Effects of primary school teachers professional upgrading beyond the scope of primary education on teacher availability in selected primary schools of Chienge district, Luapula province.
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Primary school teachers professional upgrading beyond the scope of primary education impacts negatively on the availability of teachers in primary schools of Chienge District. Most teachers that upgrade in this regard migrate to secondary schools. There is a great concern as to whether there is quality education existing in the primary schools of Chienge District due to low teacher availability partly arising from this teacher migration trend. The main objective of the study was to establish the effects of primary school teachers professional upgrading beyond the scope of primary education on teacher availability in the primary schools of Chienge District. Data were sought using interview schedules and focus group discussion scripts. The study utilized both primary and secondary sources of data. Primary data was collected using interviews, and focus guided questions. Focus group discussions were used to obtain data from the primary school teachers while the DEBS and the five head teachers were interviewed in their respective offices. The interview schedule was preferred because it allowed for some of the questions to be predetermined; and made it possible to pose prompting questions at the time when the interview was actually being conducted. In essence, the interview schedule gave the researcher discretion to ask prompting questions. Secondary data was collected from the internet and scholarly articles such as books and journals. The study employed the mixed method approach in data analysis. The quantitative method was engaged to analyse the data because of its usefulness in the generation of statistical responses, coupled with its ability to produce accurate computations and present information in forms of tables. Qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis. This involved the reading and reflection of field notes and transcripts. Data from transcripts was categorized into themes, ideas and issues and then re-examined in relation with the research questions that sought qualitative data. The findings from the study showed that most primary school teachers were upgrading professionally beyond the scope of primary education so that they migrate to secondary schools for better conditions of service. The results also indicated that the quality of education was compromised because of the poor staffing levels in primary schools of Chienge District. In view of the findings, recommendations were made. It was suggested that the ministry of general education should put in place robust policies on primary school teachers professional upgrading that should compel every primary school teacher to upgrade within the scope of primary education. The primary school administrative structure should be expanded through the creation of head of department position. This measure will certainly make primary schools more inspiring and attractive in terms of promotion prospects for teachers. Salaries and other related allowances of primary school managers should be equaled to that of secondary schools. It was further suggested that the ministry of general education improves infrastructure in primary schools. Finally, the ministry of general education should adjust the primary school teacher training curriculum by training teachers in two specific study areas as the case is in secondary schools. The measure will reduce on the heavy teaching load that primary school teachers are subjected to which demand them to master and teach all the study areas of the primary school curriculum.
The University of Zambia