Implementation of free Primary Education Policy: conflicts between learner's access and provision of quality education in selected primary schools in Kafue District

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Silukuni, Darious
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University of Zambia
This study investigated the implementation of Free Primary Education Policy in primary schools of Kafue district of Zambia with the main emphasis on the conflict that the policy had created between learners' access to education and quality of education taught in selected Primary Schools in Kafue. The study's objectives were to find out the extent to which the Free Education Policy was effectively implemented in Kafue district. To determine the conflicts that had arose between learners' access to education and supply of quality education in the implementation of the Free Primary Education Policy. To identify the strategies that schools had employed to cope with the conflict between children's access to education and provisions in Kafue district. As a descriptive survey, the study population consisted of one hundred and twenty (120) teachers, twenty four (24) head teachers one (1) DEBS and one (1) DESO. The teachers responded to a questionnaire while the head teachers, DEBS and DESO were interviewed using structured interview schedules. The observation checklist was used to record the schools' enrolments, equipment and facilities that were available. Data was analyzed thematically as themes and sub themes emerged from the data. The study revealed that the FPE policy in Kafue District was being implemented to some extent. All the sampled primary school head teachers agreed to the fact that the Zambian government had continued to give schools grants and other education materials to support the FPE policy. Although ,the grants and the other school requisites did not much the escalating numbers of pupils in primary schools, government was still committed to supporting them. Furthermore, it was revealed that there were high enrolments in primary schools which meant that many learners had free access to education. The high enrolments in these primary schools had brought about a number of challenges such as: inadequate educational supplies, low staffing levels, inadequate classrooms and desks, and dilapidated infrastructure. In some instances, the teachers were demotivated due to inadequate staff accommodation and low housing allowances to rent decent houses. Teachers were being overworked, and were unable to attend to individual needs of pupils. They also could not manage to give adequate homework and remedial work due to large classes. Consequently, the Zambian government seems to have had failed to meet the needs of schools to satisfy the surge enrolments. In other words, the challenges were in conflict with the supply of quality education. In order to overcome this conflict and avoid compromising the quality of education, Kafue District had prioritized quality and relevance of education for its post 2016 agenda. Key to that agenda was the execution of the introduced primary school curriculum and the two-tier education system that offered academic and skills education. In that regard, the district had re-affirmed its commitment to ensure that any child, pushed out of the educational system had an opportunity to continue to acquire skills and knowledge. In conclusion, it could be restated that the Free Education Policy was being implemented in Kafue district to some extent. Even though primary schools in Kafue District had continued to experience numerous challenges regarding high primary school enrolments, the government of the Republic of Zambia.
Master of Science in Peace, Leadership and Conflict Resolution
Education, Primary--Finance--Zambia , Education, Primary--Zambia , Education and the state--Zambia