduction of the 6 principles in APPEP. More recent projects such as AIEMS in Zambia have in fact tried to evolve some of the content in its skill modules from current classroom practice. Thus we see in its 12 Skills such starting points as 'Planning the Chalkboard' and 'Exploiting the Text Book'. There still remains, however, a lot of content related to the idea of developing reflective, problem solving, creative teachers, e.g. 'Making and Using Teaching Aids', 'Planning Group Work', 'Reflecting'.
Schools - are they ready to receive the message?
The flip side to retailing new pedagogy and materials through in-service training at the local TRC showroom is the ability of the client to use the product. In other words, is the school an able and willing client? Are management systems in schools set up for receiving new ideas; for restructuring them into the context of the school; for curriculum planning? Restructuring and curriculum planning are very difficult, high order, professional tasks which we find most teachers, including headteachers unable to do with any significant degree of success.
Most schools we visited were very far from being able to cope with new approaches and materials and to incorporate them into their teaching and learning programmes. In Nepal, for instance, there are no subject departments in secondary schools or subject coordinators in primary schools. The only curriculum related staff meetings are about making arrangements for terminal examinations. The situation is better in Zambia and in Kenya where there are the curriculum management structures in schools; if not yet expertise in curriculum planning beyond a single lesson.
Teachers centres have an inherent problem in regard to helping develop environments in schools to support change; that is teachers leave their schools and come to the TRC. This is often coupled with the assumption that continues to persist in some programmes; that it is effective for one teacher from a school to attend the in-service course or workshop at the TRC, with the responsibility to share the information and material with colleagues upon returning to their schools. To a certain extent APPEP gets around this problem by having all teachers in a cluster come to the meetings at the TRC. The problem even here, however, continues to be that there are no support staff following them back to their schools. Another attempted solution is to have headteachers come on TRC courses. The head, as curriculum leader, is supposed to cascade new approaches to his/her school. But, they too are expected to function on their own with little outside support when they return to their schools.
The cascade model - where does it stop?
A central problem with cascade systems is that they seldom extend into schools, or go that last step into classrooms. Most often the cascade stops at the TRC. In the Nepal case study we quoted the BPEP document about the purpose of the primary Resource Centre 'to bring new educational activities to the doorsteps of schools.' Although not intended by BPEP staff, the statement illustrates so vividly the thorny question of where TRCs fit into a cascade that goes into schools, which indeed should be its destination to be truly effective.
The AIEMS project in Zambia is shifting away from the simple cascade model that stops at the TRC to a commitment to stimulating the development of teachers groups and workshops in schools. Gibbs and Kazilimani in their in-depth analysis of cascade systems, reported in their Zambian case study, suggest that the TRC is becoming circumvented in the move toward school-based in-service training. This begs the question, if the local in-service training base moves to each school in a cluster, what is the purpose of the TRC, other than perhaps as a resource depot with a clerk to run the store?
One partial answer to this problem comes from the Aga Khan funded SIP project in Mombasa, Kenya, as reported by Welford and Khatete in their Kenya case study. It does not follow a cascade model as there are no higher up professionals in distant places composing and handing down curriculum and pedagogy. The director of SIP and the programme officers (PO) sit down once a week to develop the workshop programme through a detailed needs analysis.
In terms of delivery, SIP employs what can perhaps be best described as a 'rolling model'. Its key feature is that the PO picks out a small number of schools, 3 - 4, in a larger cluster of around 12 schools and works intensely with them for one whole year. That is a lot of time and it is very labour intensive. The PO, then, after one year leaves these schools and 'rolls on' to another set of 3 or 4 in the cluster, again for a year. Such close contact between the PO and their schools is helped along by the sheer density of the municipal area of Mombasa and how easy it is to get to schools every day. It is only through such intimate contact between advisor and school that the potential for effective mentoring can take place, with all the 'phasing' and 'scaffolding' that we read about in the literature on developing effective teachers and schools.
The question here with SIP, as with the moves AIEMS is making toward school-based work, is what now is the role of the TRC? In Mombasa, government primary TACs and TAC-tutors' exist and function alongside the Aga Khan's POs. Indeed, a TAC-tutor and a PO are assigned together in a TAC. The TAC-tutor and the PO work together 2 days a week in a school or facilitate workshops at the centre. The PO spends the other 3 days in his/her project schools and the TAC-tutor is with h/is other schools in the cluster.
Each TAC in the SIP programme organizes an average of three workshops each school year, and these are open to teachers from all schools in the cluster. This, of course, does not sound like the TAC facility is being used a great deal of the time. It is also used at times as a venue for various meetings, and teachers do drop in, but again not that much. Perhaps the idea of the TAC being there, in the community, as a base of operations for work principally done in schools, justifies its existence. In reality what appears to be its most important purpose and justification is that it holds resources for schools and the centre offices in secure accommodation.
The discussion above has been an attempt to search for possible reasons why there seems to be so little transfer of pedagogical ideas and skills from TRCs to schools. It has also included some speculations about what might help the process of transfer. At the base of these considerations is, of course, what we saw in schools and classrooms. And this leads us to conclude that in-service courses run through the TRCs in our study make little contribution to improved teaching and learning in schools.
The issue of sustainability of TRCs has two dimensions - the ability of TRCs to survive financially; and the ability to sustain their general purpose of helping schools and teachers to improve the quality of children's learning. In both domains we are talking about survival beyond the life of the particular project that set them up originally or subsequently adopted them as orphans of past projects: as in the case of SPRED I to SPRED II in Kenya; SHAPE to AIEMS in Zambia; Science Education Development Project to Secondary Education Development Project in Nepal; and APPEP to DPEP in Andhra Pradesh. Sadly, this adoption of old projects by new projects reveals the end of the story of sustainability to date.
Taking first the issue of financial sustainability. None of the TRCs in our case studies were surviving on their own local resources. We did find, however, several imaginative attempts to do so: levying a 'tax' on schools; setting up shops selling photocopying and soft drinks; getting local business sponsorship; even an attempt to get interest on loans to schools for setting up agricultural projects. But, alas, the income generated from such schemes is small in relation to the expenses needed to maintain facilities, personnel, resources and programmes,... indeed to pay the electricity bills, which has become a significant problem at some centres in Kenya, Zambia and Andhra Pradesh.
There appears to be no alternative to outside support either through ministries of education or international donor agencies. Governments, while not adverse to maintaining the salary costs of TRC staff, seem to be pulling back on extending full financial support. Conveniently they invoke the 'decentralization' policy. We say 'conveniently' because decentralization has increasingly been put forward as a way to improve quality education, i.e. localising management and contextualizing curriculum, even to the point in some countries for localities being responsible for their own primary level examinations. Financial decentralization is being tacked on to the professional decentralization argument.
A particularly sobering account of what has happened in one project when the outside donor pulled out comes from Welford and Khatete's case study report on Kenya.
'The AKES withdrew from its SIP Project in Kisumu in 1996 (moving it to Mombasa), leaving nine established TACs. Kisumu now appears to be struggling to sustain its TACs as functioning entities. Despite the fact that the parents of each of 54, 000 pupils enrolled in 128 primary schools pays 50 KSh towards TAC activities, most headteachers do not remit any part of this money to the SIP account. The systems established by the AKES to sustain the TACs and to ensure continued input to improve the conditions of learning in Kisumus's primary schools appear to have collapsed at the fundamental stage of transfer of funds from headteachers to the SIP account.'The fall-out from this in terms of the curtailment of TAC facilities and programmes in Kisumu makes grim reading.
By and large it is international donors in wave after wave of new projects who continue to sustain TRCs. It is also the international donors who are sustaining the flow of professional ideas. We have not seen or heard of any aid programme that has just given money carte blanche to support on-going TRCs programmes. Aid projects carry with them their own professional agenda. They also supply their own international technical experts and hire local consultants of like mind to help implement their agenda. In Zambia, for instance, the Danes aim to incorporate resource centres into their Preservice Teacher Education Programme; and the British are planning to use resource centre faculties in their first language literacy programme. In Andhra Pradesh it is the consortium of donors backing DPEP that is stepping into the breech left by the completion of the ODA (DflD) supported APPEP programme; and undoubtedly it will inject its own professional ideas. In Kenya, the Aga Khan Foundation continues to take its own brand of working with TACs to different localities.
From our perspective, having examined the track record in some detail, it appears that the sustainability of TRCs, both financially and in terms of the evolution of professional ideas, will continue to be dependent on outside resources, in particular international donors.
It would be irresponsible to discuss the impact of TRCs on teaching and learning in schools without commenting on the role of TRCs in teacher absenteeism. Teacher absenteeism is a major problem which we all found in our respective countries. It is consistently commented upon in the literature as well. Like others, our sympathies go to teachers who are so poorly paid that they must focus energy and time on trying to make up the difference between their teacher's salary and what it takes to feed their families. Our concern, nevertheless, is with children and how the absence of their teacher so reduces their time for learning in school. It is particularly a problem in poor countries because classes are not covered when teachers are absent. In this sense, we have to consider time as one of the most precious resources available to children's learning, together with books, pencils and paper and, of course, a teacher.
Going to the TRC takes teachers away from their classes. In some cases, the absence is short and perhaps children's time can be compensated for by gains in their teacher's increased knowledge and skills, motivation and commitment. The APPEP programme, for instance, requires teachers out of post for only 6 days a year. In Nepal, however, in-service courses last a long time, commonly a whole month, and there is no cover for those teachers who attend as participants and those selected heads and senior teachers who attend as trainers. Can their pupils ever be compensated for this loss of time? Even the school-based teacher group meetings in the AIEMS project in Zambia were found to take an inordinate amount of time: '... a teacher group meeting scheduled from 9.30 to 10.30 meant in fact that the teachers did not return to their classes even when the teachers group had finished, and classes were untaught from 9.30 to 12.00 when it was time for lunch.'
Gibbs and Kazilimani report that AIEMS proclaims in one of its brochures that 'One million training hours will ensure four thousand school-based INSET years. ' This is a very unfortunate slogan. It masks the point that one teacher hour out of the classroom means that 40 children are without their teacher; and few teachers ever set work for their pupils to do in their absence. It reminds us how forgetful we are in calculating the cost of in-service education in countries where there is no cover for absent teachers. Do we as trainers, education planners and economists, in our enthusiasm for in-service training, realistically count this cost?
We fully realize that it is very difficult to strike a balance between in-service provision and time away from directing children's learning. Yet, we have to conclude that given the almost complete lack of schools' ability to cover classes when teachers are away from their classes on TRC courses and activities, TRCs contribute significantly to the problem of teacher absenteeism and consequently to a significant loss of time for children's learning.
In general we found that the expectations placed on TRCs to help teachers develop their capacities to be reflective and flexible, to identify and solve their own problems, to create their own resources and to effectively apply new ideas to teaching and learning have not been realized. Within the time frame of our visits we have seen little observable evidence of the transfer of TRC initiated materials and ideas into practice. TRCs have not, we feel, significantly impacted on the quality of teaching and learning in schools and classrooms. This is not to say that TRC programmes have not produced some positive outcomes. We feel sure that they have, and perhaps such outcomes may come to fruition in classroom practice at some future time.
To be more specific we list the following findings:
On the more positive side
· There is no doubt that the vast majority of teachers enjoy participating in TRC activities, and they like having the idea of a TRC in their community (even if they do not use it very much)On the more negative side:
· Educators are being made aware of the existence of new, more active approaches to teaching and learning (even though they are not integrating them into their work)
· Many in-service training courses at TRCs are well designed, are beginning to target specific subjects and to show a stronger application to classroom practice (even if it is not always secured by an understanding of underlying principles which would allow teachers to extend particular skills to new applications)
· The need to follow teachers back to their schools to help them to plan, to develop materials, to teach and revise lessons and evolve schemes of work to support their implementation of new initiatives is becoming recognized (even though the personnel required to do so is much too thinly spread)
· The utilisation rate of TRCs by teachers, students and community members in our case studies is very low, at between 10-20 percent of available time (with exception of SEDUs in Nepal where full-time, residential, certificate courses are being held).
· The TRCs in our study make little significant contribution to improved teaching and learning resources in schools; they have not been effective as material development centres where teachers and/or pupils develop teaching and learning aids (with a few notable exceptions)Although quality changes at the classroom level have been very modest, perhaps in the larger picture, some significant changes have come about in formal education systems because of having TRC programmes. There may be gains in terms of institutional development, staff training and development, the production of more relevant teacher training curricula and material. This study has not attempted to assess such possible outcomes in detail.
· In-service courses run through the TRCs in our study make little significant contribution to improved teaching and learning in schools.
· The TRCs in our study have not been effective as 'drop-in' centres for teachers; neither as a 'library' of reference material nor as a depot for loaning books and teaching/learning material to teachers and schools (the Kenyan TRCs being a notable exception)
· Some programmes in our study contribute significantly to the problem of teacher absenteeism and a consequent lose of time for children's learning.
· The sustainability of TRC programmes in our study, both financially and in terms of the evolution of professional ideas, is virtually dependent on outside resources, in particular international donors.