An analysis of the contributions of the Holy Cross Sisters to the educational empowerment of women in Zambia

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Ilubala-Ziwa, Lubasi Judith
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The purpose of the study was to analyse the contribution made by the Holy Cross Sisters (HCS) to the educational empowerment of women in Zambia, from the viewpoint of their former pupils. The HCS were the only religious group chosen because it was the only group that established a senior secondary school for girls in Western Province. The study focused on examining how the Sisters promoted, and were still promoting the educational empowerment of women in Zambia. To do this, I interacted with sixteen former pupils of HCSS and one former pupil of Sancta Maria School, a school which was run by the HCS in Lukulu District before it was shifted to Malengwa where it finally became known as HCSS. A qualitative approach of collecting data was used. Data collection methods which were employed were one-on-one interviews which collected data from HCSS head teachers, the current HCSS Parents Teachers Association (PTA) chairperson, parents and Education Secretary from Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC). Focus group discussions captured data from former HCSS pupils who were the key participants. I further collected secondary data from national and diocesan archives which I examined in order to acquire a fuller engagement of the development of women’s education. The study population consisted of all former pupils of HCSS. With regard to the sample, the study captured a total of 25 participants. A small sample was chosen to allow for the use of in-depth interviews meant to capture the viewpoints of the selected former pupils. The research instruments used in the study were semi structured questions for Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and one-on-one interviews. The instruments also included observation schedule for purposes of observation and document analysis check list for analysis of documents. A recording device was used to record the discussions and the life histories told by three of the former HCSS pupils in the study.The major findings of the study were that the selected former HCSS pupils viewed the HCS to be their major agents of education for empowerment. The HCS empowered women educationally through the provision of school, following the Ministry of Education (MoE) designed curriculum, the hidden curriculum, hard work, good conduct and their emphasis on spirituality. Women who completed senior secondary school education at HCSS exhibited the eight indicators of education for empowerment, namely, assertiveness, rights awareness, children’s education, community participation, leadership, employment status, income, and income generating activities (ARCCLEIIs). So, the more committed teachers are and the higher the level of school education, the more educationally empowered women become. The study recommended that for education to empower women to contribute significantly to economic growth and development it should be of high quality offered in a conducive school environment, in which the social, academic and spiritual well being of the individual are taken care of by teachers and other stakeholders. Such kind of education should meet the ARCCLEIIs of education for empowerment proposed in this thesis.
Church Work-Zambia , Women Education-Zambia , Women Economic Activity-Zambia , Women's rights-Zambia