Perceptions of pre-service students on human rights: a study of two public universities in Lusaka province of Zambia

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Chomba, Matilda
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The University of Zambia
The purpose of study was to investigate the perceptions of pre-service students on human rights in the two public Universities in Lusaka province of Zambia. The objectives were: establish human rights pre-service students were aware of; explore pre-service students’ perceptions of human rights at the two public universities under study; examine the relationship between perceptions held by students on human rights and students’ behavior, and ascertain measures that the two universities were taking to improve on students’ perceptions on human rights. The study was a descriptive study design supported by quantitative and qualitative method of data collection. 60 participants were selected using cluster and simple random sampling techniques. The sample involved with thirty students from each University selected in the study. Participants were selected using simple random approaches. Questionnaires were used to collect data. Quantitative data was analysed using SPSS software while qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis approach which led to identification of merging themes. Thematic analysis involved coding and categorising the merging themes in relation to the study. The study revealed that participants were aware of the existence of human rights which equally concerned them as students. In support of their awareness of human rights, participants cited the freedom of expression; the right to education; the right to life. The study also revealed that the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly and association were two human rights that were significantly abused in the institutions under study. These human rights contributed to a large extent of the indiscipline witnessed among pre-service students. On efforts made by the institutions under study to deter students from abusing human rights, the study findings cited regular meetings with administration; guidance and counselling service; provision of guidelines on handling concerns; and appointment of students’ representatives. Arising from the study findings, it was recommended that during the first year student orientation, the counselling departments in the two Universities under study were supposed to guide students on how to use the freedom of expression within the confines of the law whenever they felt that their rights were being infringed upon. The study also highlighted the need for the University managements to attend to students concerns on time as when students felt that their human rights were infringed upon as opposed to waiting until students exhibited signs of and manifested indiscipline. Key words: Human rights, freedom of expression; guidance and counselling
Human rights--Zambia , Pre-service students--Human rights--Zambia