The provision of early childhood education in selected government and private primary schools in Nkeyema district of Western province of Zambia.

Thumbnail Image
Mulebwente, Gubwani Enges
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The University of Zambia
The study set out to investigate provision of Early Childhood Education in government and private schools. The descriptive survey design was used to collect data. Pieget’s cognitive theory of leaning was used and a sample of one hundred and twenty (120) respondents was selected from six (6) Early Childhood Education centres in Nkeyema, which is a small, rural and new District. Data was collected using questionnaires, semi-structured interviews; observation schedules and ECE class checklists. Qualitative data was analysed using themes by coding and grouping similar ideas. Findings of the study revealed that there were gaps between the government policy of Early Childhood Education (ECE) provision and implementation. The study established that, there were no guidelines, on how to institute ECE in government primary schools. The private schools were offering ECE even before 2013 declaration. ECE centres did not have documents indicating teaching time. Teaching was done without syllabi, there were no trained teachers for ECE centres at the inception of the implementation but any primary teacher would volunteer to teach pre-school children. In some cases, they used school leavers without training, the study also found that ECE was provided in appropriate infrastructure which were designed for the pupils above six years: In dilapidated class rooms, with toilets and play grounds far from ECE centres. Implementation of ECE centres began without supply relevant teaching and learning materials; instead it was more of academic than play. Further, the study revealed that, there was challenge of long distances between schools and villages result in rampart absenteeism. In government schools, there was overcrowding because of free education policy which allowed the enrolment of children without paying fees of any kind and attending schools without any uniform. This is opposed to private schools. However, private schools are also overcrowded because of the beliefs held by most parents that, private schools offer better teaching. In view of the above research findings, it was recommended that appropriate infrastructure, teaching/learning materials and relevant equipment be provided to ECE centres. The government should establish more ECE centres to reduce distances between centres for these young children.
Early childhood education--Government policy--Zambia.