Community involvement in educational planning and management: a case of Mphamba and Lundazi primary schools in Lundazi district Zambia.

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Chipeta, Loveness
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The University of Zambia
The purpose of the study was to investigate the extent to which communities are involved in educational planning and management at Mphamba and Lundazi Primary School. The objectives that guided the study were to: establish the educational planning and management activities at primary school level, determine the extent to which the community is involved in educational planning at primary school level, identify challenges faced by the schools and the community in their quest to work together and propose strategies aimed at enhancing community involvement in education planning and management. This study used a descriptive research design in which quantitative and qualitative data was collected. The sample size comprised 30 respondents namely, 6 administrators, 12 teachers and 12 parents who were purposively sampled. In – depth interviews guides and semi-structured interview guides were used in this study. The data collected was analysed using thematic categorizations and presented in narrations. Verbatisms which were relevant to the study, were also considered presented. The study revealed that educational planning and management in primary education involves making curricular decisions regarding what students are to learn and instructional decisions regarding the learning experiences to be provided in the classroom. The study also revealed that it included scheduling of learning activities in the major planning task, projects to be done with their time frame, co-curricular and localised curriculum teaching activities and budgeting. The study further established that community members were not very much involved in educational planning and management. The reasons advanced included teachers and parents resistance, too many curricular changes, low student performance, community members not always being there for the school, lack of appreciation from community members and the community poor education background. The study further revealed that the school and the community faced challenges in their quest to work together and these are negative altitude from parents towards school programmes; some parents could not pay PTA funds, and other were busy with their own works and businesses. Other challenges were lack of appreciation from the community members, teachers and parents, resistance to work together with the school, curricular changes and low performance of learners. The other challenges were that there was little interaction between parents and the school to evaluate how activities were implemented hence parents did not know the progress of the school, financial resources and duration taken on the activities. Additionally, the PTA executive did not inform the parents on all the school programmes and that AGM meeting were not done every year hence a barrier to work together with the school. The other challenge was lack of information from the school to the community due to a series of communication channels The findings also revealed that strategies aimed at community involvement in educational planning and management were that schools should have action plans that are linked to goals for learners success and that communities should be sensitised by the schools on the importance of community involvement in education planning and management. The other strategies were that school managers should promote effective communication between the school and parents or the community and that parents who fail to pay PTA funds should pay in kind. It was also proposed that teachers should interact with parents to see how they can develop the school and never to call meetings as workshops because the latter attract money at the end. The study recommended that the Ministry of General Education should organise more workshops and seminars to equip head teachers with appropriate skills on how to involve community members in educational planning and management; should create a conducive environment for community involvement, and should be proactive and challenge all stakeholders to engage community members in educational planning and management.
School management and organization.