Effects of cost sharing on access to high school education in Kabwe Urban District of the Central Province, Zambia

Thumbnail Image
Nsama, Peggy
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The principle of cost-sharing in the Zambian education system was introduced with a view to addressing the issues of equity and equality in the education system. The purpose of this particular study was to find out the effects of cost sharing on access to high school education in Kabwe Urban District of the Central Province of Zambia. A descriptive study was used to carry out the research. The study employed qualitative and quantitative techniques. Data were collected from the DEBS-Kabwe, five (5) Headteahers, twenty (20) high school teachers, six (6) parents and one hundred (100) high school pupils. The data were collected using interview schedules for the DEBS, Headteachers and parents, as well as questionnaires for teachers and pupils. Qualitative data were analysed by comparing and grouping (categorising) respondents' opinions. Emerging themes from data obtained were subsequently grouped or categorised then interpreted. Quantitative data were analysed using Microsoft Excel to obtain graphs and pie charts. The findings of the study showed that some head teachers never had an understanding of what had caused the formulation of the cost sharing policy. The study also revealed that the socio-economic status of most of the families where pupils came from was average or poor. This was revealed by variables such as the type of junior secondary school attended, of which most of the pupils attended junior secondary education at Government Schools; Education level of parents or guardians, which was revealed to be average; and the occupation of parents or guardians, which revealed that although the majority of these parents or guardians were skilled workers, they were either working in the Government or in low paying companies or organisations. It was evident from the study that the cost sharing policy had a lot of negative effects on access to high school education by pupils in Kabwe District. The majority of the children that had entered the education system were ejected out of the system before reaching Grade 12. Most of these pupils dropped out of school on account of failure to meet the cost sharing requirements, especially raising money to pay school fees, among other reasons. The failure by pupils to meet the cost sharing requirements was partly attributed to the effects of HIV and AIDS, for example being orphaned, and also parents not being employed. The study also revealed that, although most of the parents understood their role in their children's education, as that of paying school fees, most of them had problems in raising the money required which resulted in their children being sent away from school. Despite the pain they went through, most parents and pupils still appreciated the cost sharing policy as being good, as the money raised helped schools to run. Most of the respondents recommended that the policy of cost sharing should be abolished as it was unbearable to most families. The expectation of most of them was that of the Government giving free education to all pupils regardless of their status. However, not all pupils had problems in paying school fees, some pupils managed to meet cost sharing requirements and most of them acknowledged the ability by their parents to pay, support from relatives, brothers, and special sponsorship programmes among others, as, their enabling factors in paying school fees, although such pupils represented a small proportion of the pupils in the sample.
Acess to education--Zambia