An evaluation of the role of rural primary school teachers in community development tasks in southern Sudan
This thesis investigates the role of rural primary school teachers in community development activities within an integrated rural education centres project (IRECs) in southern Sudan. The study explores five areas of importance for an extended teacher's role in rural areas: (i) the school or community environment, (ii) community perception of the teacher's role and its expectations of the school, (iii) teachers' perception of their own role in the community, (iv) teachers' satisfaction and morale, and (v) the influence of teachers social attributes (age, sex, ethnicity and language), previous general education and professional training programmes. An eclectic methodology was adopted. Various indicators were developed to assess the influence of the above factors on teachers' involvement in community development work. Of particular interest were indicators of (i) teacher leadership abilities, (ii) involvement in community organizations, (iii) teacher status and prestige, (iv) measures of adoption of new practices among teachers and the community and (v) teacher satisfaction and morale. It is argued that for teachers to exercise leadership, they need to have high status in the community, they must be seen to influence decisions and control of scarce resources, they need to have the necessaary pedagogic skills, and must be committed to working with rural people. The study further concludes that projects like IRECs which, are often centrally planned and controlled often take insufficient account of the existing realities in rural areas regarding the attitudes, expectations and felt needs of the rural masses and the development situations prevailing in rural communities. Such projects are often based on too categoric premises about the nature of rural problems. IRECs exaggerated the capacity of the rural primary school teachers as change agents and did little to improve the status of these agents. Hence, there remained a wide discrepancy between the project intentions and what was actually implemented and realised by the project.