Management of Distance Teacher Education in Zambia

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Chiyongo, Vincent
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This study is a collective case study. It assesses the various aspects of distance teacher education in the five institutions. These are the University of Zambia, the Zambian Open University, the National In-Service Teachers’ College, the Nkrumah College of Education and the Copperbelt Secondary Teachers’ College. Distance education practitioners’ and distance students’ views on the management of distance teacher education in Zambia were elicited. The researcher collected data using semi-structured individual and focused group interviews, and observations. In addition, relevant documents such as reports, policy documents and statistics were used. Also, the researcher analyzed instructional study materials (modules) to establish whether they were suitable for distance students. The researcher employed qualitative methods in the collection and analysis of data. Triangulation was used in order to verify the information given during this study. In terms of theory, a comprehensive literature review was carried out to determine the works other researchers had done in the area of open and distance education, especially in the field of the management of distance teacher education. The Literature review revealed that good management of distance teacher education depends on how the various aspects of distance education are managed. Furthermore, the evidence from the literature review indicates that good management of distance teacher education improves the quality of distance teacher education. Apart from ZAOU, the other four institutions are dual-mode institutions. They offer distance education programmes and full-time programmes. The same lecturers teach both distance and full-time students. The findings concerning the strengths of the management of distance teacher education in Zambia were: a recognition by providers and clients of the importance of distance teacher education, an awareness of the challenges of distance teacher education as displayed in their guidelines and a positive attitude towards distance teacher education. The findings concerning the weaknesses were: inadequate student support services, inadequate channels of communication, inadequate training and professional development, problems relating to integrating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in distance education delivery, problems concerning assignments and examinations, inadequate records management, inadequacy regarding interactive instructional materials, problems relating to staffing, and a lack of national policy on distance education in Zambia. The overall conclusion is that the management of distance teacher education in Zambia is reasonably effective. However, the areas of concern highlighted above should be given attention if institutions that offer distance teacher education programmes are to provide quality distance teacher education.
Distance Education--Zambia , University Extension--Zambia , Distance Education Management--Zambia