Provision of continuing professional development by resource centres in selected high schools of the Copperbelt province

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Mwale, Kelly Kezala
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of resource centres in providing Continuing Professional Development to high school teachers in the Copperbelt Province.Major concerns have been expressed by various stakeholders that not enough has been done in enhancing and strengthening the concept of Continuing Professional Development among high school teachers. The Teacher Resource Centres that are supposed to be custodians of In-service Training of Teachers(INSET) now Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are perceived not to have done enough. The establishment of Teacher Resource Centres throughout the country was meant to help upgrade the skills and competencies of teachers at both basic and high school levels. These Continuing Professional Development activities that should be on-going include School Programme of In-service for the Term (SPRINT), Demonstrate, Observe, Discuss and Implement (DODIS) and Subject Meeting at the Resource Centre (SMARC).A purposive sample of 8 teacher resource centres and 12 high schools giving the study a number of 84 respondents was selected.Data were collected by way of questionnaires, interviews and Focus Group Discussions. The major informants were the following: Headteachers, Heads of Department, Teachers and Resource Centre Coordinators.The results of the study revealed that Teacher Resource Centres were not effectively providing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities among high school teachers. The findings further revealed that the Continuing Professional Development activities such as School Programme of In-service for the Term (SPRINT), Demonstrate, Observe, Discuss and Implement (DODIS) and Subject Meeting at the Resource Centre (SMARC) were almost non-existent in high schools despite clustering them with basic schools.Generally, the findings indicated lack of commitment both by the coordinators in Resource Centres and school administrators. Further revelations by the study indicate that little or no effort has been given to school - based workshops, seminars, professional meetings and conferences. Additionally,constant monitoring of CPD activities was not given prominence by Resource Centre Coordinators hence the glaring lapses in the actual implementation of Continuing Professional Development programmes.Further analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data revealed that there was lack of significant advocacy and sensitisation on the difference between Continuing Professional Development activities and In-service Teacher Education tenable at colleges of education and universities. In view of the research findings, recommendations were made. Teacher Resource Centres ought to enhance advocacy and sensitisation of Continuing Professional Development activities. Pedagogical competences and skills would be strengthened at high school level if Teacher Resource Centres played their expected role of providing Continuing Professional Development to teachers. The study has also shown that school administrators did not apportion equal weight to Continuing Professional Development as they did with sporting activities. There is need to give both areas equal attention.
Professional education -- Copperbelt province , Resource programs (education) -- Copperbelt province