The Nature of the School -Community relationship in selected basic and high schools in Kalomo District

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Nkumbwa, Kanjambo
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The Ministry of Education in 1996 decentralized the education system in Zambia. The rationale behind it was to encourage community participation in provision of education.Therefore, the Ministry of Education implored schools to create close links with local communities in which they are located. However, the relationship varies from one school to another.The focus of this study was on the nature of the school-community relationship existing in Kalomo District. The study tried to establish the basis of this relationship. In this study,school-community relationship referred to the co-operation or interaction between the school and the community.The study had four (4) main objectives and these were: i) To find out the nature of the school-community relationship in Kalomo District, ii) To find out ways through which the community participates in the activities of the school, iii) To find out ways through which schools and teachers participate in the community activities, iv) To find out ways through which school-community relationship can be strengthened.The study followed a descriptive research design. Interviews and focus group discussions helped to derive the respondents' opinion on the nature of the school-community relationship existing between local communities and schools in Kalomo District, and how this relationship can be strengthened.The main findings of the study revealed that the school-community relationship in Kalomo District has gone beyond the provision of financial and material resources to include school governance. Members of the community participate in school governance through their involvement in decision-making. Decision-making is done through various meetings that are held between schools and their local communities. Parental and community participation in school activities is mainly done through the consultative bodies such as Parent and Teacher Associations (PTAs) and School Education Boards.The study further identified some ways that may strengthen school-community relationship. These ways were: holding regular consultative meetings, schools inviting members of the community to attend many school-related events, schools to be available for open discussion, strengthening PTAs, improving communication and sensitizing the local communities on health and environmental issues.The study recommends that the Ministry of Education should review the existing legislations regarding the operations and membership of the PTA in order to harmonize it with the government's decentralization policy in education. This would facilitate full community participation in education. Members of the community without children in their local schools should participate fully in the school activities. Further, schools should not fail to hold PTA annual general meetings. It is through such meetings that individual members of the community take part in decision-making and interact with teachers.
School Community participation-Kalomo