Awareness and participation of Mineworkers in Workers' education programmes : The case of Nchanga Mine in Chingola District
Phiri, Sylvia Kambole
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Workers in every workplace are the most significant component, therefore they need to be kept psychologically satisfied through workers' education. Consequently if any nation has to turn the dreams of development into reality, the workers should embrace workers'education. Workers' education gives workers life long skills which enhances workers' effectiveness at a particular job and a skill to use when one is out of employment.This study sought to investigate the awareness and participation of mineworkers in workers' education programmes at Nchanga mine in Chingola on the Copperbelt. It addressed itself to two major questions. These were;ascertain to what extent the workers were aware about the workers' education programme; and determine the extent to which the workers participate in workers' education programmes at Nchanga mine.A case study design was used to assist the researcher gain more insight into the awareness and participation of mineworkers in the workers' education programmes. The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods to collect data from respondents.The population consisted of all the workers at Nchanga mine in Chingola district on the Copperbelt province. The management employees and the Mineworkers Union executive members included in the study were selected using the purposive sampling procedure.The non- management workers included in the study were selected using the simple random sampling procedure. Using this sampling procedure 80 non-management workers were selected. A total of 5 management workers at Nchanga mine and 5 mineworkers'union leaders were purposively selected because they were rich information sources. The total sample population in the study was 90.Data was collected from respondents using questionnaire and semi-structured interview. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used in analyzing the data. Percentages and pie charts were obtained using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). Nonstructured questions were analysed through categorization of themes. The findings of the study were that the mineworkers were not knowledgeable or they did not have full realization about the term workers' education. It was also established that all the mineworkers had only attended few days courses under the workers' education programme in form of induction training. This meant that these workers could not be considered for promotion or have a pay rise. Further, the study established that some of the mineworkers did not meet the prerequisite to do either degree or diploma programmes due to their low education standard. The study recommended that: in view of the International Labour Organisation's universal declaration of human rights which outlines that everyone has the right to education, mineworkers included. The International Labour Organisation should draw up training manuals for the mining industry in order to guide the management on the provision of workers' education for their employees. The training manuals should outline the need for mineworkers to be exposed to both up dating and upgrading education respectively.The management should introduce General Certificate of Education (GCE) at the mine to assist workers that have work over load to upgrade their 'O' level. The ILO declaration also states that education leads to the full development of human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Therefore, it was vital for mineworkers that did not have full 'O' level certificates to upgrade their education at 'O' level in order to open them to new horizons in terms of opportunities and career development. In view of the government policy of creating jobs for the local people, it is incumbent upon the government to extend this policy to the mining industry by ensuring that the senior and supervisory positions in the mine are not only for expatriate staff.