Practices And Challenges of Continuous Professional Development In Primary Schools of Metekel Zone
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The main purpose of this study was to assess the practices and challenges of school based teachers’ continuous professional development in primary schools of Metekel Zone, Benishangul Gumuz Regional State. To be successful in the study three basic questions were raised.The research design employed in the study was descriptive survey. The research method was both quantitative and qualitative approaches were employed. The sampling techniques employed were purposive, availability and simple random sampling. The sample size was 160 teachers, 85 department heads, 17 principals, 17 schools’ continuous professional development facilitators, 17 vice principals, 3 woreda supervisory experts, and 1 zone expert with the total of 300 participants out of 540 study populations. The data gathering tools were questionnaire, focus group discussion, and interview as well as document analysis. The participants of interview and focus group discussion were principals, vice principals or unit leaders, department heads, and woreda and zone experts. Questionnaire was administered to 160 teachers where all of them properly filled and returned. Then, the information gathered through closed-ended questionnaire was analyzed using percentage and mean score while the information gathered through interview and open-ended questions were narrated qualitatively. Results of document analysis were also described. The findings of the study indicated that the extent of teachers practices of professional development activities such as mentoring, portfolio development, conducting action researches, facilitating group discussions and peer observations, and evaluating the overall successes and failures of the implementation processes were inadequately implemented. The school principals, professional development focal persons, head teachers, woreda and zone supervisors were providing insufficient support for the teachers. The major challenges identified were, lack of training manuals, irrelevance and un clarity of the available training manuals, lack of trained facilitators, insufficiency of supports provided for teachers growth, insufficient allocation of budget, and school systems were not in the way that can satisfy the training needs of teachers. To overcome the challenges encountered, recommendations have been forwarded. These include: orienting teachers in advance with the overall contents of the professional growth, motivating teachers to willingly take more responsibilities in the implementation process, employing trained facilitators and supervisors, and allocation of sufficient resources to effectively achieve the intended goals.