The effects of Termly Grants from the Ministry of Education on the Quality of Education being offered in Lusaka Middle Basic Schools

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Meki, Charity Lengwe
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This study attempted to ascertain whether or not grants from the Ministry of education were sufficient to meet teaching / learning materials and other operational costs of some Lusaka middle basic schools. It also investigated the effect of grants on the quality of education provided in these schools. The study followed a cross-sectional survey research design. Its population consisted of all the ninety-two middle basic schools in Lusaka urban district. Purposive sampling was used to select ten 'big' schools which, according to Sikwibele (2003) had found grants to be insufficient compared to the money collected from user fees and other cost sharing measures. Guided oral interviews, documentary analysis and questionnaires were used to collect data. Quantitative data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) while qualitative data was categorised and analysed into themes and sub-themes. The study found that all the middle basic schools were receiving K3, 000,000.00 per term through the MoE grants. This amount (K3, 000,000.00) was insufficient to meet the costs of teaching / learning materials and other operations of schools. At the prevailing exchange rate, the average allocation of grants per pupil (Kl, 643.00) was less than one U.S dollar, an amount that was just enough to buy a common pen. As a result, some schools (6 out of 10 or 60 %) were collecting money from pupils (between K10, 000.00-K27, 000.00) in a bid to supplement the 'insufficient grants.' The fact that grants were insufficient meant that quality in terms of inputs had been affected in a number of ways: Almost all the ten schools had not bought a single textbook since the introduction of grants; the supply of other basic instructional materials had gone down; repair and maintenance of school property and buildings was rarely undertaken; the laying off of some auxiliary workers in order to cut on the wage bill had resulted in a reduction of security services and the general decline in the cleanliness of schools (especially toilets). In addition, clubs and sports were either no longer as effective as before or not running at all and there were frequent interruptions of electricity, telephone, water or post office box services due to the non settlement of bills. The study has established that grants were inadequate to meet the operational costs of schools and that this had affected the provision of quality education, in terms of inputs. The main recommendation therefore, is that the MoE should seriously consider increasing the grants.
Education -- Lusaka , Grants-in-aid -- Lusaka , Education -- Financing , Education -- Economic aspects -- Lusaka