Implementation of biology curriculum: a comparison of upgraded and old established secondary schools in Ndola district of Zambia

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Mwamba, Ndakasha Stephen
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The University of Zambia
This study was aimed at investigating whether there was a significant difference in the implementation of the biology science curriculum between the upgraded and old established secondary schools. The study subsequently sought to assess the nature of school infrastructure in the two sets of schools; the availability and state of teaching and learning materials; and to investigate the biology teaching staff and their practices in the two sets of schools regarding implementation of biology curriculum. The study employed a mixed method research approach with an embedded method and descriptive survey technique that targeted non-grant aided government secondary schools of Ndola district. Six schools and 32 biology teachers were purposively sampled with 625 biology learners randomly sampled; additionally one teacher was randomly sampled for biology lesson observations. Data collection instruments included biology learners’ survey questionnaire (BLSQ); biology curriculum evaluation questionnaire (BCEQ); biology lesson observation schedule (BLOS); document analysis of ECZ grade 12 biology final examinations results; and structured interview with an official from MoGE. Descriptive statistics, ANOVA, binomial, chi-square and correlation tests were used to analyse quantitative data while qualitative data was analysed through establishment of common themes. Findings of the study showed a difference in the distribution of school infrastructure between the two sets of schools with old established schools having better infrastructure but there was no difference in the impact on curriculum implementation. There was no statistical significant impact of school infrastructure on learner academic performance in grade 12 biology final examinations at P=.05, N=36 and df=1 as all the calculated P values were greater than the statistical P value of 0.05. It was also found that distribution of teaching and learning materials was poor in both sets of school and its impact on curriculum implementation and learner academic performance was negative. The study also found that the teaching practices were characterised by limited use of teaching methods, teaching aids, and lack of practical lessons and limited promotion of learner-centred activities which impacted negatively on curriculum implementation in both sets of schools. It was concluded that there is no significant difference in the implementation of biology curriculum between upgraded and old established secondary schools and that the biology curriculum is not effectively implemented in both sets of secondary schools. It was also concluded that biology curriculum implementation is mainly anchored on schema theory of learning as opposed to socio-constructivist theory of learning. The implications of the study are that school infrastructure has not been well utilised to support effective teaching and learning biology and that teachers need to be trained to implement biology curriculum amidst challenges of poor school infrastructure and inadequate teaching materials. It was recommended that the Ministry of General Education review its policy of upgrading basic schools by first addressing the challenge of school infrastructure and teaching and learning materials. It was further recommended that the mandate of the school inspectorate department of MoGE should be extended to encompass extensive research activities. It was also recommended that the curriculum designers should consider prescribing teaching and learning materials that are locally and readily available materials.
Biology--Study and teaching(Secondary)--Zambia , Biology--Curriculum--Zambia