The role of Teacher Unions in the provision of workers' education in Kafue District

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Shipota, Maureen
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The education that teachers receive at the start of their profession is not enough to last them a lifetime. The world is fast changing. Along with the change, the curriculum and teaching methods change too. Therefore, the knowledge and skills that the teachers may have acquired during their initial training may become irrelevant. The need for new knowledge and skills arises. A skilled teacher usually has high self-esteem. Enhancing teaching skills is essential for sharpening one’s personal development and eventually each other’s if they involve themselves in school based Continuous Professional Development.Teachers need help either to upgrade themselves professionally or to be updated with innovations. Workers’ education is the solution. Teacher unions and the Ministry of Education Science, Vocational Training and Early Education should take keen interest in upgrading professionally teachers and updating them with changes.This study set out to investigate the role of Teacher Unions in the provision of workers’ education in Kafue District. A case study design was employed which consisted of qualitative and quantitative methods to collect data. The sample comprised of teachers (60), Head teachers (8) and unionists (19) making 87. The information on the study was gathered by using questionnaires and content analysis of documents. The quantitative data were analysed with the use of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and were presented using frequency tables. Qualitative data were analysed based on categorizing similar themes as they emerged and were presented in qualitative form.The study revealed that Teacher unions were not doing enough in the provision of workers’ education. They did not educate teachers on the contents of the booklets that contained the terms and conditions of service. The study also established that Teacher Unions had little involvement in profession upgrade and updating teachers on changes and innovations. It was also revealed that the union had no educational activities on coping mechanisms.The Teacher Unions cited some challenges that hindered them from providing workers’ education. These included lack of material and financial resources. The other challenge was that the unionists were not aware of the roles they needed to carry out because they were not inducted when they took office. The result of these challenges mentioned here and many others was lack of provision of workers’ education. The findings also showed that the majority of the sponsored teachers who upgraded professionally, sponsored themselves. The teacher unions sponsored a few. The findings showed that the teachers, Head teachers and unionists felt that the unions were not executing their roles in workers education to the expectation.The study recommends that Teacher Unions should take an active role in educating teachers about their rights and conditions of service; they should be actively involved in Teachers’ professional upgrade and continuous updating of skills.
Teacher Unions-Zambia , Teacher Unions-Political Activity-Zambia