Experiences of school managers with the management of production units: a case of selected secondary schools in Lusaka province, Zambia.

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Chikondano F M, Kazawala
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The University of Zambia
Globally, there has been an increase in the realization of the need for introducing a Production Unit (PU) in schools. In Zambia, PU in schools was introduced around the mid-nineteen seventies following a presidential directive in 1975. Nevertheless, the program has had little success linking vocational theory and practice, including desirable attitudes to manual work, training management, and marketing skills or producing school income-this impetus to understand educational managers’ experiences managing PU in secondary schools. Using a hermeneutic phenomenology, the current study examined educational manager’s experiences in the management of PU in 3 secondary schools in Lusaka Province among 45 systematically easy accessed purposively selected school managers, 3 Head teachers, 3 deputy Head teachers, 30 heads of Departments, 3 PU coordinators, and 6 PTC members. Data was collected using semi-structured interview guides and analysed using thematic analysis. The study findings revealed that most educational managers in selected secondary schools effectively managed and implemented PU despite experiencing some notable challenges. Contrary to other studies that were done on PU, this study’s findings indicate that managers had some negative experiences such as lack of permanent labor as pupils core business is class work. It also revealed that the positive experiences were as a result of effective implementation and management of PU. There was also an extra income for the schools, skills training for both members of staff and teachers and improved on partnership with other schools. The study findings also revealed that various stakeholders were involved in the management of PU, including school administrators (i.e., Head teacher, deputy head teacher, Head of Department), PU coordinators, PTC committee members, and the pupils, among many others. The study findings further revealed that the many factors that were experienced that contributed to the challenges met in the management of PU were lack of adequate funding/ start-up capital, market for the produce, partnership and skilled workforce, land for PU, and machinery. Based on the study findings, there is an urgent need for training educational managers in managing various PU activities and providing consistent and adequate funding for PU. There is also need for the School Management team to involve all stakeholder in the entire PU process. Keywords: Educational Manager, Experiences, Management, Production Unit, Stakeholder, Zambia
Degree of Master of Education in Educational Administration and Management
Vocational education. , Occupational training.