AN EXPLORATORY ANALYSIS OF YOUTH LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN ZAMBIA: A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN LUSAKA DISTRICT
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After gaining independence in 1964, Zambia had taken charge of its affairs and this called for a new leadership to take over. This transition for most African countries including Zambia came with a set of challenges among leaders like corruption, bureaucracy, incompetence and lack of expertise. Coupled with this are high expectations from the public directed at government institutions, which need to respond to the basic needs of citizens, and private business institutions, which need to create and sustain economic activity in an often uncertain environment. These transitional challenges call for outstanding leadership in both the public and private institutions. However, one can make a justified and evidence-based argument that the state of leadership in Zambia, particularly in the public sector, is not living up to these expectations. A number of interventions by the government have been attempted, including the incorporation of the education sector. The interventions include the creation of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Child Development, the formulation of the “Educating our Future” policy document, and periodic revisions of the school curriculum. The effectiveness of these interventions has not been satisfactory and they do not include the intentional development of emerging Zambian leaders. The goal of this research was to conduct an exploratory analysis of this Zambian youth leadership development practice at upper secondary level in public schools based on an analysis of two case studies. A qualitative approach was adopted and the two case studies were Olympia Secondary school and Northmead Secondary school. From the findings of the study, it seemed that school activities which require participation from pupils had a significant influence in building leadership skills compared to the theoretical learning which happens in the classroom. The study also established that the curriculum is cross-cutting and does not have a focus on leadership development, it has a life skills framework, and this makes it inadequate in effectively facilitating youth leadership development (YLD), though it does so indirectly. The main barriers to YLD are; the lack of willingness from pupils to develop their leadership skills; the school environment does not facilitate effective leadership training; and the school teachers, instructors and society themselves lack the appreciation for leadership development and the training to develop leadership skills in pupils. I further established that the model for YLD in Zambian public schools appears to be a mixture or combination of the models discussed in this study. The models looked at in this study are the conceptual model which focused on formal teaching of leadership; Leadership identity development model with a relational and ethical process of people attempting positive change; Heifetz’s adaptive leadership model; and the social change model. The study concludes that more specific investments and intervention with a focus on leadership development in public schools would result in the development of effective leadership which will lead to social change and national development.
The University of Zambia