The willingness and ability of parents to finance basic schools on the copperbelt in Zambia
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Shortly after independence, in 1964, the Zambian government embarked on a rapid expansion of the entire education system. However, the rapid expansion of the education system, coupled with a rapid population growth and the seemingly insurmountable economic problems, soon engendered problems in the education system. One of the major problems that emanated from the demographic and economic factors was that of financing education in general and basic education in particular. Basic education was designed to be accessible to all school age children. It was designed to impart not only the minimum basic knowledge but also to instill attitudes, values and skills needed by all for development purposes. It has become clear that the provision of basic education is not an easy goal to achieve, especially from the point of view of financial resources. The problem is deeply embedded in demographic and economic factors. The pressure exerted by demographic and economic factors on the availability of basic education facilities is not only great but poses an immense challenge to the education policy makers. The problem is how to create more school places to absorb the ever-increasing child population.The central problem in this research was whether private household resources are available to finance basic schools in view of the limited state funds for that purpose. The focus of the study was on trying to ascertain the willingness and ability of parents to finance basic schools on the Copperbelt.Two questions were to be answered: (i) To what extent are parents willing and able to finance basic schools? (ii) What are some of the socio-economic factors affecting parents' contributions to financing basic schools?Three hypotheses adopted for the study were: (i) There is no significant relationship between the family size and the parents' willingness and ability to finance basic schools; (ii) There is no significant relationship between the household income and the willingness and ability of parents to finance basic schools? (iii) There is no significant relationship between the education level of the parents and their willingness and ability to finance basic schools.After interviewing two hundred (200) parents from various parts of the Copperbelt, viz. Kitwe, Mufulira, Chingola and Chililabombwe, the data collected suggested the following results: (i) That parents were generally willing and able to pay for a variety of school items. However, the degree of willingness and ability varied from one item to another. Items such as school fund and teaching and learning materials enjoyed a high degree of parental willingness to pay while others such as school vehicle and teachers' salaries had low support. (ii) That there was a relationship between the education level, family size, household income and the willingness and ability of the parents to finance basic schools. Socio-economic variables were found to be important in determining the willingness and ability of parents to finance basic schools. Parents generally demonstrated a low ability to finance basic schools. This suggests that for a long time to come financing of basic schools will largely depend on the public budget.
- Education