Stakeholders’ perspectives on the removal of english as a mandatory passing subject at grade nine in Zambia.
Musonda, Muma, Pamela
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In Zambia, English is the official language and a language of instruction from Grade 5 going upwards. It had been a determining subject for any pupil to proceed to Grade 10. However, a policy was developed to remove English as a qualifying subject for Grade 9 examinations. The purpose of this study was to establish various stakeholders’ perspectives on the removal of English as a mandatory passing subject at Grade 9 level. The objectives of the study were to: establish reasons why English was removed as a mandatory passing subject at Grade 9 level; analyse attitudes of teachers of English and pupils towards government’s removal of English as a mandatory passing subject at Grade 9; explore views of standards officers, school managers, teachers of English, parents and pupils on the English waiver at Grade 9 level. The study used a qualitative design and employed a case study strategy of inquiry. The data collection techniques used in the study were interviews and focus group discussions. Purposive sampling technique was used to come up with a total of 72 respondents of which 4 were standards officers, 3 school managers from 3 schools, 9 teachers and 48 pupils from the same schools. Respondents included 4 former pupils and 4 parents. Data were analysed using the inductive thematic analysis. The theoretical frameworks constituting the study were the Expectancy Theory by Victor vroom (1964) and the Critical Discourse Analysis by Roger Fowler and others (1970s). The findings of the study established that the removal of English as a mandatory passing subject at Grade 9 was because of pupils’ low literacy levels and low proficiency levels in English. The other reason was that government wanted to grant Grade 9 pupils’ access to senior secondary education. The findings showed that after English was removed as a mandatory passing subject, most of the teachers of English and pupils held negative attitudes towards teaching/learning English while a few others held positive ones. The study recorded 3 participants who were in support of removing English as a mandatory passing subject at Grade nine while 62 were not. The study also established that motivation played a major role in the teaching and learning of English. The study’s recommendations were that government should devise measures of scaffolding pupils who failed English at Grade 9 so that they perform better by the time they reach Grade 12. For the sake of consistency, English should be made a mandatory passing subject at Grade 9 because it is mandatory at Grade 12 and a prerequisite to tertiary education. Government, through the Ministry of Education, should involve policy implementers in the policy formulation processes. Key words: Stakeholders, English, Mandatory, Motivation
The University of Zambia
- Education