Challenges of combining work and study faced by working students at the University of Zambia

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Lungu, Audrey
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This report is an establishment of the challenges of combining work and study faced by working students at the University of Zambia and how they were coping with the challenges. The objectives of the study were to: explore challenges working students face at their respective work places as a result of combining work with academic studies; identify challenges working students face in their academic studies as a result of combining with their formal employment; establish how working students combine family responsibilities, work commitments and the demands of academic studies; and make propositions which would be used by working students to mitigate and respond to challenges. In this study, a descriptive survey design was adopted and it consisted of both quantitative and qualitative methods of collecting data. Semi-structured questionnaires and interview guides were used as data collection tools. The sample size was one hundred and fifty (150) which comprised one hundred and forty (140) working students and ten (10) lecturers including Assistant Deans and Heads of Departments. The study established that the major challenges working students faced in combining work and study were, lack of sponsorship from their workplaces to fund their studies; pressure of academic work and financial constraints due to multiple responsibilities such as family demands and community concerns; and employer expectation at places of work. The study established that this trend was followed by head counting or disciplinary action taken against those who did not comply. In addition to these challenges, the study revealed that working students faced challenges common to all University of Zambia students such as lack of accommodation on the campus; lack of study space and inadequate up-to-date relevant study materials. The study also established that despite these challenges, working students managed to balance family responsibilities, work commitments and demands of academic work by sharing their challenges with Academic Members of Staff, and sometimes with colleagues for relief and advice. In an attempt to mitigate and respond to challenges, working students set priorities and in certain instances, they attended to the challenges as they surfaced.In order to offset these challenges, the study made a number of recommendations. The major ones were that the government should come up with a policy to award scholarships to working students on self sponsorship, especially those studying in needy areas. The government should arrange for an orientation programme for working students to assist them on how to manage time and stress. The University of Zambia should build flats for students without accommodation because boarding houses are not conducive, as they lack study space and privacy for adults from their own homes, and the University of Zambia main library should be expanded and stocked with more up-to-date study materials, relevant to courses being offered at the institution
Work and study-Zambia , Quality of work life