The effectiveness and efficiency of Zambia's unitary administration in the delivery of educational services (1964-2015): A case study of Senanga District
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The study was conducted in Senanga district on the topic: “The Effectiveness and Efficiency of Zambia’s Unitary Administration in the Delivery of Educational Services (1964-2015): A Case Study of Senanga District”. The focus of the study was on assessing the performance of central government and its agencies, such as the DEBS’ office, in the delivery of public services (in this case, taking the example of education services) given the argument that in a unitary system of administration, the periphery suffers from a neglect of national development. Accordingly, literature reviewed in line with the research topic highlighted advantages and disadvantages of the unitary system of administration, especially in the area of public service delivery. The statement of the problem is centered on the proposition that successive governments in Zambia have not adequately implemented decentralization programmes despite the process of decentralisation being cardinal in ensuring effective and efficient service delivery in a unitary system of governance. In this regard, the main objective of the study was to critically assess the effectiveness and efficiency of Zambia’s unitary administration in the delivery of educational services. The importance of the study can be viewed in its emphasis on decentralisation as a major factor in ensuring efficient public service delivery to the outlying areas in a unitary system of governance. The findings of the study, therefore, give encouragement to policy makers to prioritise decentralisation programmes when formulating government policies. The theoretical framework for the study looked at the promotion of effective decentralisation within the system of unitary administration, as a key factor in ensuring effective and efficient public service delivery to the outlying areas. With regard to research methodology, the study adopted the use of interviews and structured questionnaires to collect primary data, while desk research was used for collection of secondary data. The total sample size comprised 245 respondents. Findings of the study highlighted weaknesses of the unitary system of administration in ensuring the delivery of quality education services, especially in the far-flung areas. The failure by the central government to effectively decentralise power, human and financial resources to lower levels of administrative agencies, such as the DEBS’ office has been identified as one of the key causes of poor delivery of quality education services, particularly in Senanga district. To this effect, education infrastructure in the district has remained inadequate and dilapidated, as funding to the DEBS’ office for infrastructure development is erratic and insufficient. In Senanga district, findings indicated that almost half of the Basic Schools, including houses for teachers, have remained of pole and mud, while access to quality education services by pupils is hampered by long distances in between schools and a dearth of teaching materials such as text books. The effects are obvious, poor performance of pupils in examinations and failure by the pupils to acquire basic literacy and comprehension skills within the expected time frames.
The University of Zambia
SubjectSchool Management and Organization-Senanga, Zambia