A review of factors which influence learner participation in University extension education in Chipata District
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The main purpose of the study was to review factors which influence learner participation in University extension education. The specific objectives were to determine factors that encouraged learner participation in University extension education; to determine whether or not University education was meeting the needs of the learners; to determine the extent of community response to University extension education; to determine whether or not University Extension Education programmes encountered constraints in meeting the expectations of learners. A survey research method, which included self-administered questionnaires and a structured interview guide, was used to collect data from a sample of 100 respondents. The respondents were made up of 89 learners, one (1) Resident Lecturer and nine (9) part-time Tutors in programmes in Chipata District. Purposive sampling technique was used to select the sample. The findings showed that learners participate in University Extension Education due to factors that include the need to develop new skills, acquire knowledge, promotion, acquire academic and professional qualifications, and getting better jobs. The findings also showed that University extension education was meeting the needs of learners. The findings revealed that the extent of community response to University Extension Education was high. Although the response was high, the number was not to the expectation of most of the respondents. The findings showed that University Extension Education experienced constraints in meeting the expectation of learners. Some of the major constraints included: lack of teaching and study materials; shortage of part-time Tutors; and lack of a library. In view of the findings, practical recommendations were suggested. Some of these recommendations included, more adequate evaluation of University Extension Education programmes, recruiting more part-time tutors specialized in their various fields and using participatory research approaches to identify the needs of learners and University Extension Centre.