Utilization of teachers' zone resource centres on local professional development courses for teachers: the case of Mbala and Mpulungu districts of Northern province, Zambia.
Ng'ambi, Mackwell Reuben Musemba
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This study on Utilization of Teachers' Zone Resource Centres on local professional development courses for teachers was of a survey type. That is, it covered some zones and schools to get a picture of how Zone Resource Centres were utilized in Mbala and Mpulungu Districts. The researcher used questionnaires to collect quantitative data and used guided oral questions with the District Education officials of Mbala and Mpulungu to collect qualitative data. 186 respondents provided quantitative data. These were eight zonal head teachers (four from each district), eight Zone in-service Coordinators (four from each district), 22 constituent head teachers, 20 School in-service Coordinators and 128 teachers. Then, 5 District Education officials provided qualitative data. Data collection also involved literature review pertaining to the Global, African and the Zambian perspectives. The focus of the study was on whether schools and teachers were implementing the Policy of the Ministry of Education of 1996 and the Ministry of Education Guidelines of 1997, and 2003 on the utilization of the Centres for teachers' local professional development courses. The study revealed that although teachers valued the innovation of the Zone Resource Centres (ZRCs) that the Zambian Government introduced they, however, did not utilize the centres adequately according to laid down regulations of the Ministry of Education (MoE). The study findings revealed that most of the zones lacked necessary facilities, material and financial resources. The issue of financial resources appeared as a major challenge in all the zones, especially that zones did not have the capacity to generate income on their own and did not receive funds from the DEBS's office or the MoE Headquarters for meetings or workshops. The lack of library services forced teachers to travel long distances to District Resource Centres (DRCs) for reference books, computer, copier and other similar facilities deemed necessary for their assignment in Distance Learning programmes, and also for consultation with the DRCC. In addition, most of the zone leaders lacked skills in zone management and workshop facilitation. Thus, this could be likened to a situation where a small group of blind people had the responsibility to lead a big group of the blind on a long journey. The poor staffing levels in most of the rural schools affected the teachers' attendance at zone meetings and workshops. Furthermore, long distances between ZRCs and constituent schools affected teachers' attempts to utilize the ZRCs professional development meetings. Thus teachers preferred school-based Teachers' Group Meetings (TGMs) to zone meetings because there was no traveling involved. Contrary to the provision of the Ministry of Education Guidelines (MoE; 1997 and 2003), subjects taught in the upper basic section were not being offered at the ZRCs for teachers' discussions. The teachers of the upper basic section were, in most cases, also not involved in teachers workshops and meetings organized at the ZRCs. This made some teachers especially of the upper basic section fail to utilize the centres.
SubjectSchool resource centres--Zambia.
- Education