The coping strategies of the University of Zambia students with cost-sharing in financing Higher Education
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Zambia introduced cost-sharing in the education sector with a view to improving the financial positions of the educational institutions. Available researches show that costsharing has had a negative effect at all levels of the education system. At the University level many protests have been staged by students to register their disenchantment with cost-sharing. In many cases, such protests resulted into the University closure. This study therefore aimed at finding out the different methods devised by the University students in their quest to meet the requirement of costsharing.The study followed a descriptive research design with a total of 266 students that participated derived from all the schools at the University of Zambia. Questionnaires,focussed group discussions, and interviews were used as methods of collecting data.The research instruments used included self-administered questionnaires and interview guides. The data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences(SPSS) to obtain frequencies and percentages and were further subjected to crosstabular analysis for interpretaion. Qualitative data were organized into common themes. The findings of the study show glaring inequalities in the composition of the students' population. The majority of the students come from households with parents and guardians who have some form of university and college education while those with parents and guardians with grade 12 levels of education and below are under represented. Among the female students the majority of them have parents and guardians with University education whereas among the male students the majority of their parents and guardians have college education. The study also shows that students with parents and guardians in the professional related occupations are in the majority. In spite of the fact that the majority of the students come from homes with parents and guardians who are well educated and have better jobs, most of them are unable to meet the requirement of cost-sharing. Male students are in the majority of those unable to meet cost-sharing. In both cases, the majority of the students have parents working in the private sector. The reasons for failing to meet the requirement of cost-sharing are inadequate financial resources coupled with large families in some instances and the sudden rises in tuition fees.Students have responded differently to the policy of cost-sharing at the University of Zambia. Some of them withdraw with the view of rejoining the institution at a later date. Others have devised methods of raising money to meet the requirement of costsharing. These methods include saving part of the meal and project allowances, doing part-time jobs, business ventures, cooking, lending rooms, using monthly salaries, obtaining loans, and fighting for 100 percent government bursary. Other methods include prostitution, and asking for assistance from well wishers. Both students from rural and urban areas are engaged in all these means of raising money to meet the cost of University education.
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