The Urgent Need to Train Teachers for Multigrade Pedagogy in African Schooling Contexts: Lessons from Uganda and Zambia

Charles Kivunja


Our research project funded by the British Council on multigrade teaching capacity building in Uganda and Zambia found that Uganda does not have a single higher education institution training teachers in multigrade pedagogy and Zambia has only one located at Serenje village in rural Zambia. Yet the research found that in both countries many teachers actually teach multigraded classes in spite of never having been trained in multigrade pedagogy. Our literature searches also found that this situation is not unique to these two countries but in fact very common throughout Africa. Moreover, multigrade is used not by pedagogical choice but by necessity because these countries do not have enough teachers, classrooms or other school equipment to universalize access to primary schooling on a monograde basis. Yet we know that there are well founded pedagogical reasons for using multigrade pedagogy in the education of learners, young and old. These findings lead us to the conclusion that it is not prudent to continue overlooking the potential of multigrade pedagogy to improve educational opportunities for children in African schooling contexts. This is especially true in rural and remote areas; it is therefore imperative to train teachers for multigrade pedagogy in Africa. This paper discusses the problems facing multigrade teaching in Africa and the reasons why multigrade has been neglected, the consequences of that neglect, and the need for a paradigm shift towards multigrade teaching so as to provide universal access to primary education for all children in Africa.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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