The first Early Reading seminar and workshop of the Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa programme (TESSA) – hosted by UKZN’s School of Education on the Pietermaritzburg campus - brought together 12 specialists from partner universities in Africa.

The objective of this workshop was to discuss and embark on developing the Early Reading module.

Individual institutional presentations covered programmes and perspectives on teaching early reading and reflected the national early reading and languages policy.

A discussion on the African Storybook was followed by further debate regarding themes, pedagogy and content for early reading among the participating educators. This paved the way for intensive discussions and activities on the Early Reading module structure and content.

‘The module structure, content as well as activities had been agreed upon and each university was assigned to develop one or two units/chapters of the module for submission in four months in preparation for the second seminar in October at one of the partner universities,’ explained Dr Tabitha Mukeredzi of UKZN’s School of Education.

According to Mukeredzi, the module for submission is in line with TESSA’s aims of producing materials (a module) for teaching Early Reading which ‘work’ across different national contexts and curricula in Africa. The plan is to complete the module and begin to use it in TESSA partner institutions next year.

It will be published, like all TESSA materials, on the website http://www.tessafrica.net/ as an Open Educational Resource (OER) freely available to any university, college and group of teacher educators who wish to use it.

‘Resources are in English but incorporate teaching strategies in multilingual classes or classes where English is not the medium of instruction,’ said Mukeredzi.

‘The TESSA Early Reading Project, led by The Open University in the United Kingdom, incorporates the Winneba University of Education in Ghana, the Open University of Tanzania and Kigali Institute of Education in Rwanda, the South African Institute of Distance Education and UKZN, which is the most recent recruit.

‘Heartfelt thanks go to all of those who travelled to South Africa to begin this important and exciting new TESSA project and to the School of Education at UKZN for the warmth of their hospitality. UKZN welcomed TESSA, and now TESSA welcomes UKZN to its community!’ said Mukeredzi.

author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za