Advocacy strategies used by Zambia open community schools (zocs) in implementing inclusive education: a case of two community schools in Chipata

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Kabaka, Musonda
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The University of Zambia
The study looked at advocacy strategies that ZOCS uses in implementing inclusive education in community schools in Chipata District. Particularly the objectives of the study were (1) to establish the role of ZOCS in implementing inclusive education in community schools, (2) to identify the advocacy strategies used by ZOCS in implementing inclusive education, (3) to establish the benefits of advocacy strategies and (4) to find out the challenges faced by ZOCS while implementing inclusive education in community schools.The study utilized ‘Most Significant Change’ (MSC) technique a qualitative approach to monitoring and evaluation. All community schools in Chipata were targeted, ZOCS officers, parents, and learners. Purposive sampling was used to select the teachers, parents and pupils while confirming and disconfirming to select ZOCS officers. The total respondents was 22. Semi-structured interviews and document review were used and data was analysed thematically. Findings revealed that the role of ZOCS was not known by the learners, parents and the teachers. But was more pronounced amongst the ZOCS personnel, school administrators and some PCSC members. The study identified DEBS – DAC engaged in dialoguing cross cutting issues affecting community schools, public Dialogue Forum. The creation of Students Council that empowers learners take part in decision making. PCSC are equipped. Though respondents were not able to explain ZOCS’ role, they related to benefits trickled as a result of advocacy strategies. Benefits includes deployment of government teachers in community schools, learners empowered to participate in school matters and Chisitu pointed at administration block built through PCSC. Inclusive education posed a huge challenge, negative attitude towards learners, infrastructure barriers, lack of teaching materials and teachers lacking knowledge of special education needs. Based on the findings, ZOCS should lobby that special education teachers also be deployed in community schools, encouraged teachers to use local materials, PCSC and school managers to consider accessible infrastructure in future and MOGE and other stakeholders to ensure inclusive learning is practiced. Keywords: Advocacy, community schools, inclusive education, strategies.