Production units in some Zambian Schools and Colleges:their organisation problems and prospects

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Bwalya, Ignatio Kasonde
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This survey attempts to document how production units in selected schools and colleges are organized and the problems they face. Furthermore, the survey analyses the opinions of pupils, students and teachers/Lecturers in reference to production units or manual work. The study also takes a look at pupils' preferences for farming as a career compared to other jobs. Four variables (namely, sex, location of the school, boarding or day status of the school and level of education of the respondents) were taken into consideration to determine whether or not they had any bearing on the respondents' attitudes to production units or farming as a career. Methodology This survey was conducted in two provinces, Luapula and Copperbelt. In each province one college was chosen for the study. 40 primary school pupils, 4O secondary school pupils, 38 college students and 38 teachers/lecturers responded to the questionnaires. Data Analysis Four data analytic methods have been utilized in this study* (i) On organization of production units and problems faced by them, factual presentation is done based on the responses of the respondents and personal observations \\ made during the survey; (ii) Percentages are used to compare the responses of various categories of respondents; (iii) The use of chi-square to determine if there is any statistical significance in the responses of various respondents;and,(iv) The use of gamma measure of association for ordinal variables.Findings 1. It was found that Party Officials or influential local leaders do not sit on school production unit committees, contrary to the Ministry of Education directives. 2. The problems of water, initial capital and theft was common in all schools. 3. The four variables of sex, location of the school, boarding or day status of the school, and level of education of the respondent had little or no influence on pupils', students' and teachers'/lecturers' responses to production units. There was an overwhelming support for production units to continue in all institutions of learning. 4. Farming was the second most popular job preference. This is an indication that school-leavers are no longer illusioned about their job preference as experience has taught them that in most cases, the majority of them will not get the jobs they prefer due to stiff job competition brought about by continuous shrinking job market in Zambia. Recommendations 1. Technical and vocatienbl' skills should tie. .taught, ;ln schools with stronger bias in favour of agriculture. 2. Teachers qualified in production unit skills should be deployed to boost production. This means fmore teachers should be trained in this field. 3. Individual schools should make efforts to purchase their own tools since the Ministry of Education is financially handicapped and unable to provide the required tools to schools.4. Pupils in day schools should be guaranteed good concessions to buy the produce at reduced prices as an appreciation for their labour. SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH A replication of the kind of study undertaken here, but with a much larger and representative sample of schools so that results can be boldly generalized to Zambian schools as a whole;A detailed study of two production units (one successful and one unsuccessful) to be able to pinpoint more accurately factors that account for success or failures of production unit activities; and A more comprehensive study regarding what pupils and studentspecific and school-specific variables are associated with acceptance or rejection of production units or manual work among pupils and students (and also teachers). Such insights may aid policy makers in the selection of strategies to shape attitudes in favour of manual labour among Zambians, especially young school-leavers.
Production unit