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Teachers urged to get psycho-social training

CHIPATA College of Education principal, Ganizani Tembo says teachers with pyscho-social training develop a better understanding of the learners and help resolve issues that may affect their education.
Speaking in an interview recently, Mr Tembo said teachers who have undergone the teacher’s diploma programme called psychosocial wellbeing for all children conducted by Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) have shown a greater response to the needs affecting the ability of learners to progress in their studies.
“In this era of human rights, it becomes very important that a teacher has a set of skills that enable them solve situations without resorting to corporal punishment,” he said.
He said psychosocial training will slowly be mainstreamed in the main teaching course for all the teachers in training colleges across the country.
“The REPSSI training provides teachers who having been teaching for years and are already exposed to some of the conflicting situations that affect learners such as broken families, abuse, child labour and defilement,” he said.
And a pupil from a class conducted by a teacher that has undergone the REPSSI course said she found it easier to relate with her teacher.
“When I first started getting my menstrual cycle, I told my teacher and she advised me on how to take care of myself.  I also told her about my friend who had stopped going to school because she was pregnant and the teacher went and talked to her parents,”  15-year-old Nellia Tembo said.
And REPSSI country director, Kelvin Ngoma said the programme was premised on the basis that a teacher who is better able to deal with his own challenges will have a better understanding of the needs of the learner and the environment they are coming from.
“The idea is to provide the teacher with the skills to make the school a place where learners get care and understanding,” he said.
Teachers who undergo this course are able to see beyond the normal duty of providing basic education to pin-pointing the actual psychological influences affecting a learner’s ability to grasp what is being taught in class.
In Zambia, the 18-month distance learning support course is being carried out in Eastern, Lusaka and Western provinces with exams written from Chalimbana University, Mongu College of Education and Chipata College of education.