Factors affecting academic performance of learners in continuing education schools: A case of central ,Southern and Western provinces of Zambia
Moola, Ireen Nandila
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This study focused on factors affecting academic performance of learners in Continuing Education Schools in Zambia. It was prompted by the learners‟ general poor performance in class, termly assessments, the Junior Secondary School Leaving Examinations and the General Certificate of Education Examinations. The sample comprised four out of thirteen continuing education schools in the country; two rural based and two urban based. The research targeted 152 participants in total. These were categorised into three groups namely: head teachers, teachers and pupils. The age of the participants ranged from sixteen to fifty and comprised both males as females. The study used both purposive and simple random techniques of sampling. It employed both the qualitative and quantitative data collection tools which included questionnaires, interview guides, a focus group discussion guide and observation. Both qualitative and quantitative data collection tools were employed in order to ensure efficiency and accuracy in data collection. Qualitative data was analysed thematically by coding, while information from questionnaires was analysed by use of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) which generated the tables and percentages. The findings of the study revealed that the unsatisfactory academic performance of learners in continuing education schools was due to a number of factors such as; inadequate teaching and learning materials, lack of proper infrastructure, over-enrolment, low teacher morale, few qualified teachers, rampant teacher and pupil absenteeism, insufficient funding and low staffing levels. In line with its findings, the study made a number of recommendations to policy makers and school managers and these were; (i) MOE should increase funding to continuing education schools, (ii) MOE and school boards should find ways of motivating teachers and raising their morale, (iii) measures should be taken by school administrators to curb absenteeism among teachers and pupils and (iv) MOE should increase supervision and carry out routine monitoring and evaluation of educational standards in Continuing Education Schools for quality assurance.
The University of Zambia