TEACHER’S UNDERSTANDINGS OF IMPLEMENTING CURRICULUM: A COMPARATIVE STUDY BETWEEN BOTSWANA AND SOUTH AFRICAN RURAL PRIMARY SCHOOLS EDUCATION SYSTEM
This comparative paper is intended to promote discourse among professionals, policymakers and educators concerning current and future challenges faced by teachers in implementing the curriculum especially teachers working in rural areas in Botswana and South Africa primary schools. This study therefore intends to find out how best we can help rural educators in the implementation of the curriculum. Rural educators seem neglected and most of them are either moving to urban for greener pastures or resigning in big numbers because they are not given enough support, rural educators are still using an old approach and this frustrates learners when learners reach tertiary level as they cannot compete with those learners who got proper education in foundation phase. example, most rural learners and educators cannot express themselves properly in English while their counter parts excelled fluently in English, where lies the problem and how can we deal with it, are rural educators being supported enough?
In Botswana, six primary schools in rural areas were used and 12 teachers were interviewed and observed while in South Africa five rural primary schools were used and 10 teachers were interviewed. Findings revealed that most participants’ understanding regarding issues of curriculum/curricula can be interpreted and located within the contested nature of curriculum. Their responses were varied and diverse and such variations reflected the challenges and problematic nature of defining curriculum in view of implementing it. Participants of this study were concerned about the nature of the curriculum. Based on such responses of conceptualising curriculum within the confines of time, teachers pointed out that the real tension for them is meeting the governments’ testing requirements of the curriculum. They further indicated that this pressure perpetuates them to be more concerned with covering the curriculum breadth than understanding its depth. The study therefore proposes curbing the tensions that exist between covering the curriculum breadth and understanding its depth in order to effectively implement it and affording learners equal opportunities when they get to higher levels of education.