An Investigation into the role of teacher advisory centres (TAC) in the continuing teacher education in Meru North district
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Education is a very important tool since increased development is strongly tied to education. Education of teachers or their training is equally important since teachers are charged with the responsibility of imparting useful knowledge, skills,attitudes and other competencies to a younger generation. Teacher Education would be seen as incomplete if it halts at the initial training stage. A teacher like any other professional needs to be continually serviced so as to remain abreast with the changes facing education sector. In an endeavour to uphold teachers" professionalism, continuing teacher education has been attended through various angles. One of the approaches is through the Teacher Advisory Centres (TACs). This study endeavoured to investigate the role played by the TACs in promoting continuing Teacher Education in Meru North District. Through set objectives and formulated research questions, the study set out to investigate the significance of the TACs towards the professional growth of teachers. It also sought to establish the TAe tutors qualification and their effects ill the professional growth of teachers in tile district. The study went further to Iindout the activities carried out by the TACs in promoting continuing Teacher Education, and the available resources within the centres in relation to their inl1uence on continuing teacher education. The literature reviewed delved into Teacher Education, intended tasks of the TACs shortcomings of the TACs, the teacher problem, School Based Teacher Development and steps for enhancing the effectiveness of the TACs. The incisive review helped to ground the study and was utilised to ascertain the findings of the study. The research design employed was ex-post facto sample of 90 teachers and 15 tutors was arrived at through proportionate stratified sampling or schools and purposive sampling of teachers. The TAC tutors' sample was arrived at through simple random sampling. Two questionnaires tutors and Teachers questionnaires) were used to .- collect data and their validity was established as adequate. Average questionnaire return rate was 83.3%. Data from the questionnaires was anlaysed and interpreted using frequencies and descriptive statistics. The study revealed that the tutors were of a high professional competence. It was also found out that they were poorly equipped and lacked modern educational/instructional materials and equipment to respond to the teachers' needs. The findings also showed that the activities at the centres were irregular and poorly planned thus not maximally made use of. In addition, TAC tutors faced several challenges which included: Lack or adequate means of transport to access various schools, poor communication with the Ministry or Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) and the Kenya Institute of Education (K.I.E). Inadequate training and demonstrational materials and facilities in the centers and lack of retraining of the TAC tutors to cope with current changes in the field of education are other challenges faced. From the findings, it was recommended that TAC tutors need to he constantly retrained to cope with the current educational changes especially in the field of information technology. In addition, challenges faced by TACs need to be addressed and policy instituted giving guidelines on the various functions of the centers so that effectiveness would be enhanced. Further research should be done on factors that influence the performance of the TAC tutors. More studies should also be done on the impact of the TACs on the performance of schools in the district. Finally, a research is needed on attitude of teachers towards the TACs.