Sustainability and accessibility of private schools in Zambia: experiences of low-cost private primary schools in Lusaka’s peri-urban areas
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Primary education is the only formal type of education accessible to many young people. It is the source of knowledge and skills required for socio-economic development at individual and national level. Primary education is thus the foundation of further education and training (MOE, 1996). Appreciating its importance, the Zambian government introduced the Free Basic Education Policy in 2002 (Beyani, 2013). Since then, primary education (Grade 1-7) has remained free to promote education for all. Despite public education being free, many parents still take their children to private schools (Tooley and Longfield, 2015). The generally perceived quality of private over public education coupled with liberalization principles, has contributed to the growth of private education provision in Zambia. Though, access to private education has been traditionally a preserve of the middle class in urban areas, recent trends point to the emergence of low-cost private primary schools in peri-urban and rural areas (Heyneman and Stern, 2014). Low-cost private primary schools depend on tuition fees for survival and sustenance. However, theircontinued existence and accessibility seem unstable amid various socio-economic constraints Zambia is facing. This paper therefore, provides a comprehensive analysis of the sustainability and accessibility of low-cost private schools in Lusaka’s peri-urban areas. Data were collected using a questionnaire and interview guide. Secondary data from research findings on private schools, government documents and practice papers were used for analysis. Findings indicated that schools experienced a decrease in student enrollments, a situation that had been attributed to financial hardships parents were experiencing. In addition, the survival and sustainability of many low-cost private primary schools appeared to be threatened with financial constraints and closure if no proper measures were put in place. The study recommended for government support of these schools by promoting an enabling operational, regulatory and socio-economic environment for them to thrive. Keywords: Sustainability; Accessibility; Low-Cost Primary Schools; Peri-Urban Areas.
Journal of Positive Psychology and Counselling
SubjectLow-cost primary schools--Zambia