Decentralization and quality education in selected community schools in Mufulira and Kitwe districts on the Copper-belt province of Zambia.

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Yumba, Dominic
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The University of Zambia
The study set out to investigate Decentralisation and Quality Education in Community schools in Mufulira and Kitwe Districts using Right-Based Approach to education; and School-Family-Community Partnership Model by Joyce Epstein. A descriptive survey approach was used in this research and the sample comprised of 45 community schools drawn from Mufulira and Kitwe districts, 45 head teachers, 100 teachers, 45 Parents Community School Community Committee, two DEBS (Mufulira and Kitwe), three officials from Non-Governmental Organisations, namely Zambia Open Community Schools, the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance, and United States Aid Time To Learn project. The total sample was 195 participants. The statistical package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was engaged to analyze quantitative data. Data were collected through questionnaires, interview guides, focused group discussions, observations and document analysis of literature and institutional records. The findings of the study showed that there were three types of curriculum used in community schools namely, the Zambian curriculum of 2000, the skills, participation, Access to Relevant Knowledge curriculum of 1996, and the Revised Curriculum of 2013. The majority of the teachers, that is 89 percent, indicated that they used revised curriculum of 2013. An examination of the Grade 7 results from community school examination centres, for the period 2014 to 2017, showed that the performance of pupils between those in the studied school and the government schools were similar. The findings showed that resource mobilisation in community schools was a big challenge because community schools were non-profit making organisations. Resources were mobilised mainly from the following: school fees; donations from cooperating partners especially the United States Agency for International Development and The Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance; community contributions; school fundraising ventures and the government. The structure for resource mobilisation and utilisation was the Parents Community School committees. Community schools were monitored and evaluated by Resource Coordinators and senior teachers of nearby schools. Out of 45 schools, the District Education Standards Officers monitored only twelve schools. The study showed that community schools enjoyed some opportunities in the training of teachers in form of short pedagogical courses organised by NGOs and cooperating partners through the government. This study found out that community school pupils enjoyed the flexibility offered by these schools in terms of payment of schools fees, and school uniform policy. Administrative challenges the schools faced were inadequate finances, inadequate infrastructure and learning and teaching materials, and lack of trained teachers. In conclusion, community schools are organized and managed by Parents Community School Committees thereby affording the school managers an opportunity to innovate on activities responsive to their needs. Monitoring of community schools though crucial to ensuring quality education was carried out by non-monitoring and evaluation specialists.
Quality of education--Community schools--Zambia. , Schools--Decentralization--Zambia.