The effects of free education policy in selected basic schools of Ndola and Masaiti districts of the Copperbelt province, Zambia

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Kaulule, Ronald Siame
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the Free Education Policy in Ndola and Masaiti Districts. The survey design was used, coupled with quantitative and qualitative methods. A sample total of 244 Respondents was selected from six schools in Masaiti and six schools in Ndola. Data was collected using questionnaires, Semi structured interviews and Focus Group Discussion. Further, quantitative data collected was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) while data from interviews and Focus Group Discussions was analysed qualitatively by coding and grouping similar themes together into groups using constant comparative techniques. Tables, Charts and Graphs were used in the examination and presentation of data after analyses. The findings of the study revealed that parents, teachers, pupils and other stakeholders had accepted the introduction of Free Education Policy (FEP) for Grades 1-7. The study further revealed that there was an increase in class enrolments in Grades 1-7. In addition the study also revealed that the majority of urban schools were not happy because revenue base had been eroded with the introduction of Free Education. The findings revealed the inadequacy of grants that were sent late to schools. This also included other free education materials such as chalk, textbooks and so on. One of the further findings of this study was that parents were not willing to contribute towards school projects. In terms of teacher-pupil interaction at all levels (Grades 1-7), the study revealed that due to big numbers in classes, there was little teacher-pupil-interaction and very little time for teaching and learning due to triple sessions in schools. The study also found that the pronouncement of free education came as a surprise to Ministry of Education officials, School Administrations and Parents and due to this there were no clear plans on how the Free Education Policy would be successfully implemented. The pronouncement was a presidential decree by the Republican President.
Education, policy , Education and state -- Zambia , Education -- Financing