Challenges and opportunities of the introduction of computer studies in selected junior secondary schools in Chipili district, Zambia.

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Chashi, Bornventure
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The University of Zambia
The Zambian government has introduced the policy on ICT learning in junior secondary schools. It states that all secondary schools must offer computer studies as a compulsory subject at grade eight and nine and it must be examinable. Therefore, the purpose of this subject was to examine and evaluate the challenges and opportunities of the introduction of computer studies in selected junior secondary schools of Chipili district. The objectives of this study were to determine the availability of ICT and human resources in the teaching and learning of computer studies, to establish the benefits and opportunities acquired and to examine the challenges faced by teachers and pupils in teaching and learning of computer studies. The study adopted a qualitative design. The target population was four junior secondary schools in the district as there were only five schools which were offering computer studies. The sampled schools provided four headteachers, eight computer studies teachers, four head of departments and forty-eight pupils. The DEBS was also part of the respondents. Therefore, the total sample size was 65. Data was collected through semi-structured interview schedule and questionnaires. The study used content validity to measure the relevance of the research instrument. The findings indicated that there were no qualified computer studies teachers in Chipili district and the ICT equipment were not enough for the smooth learning of pupils. Besides, one of the major findings was the absence of computer laboratories. In fact, the educational standards of learning computer studies in those schools were below par. On the other hand, learning computer studies can assist the learners to benefit by opening their own internet café and becoming entrepreneurs. The study findings were significant in that the findings might be used by educational researchers, educational planners and other scholars of ICTs as it would hopefully increase their awareness of the values and opportunities of computer studies to both teachers and learners. Furthermore, the result of the study could help policy makers and educational planners to make adjustments that enhance performance and improve the educational standards in the country. From the study, it was concluded that the selected schools under study had no trained teachers for computer studies and materials for computer studies were inadequate for the smooth learning of the subject. Besides, the learner lacked the background information on ICTs; therefore, teachers had great challenges in putting the technical concepts across. The researcher, therefore, recommended that the government through the Ministry of General education should take kin interest in the teaching and learning of computer studies so that trained teachers are sent and more computer resources are provided to schools as it is a policy that computer studies should be offered at junior secondary school.
Computers in education. , Computer science.