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Contributions of Canadian teachers in overseas aid programs : a comparative analysis of experience in external aid and CUSO programs, in Nigeria and Sarawak, 1957-67. Smith, Gloria M.

Abstract

Professional and volunteer programs of educational assistance to developing countries have increased to such an extent that local educational planners are often confused as to how to determine the most appropriate educational roles of each in order to utilize their services most productively. This study inquires into the comparative qualifications and educational contributions overseas of Canadian teachers to Nigeria and Sarawak during the decade 1957-67 by the External Aid Office and Canadian University Overseas in an attempt to prove that there is an overlapping area of similar qualifications and contributions overseas of Canadian teachers sent by the two agencies which results in confusion of their respective professional and volunteer roles. It further searches into areas of interaction of Canadian teachers overseas with local and international personnel and agencies in an attempt to show that such interaction has enhanced teachers' contributions, and that increased future co-operative endeavours could facilitate a greater total educational contribution. Finally, it seeks to show that some difficulties experienced by Canadian teachers, caused by inappropriate assignments or the non-provision of necessary emoluments, have affected their educational contributions, and that some means of avoiding or alleviating such difficulties in the future is desirable and necessary. Data for this study was gathered by means of a survey form mailed to those External Aid and CUSO teachers who served in Nigeria or Sarawak during the period 1957-67 as secondary teachers, teacher trainers, group headmasters (primary school supervisors), principals and advisers to governments. Information was solicited about the teachers' qualifications and experience before going overseas, education assignments overseas, educational activities beyond the assigned tasks, local and international associations and their effects upon the educational contribution, and difficulties resulting from non-fulfilment of contractual or agreement obligations pertaining to education assignments or personal emoluments. Of those teachers canvassed, 72 percent of External Aid and 61 percent of CUSO teachers responded. The findings show that there was a degree of overlapping of CUSO and External Aid teachers’ qualifications and educational contributions in Nigeria and Sarawak in that some CUSO teachers had equal or better qualifications, and made comparable or more professional contributions than some External Aid teachers. Many secondary teachers from both agencies assumed similar classroom teaching duties and extracurricular duties; some CUSO teachers undertook professional tasks which a number of External Aid secondary teachers did not; a few CUSO volunteers performed the professional roles of teacher trainer, group headmaster, primary school supervisor and secondary school principal. Thus, the appropriate qualifications and roles -which might distinguish Canadian professional and volunteer teachers were not clearly defined. All the teachers under study considered their local leisure time associations of value to their contributions, and most considered their time spent with Europeans of value, particularly CUSO teachers. Although all worked with other international educational personnel, less than half reported special co-operation with these colleagues, and only one-third received Canadian support for their educational endeavours. The evidence reveals that CUSO volunteers have valued European professional assistance, that more co-operation between members of international agencies should prove fruitful, and that greater assistance from Canadian sources could result in a greater total contribution. Although the majority of teachers expressed no major assignment difficulties, a small number from both agencies reported modifications of their original education assignments or indicated that their assignments differed from their original expectations. A large minority did not feel that their skills were fully utilized. A small number from both agencies experienced emolument difficulties. It may be inferred that the frustrations involved in the solution of these difficulties often resulted in adverse psychological effects, which in turn could affect their contributions. No consistent pattern of assistance towards the solution of these problems was revealed; Several teachers expressed the need for External Aid regional representatives to facilitate the teacher's adjustment and proper placement in the country of service. From a national point of view, there- appears to be a distinct need, and duty to ensure that the qualifications and roles of professional and volunteer teachers provided by Canada be clearly recognizable, consistent and predictable to educational planners in developing countries so that the services of such personnel may be used to harmonize efficiently with national development plans, and in order that the potential professional contributions of experienced teachers be not wasted. Further there appears to be a need for greater co-operation between members of the two Canadian agencies, and for more assistance in the field from the sending agency. Thus, the following recommendations are made: 1. that External Aid and CUSO policies be co-ordinated in order to distinguish the educational needs each will attempt to satisfy in developing countries, and to determine the teaching and academic qualifications and previous teaching, experience appropriate to those separate roles. 2. that External Aid regional representatives be appointed, charged with the responsibilities of determining appropriate assignments, of ensuring the availability of necessary facilities such as housing, and for facilitating the teachers' adjustments in the country of service by helping to solve unforeseen difficulties in assignment and physical arrangements. External Aid and CUSO coordinators within the country of service might then co-operate in jointly presenting their policies to local educational authorities, and channeling requests for Canadian personnel to the appropriate agency. 3. That closer co-operation of External Aid and CUSO agencies be encouraged both in orientation programs in Canada, and in formal or informal meetings in the countries of service, in order that inexperienced teachers may avail themselves of the professional assistance of more experienced teachers.

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