The effect of communication on the implementation of government programmes and service delivery: a case study of the ministry of Education-Ministry Headquarters,provincial education office,Lusaka and Chongwe districts

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Mulemwa, Mulemwa
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The main purpose of this study was to identify effects of communication on implementation of government programmes and service delivery in the Ministry of Education in Zambia. The study also examined factors which cause ineffective communication in the Ministry at all levels and how the administrative structure and its positions affect communication effectiveness and thus programme implementation and service delivery. Further, the study also identified strategies and methods which can improve communication in order to facilitate effective programme implementation and delivery of quality service. The research was conducted in Lusaka and Chongwe district. In Lusaka the study was done at Ministry of Education Headquarters, the Provincial Education Office, District Education Board Secretary’s office, Libala High School and Woodlands ‘A’ Basic School. In Chongwe the research was conducted at Mukamambo II Girls’ High School and Chalimbana Basic School. A total sample size of 35 members from a research population of 840 staff at all levels of the education, from Registry clerk, teachers all through to the level of Permanent Secretary, participated in the study. Data was collected using both qualitative and quantitative instruments. Interviews and focus group discussions were qualitative tools used while questionnaires were the quantitative tools used. The data collected was analysed initially, through content analysis theoretically, that is, both conceptual and Relational Analyses and also electronically using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. It was found from the study that despite majority of the staff at all levels acknowledging that effective communication was critical to programme implementation and service delivery, it was evident that there were a number of gaps, inadequacies and shortfalls in as far as communication was concerned and that this affected programme implementation and service delivery. The major factor which led to ineffective communication in the education system were found to be lack of adequate, appropriate and modern tools for communication and facilitative services network and infrastructure, a big and bureaucratic administrative structure on which channels of communication are laid, delayed feedback, lack of follow up, lack of close supervision and monitoring poor work culture, weak management systems, besides inadequate, inconsistent and delayed funding. In the face of the foregoing challenges, it is strongly recommended that, adequate, appropriate communication tools be provided to personnel at all staff levels in the education system, capacity building programmes for staff at all levels to be conducted on the use of ICTs, communication skills, upgrade job competence and educational management appropriately such as for those in administrative positions, changing the work culture of personnel at all levels staff, decentralizing some functions in the system, ensuring quick feedback and follow up. It is further recommended that the ministry be restructure in order to ensure clear reporting lines, correct alignment of personnel according to jobs they quality for. Increased funding which is released on time and consistently is also called for at all levels of the education sector so that personnel at all levels are better equipped. This, it is hoped, will foster effective communication and as a result, accelerate programme implementations made to improve effective communication in the ministry of education will not only be considered but acted upon positively as this will help achieve speedy and successful implementation of government programmes and delivery of quality service in this very important sector needed for economic development and empowerment of the Zambian nationals, at various levels and in different areas of development.
Communication , Mass media , Communication in education