Effectiveness of the Teaching of religious Education as part of social and development studies in the integrated primary school curriculum in Zambia: The case of Solwezi Urban basic Schools
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In 2004, the Ministry of Education (MOE) through Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) introduced the new integrated curriculum approach to lower and middle basic school level in Zambia. In the new curriculum Religious Education (RE) is taught as part of Social and Development Studies (SDS). This research study therefore, was aimed at finding out the effectiveness of teaching Religious Education RE as part of SDS. The objectives of the study were to: (1) to assess the effectiveness of teaching RE as part of SDS; (2) to examine the attitude of teachers towards the teaching of RE as part of SDS; and(3) to establish the qualifications of the teachers teaching RE as part of SDS in the integrated curriculum. The study was carried out in Solwezi district, North-Western Province. Four Solwezi urban basic schools were purposively selected for the study. The total sample was 140 respondents, i.e. 96 pupils, 40 teachers and 4 administrators were used to collect data. One-to-one interviews, focus group interviews and lesson observations methods of data collections were used. Qualitative methods were used to analyse the data. The findings of the study revealed that the teaching of RE as part of SDS is not effective because teachers are not adequately trained in the new integrated curriculum approach. The lack of teaching and learning materials in schools has contributed to ineffective teaching and learning of RE under SDS. In addition, there is no serious monitoring of teachers leading to some teachers leaving out some RE topics. Failure by CDC and District Education Standard Officers to make follow-ups on the implementation of the new integrated curriculum approach is another factor that has contributed to the ineffectiveness of the teaching of RE as part of SDS. The negative attitude by teachers towards the change of methodology has also contributed to the non effective teaching and learning of RE. Some teachers are giving out unexplained work to pupils because of not knowing what to do. The study recommends that teachers should be retrained in the new integrated methods and that teaching and learning resources, should be provided in schools if the programme is to be successful.