The relationship between student's socio-ecconomic background and University entrance in Zambia
Kalimaposo, Kalisto Katongo
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The study profiled the socio-economic backgrounds of students at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Copperbelt University (CBU). The main purpose of the study was to find out whether socio-economic factors such as students' parent / guardians' occupation, education, income, student's place of residence, family size and secondary school attended by the student affected educational achievement and influenced university entrance. The objective of the study was two fold. Firstly, to determine the extent to which socio-economic factors affected access to UNZA and CBU. Secondly, to ascertain whether there were significant differences in the number of students admitted to UNZA and CBU on the basis of region and rural-urban differences. It was hypothesised that students from the high and middle socio-economic backgrounds had higher chances of entering UNZA and CBU than their counterparts from the low socio-economic backgrounds. The second hypothesis was that students from urban secondary schools had higher access to universities in Zambia than students from rural secondary schools. The survey method was used. A sample size of three hundred and fifty students was drawn. Two hundred students from UNZA and one hundred and fifty students from CBU, excluding mature age students. A self-administered questionnaire was designed as a data gathering instrument. Descriptive statistics consisting of numbers and corresponding percentages were employed in data analysis. The selectivity index device was used as one method of confirming the access of students from various socio- economic groups to university education. The computer software SPSS was used to analyse the data. Non-structured questions were manually analysed through categorisation and coding of themes. The study found that socio-economic factors were significant in determining one's chances of access to universities in Zambia. In terms of parents'/guardians' education, most students came from the educated white collar or blue collar homes. Selection to the two universities was biased in favour of those from educated parents/ guardians. A considerable number of students at both universities came from families whose monthly incomes were far above the average monthly income for a Zambian household. In addition, a good number of students came from households with a variety of facilities for stimulation and personal growth. Striking regional disparities were found in access to university education. Students from the Copperbelt, Southern and Lusaka provinces were disproportionately represented at the two universities. Rural-urban differences were also glaring. Students from urban secondary schools were greatly over represented in the two universities compared to students from rural secondary schools. Through the selectivity index device, it was established that students whose parents/guardians were civil servants, professionals and in high status occupations were in significant proportions in relation to their numbers in the general Zambian population. Selection to the two universities favoured students from the professional, administrative and technical homes. Students whose parents/guardians were in farming or fishing recorded the lowest selectivity index in spite of their large numbers in the population as a whole. Most students attended government secondary schools. proportion of students with parents/guardians in high income brackets attev schools. In rating the quality of teaching and learning of former secondary & large proportion of students from rural schools rated their former schools as satisfactory or poor. Besides students from rural schools experienced more shortage^ teachers than students from urban schools. The study recommended a quota system of admissions in order to mitigate regional disparities. Further, the two universities should be expanded and other universities should be built in order to increase students enrolment. Loans and scholarships should be made available for needy students. Female enrolment should be increased. The rural-urban disparities can be bridged by improving the quality of life and education in rural areas.
SubjectStudents -- Economic conditions--Students -- Economic conditions
Students -- Social conditions--Students -- Social conditions
- Education 
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