Aspirations for higher education among junior commissioned officers in the Zambia Army
Mizinga, Siandia Judah
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The main objective of the study was to determine whether junior commissioned officers in the Zambia Army attached any value to higher education and whether they aspired to go for further education. The study tried to establish what the junior commission Army officers perceived to be the factors that hindered their aspirations for further education and what interventions they thought could be implemented to enable most of them get into higher education institutions.The population was drawn from all the Lieutenants, Captains and Majors who belonged to the thirteen Corps of the Zambia Army. The rationale for selecting junior ranks of Lieutenant to major was that such officers were still expected to aspire for further education.A total of 165 of the 658 junior Zambia Army commissioned officers were selected using proportional stratified sampling so that the Corps could be satisfactorily and adequately represented. The selected sample of officers completed self administered questionnaires while the others were organised in study group discussions to obtain the following information; whether they thought degree and diploma programmes were necessary to the Zambia Army, how far they wished to go in their education, what they perceived to be the hindering factors to their aspirations for higher education and what interventions they thought had to be implemented in the Zambia Army in order to enable more officers access higher education. In addition, 23 senior officers responsible for administration, 'training and education at Army Headquarters, Defence Services Command and Staff College and the Military Establishment of Zambia were given a separate questionnaire to supply the following information; whether they thought degree and diploma programmes were necessary in the Zambia Army, whether they would allow an officer who requested to go for a higher education programme, what they felt were thehindering factors to the junior officers' aspirations for higher education and what interventions the Zambia Army had to implement in order to have more officers get into degree and diploma programmes.The investigations and findings revealed that the majority of the junior commissioned officers aspired for university education. The study found seven main factors which were perceived to be hindering the officers' aspirations for higher education. The seven were: Financial constraints (inadequate sponsorship), red tape, hindrance, unclear policy on higher education, irrelevant programmes in civil institutions, absence of career guidance and Inadequate incentives for graduates. This complex set of findings fits in with barriers established in the literature.The study further identified eight main interventions. The eight interventions were: increasing funding on higher education, sourcing for more places in higher institutions of learning, removing red tape, formulation of a clear education policy, raising officer cadets' entry qualifications, improving incentives for graduates, creation of a career guidance cell and encouragement of distance education.