The Impact of Curriculum Innovations on Pre-Service Primary Teacher Education in Zambia

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Kalimaposo, Kalisto Katongo
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The study investigated the impact of curriculum innovations on pre-service primary teacher education in Zambia. The study collected views from teacher educators in Colleges of Education, educational administrators from Teacher Education Department, Curriculum Development Centre, Examinations Council of Zambia, Civil Society Organizations working in primary teacher education and eminent educationists in Zambia familiar with issues in teacher education. A descriptive survey design was used to carry out the research. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative techniques. This design involved the use of questionnaires, in depth interviews, focus group discussions and analysis of documents. The questionnaire mainly used a Likert response format. The Likert format requested respondents to indicate whether they strongly agreed, agreed, disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statements posed in the questionnaire items. The study employed purposive and snow ball sampling procedures.The study found that curriculum innovations in pre-service primary teacher education in Zambia were too rapid. Most of the respondents interviewed 124 (89%) observed that curriculum innovations in pre-service teacher education in Zambia were too rapid. Most of the respondents strongly felt that the curriculum should be allowed to run a considerable period of time before it was phased out. It was noted that the curriculum innovations in pre-service primary teacher education appeared haphazard as there were too many programmes introduced within a short period. Most college lecturers and some eminent retired educationists noted that the Ministry of Education had tried six curriculum innovations since independence, and most of these curricula had been on experimental basis. It was observed that ad hoc changes dampened the professional morale of lecturers in colleges of education as college lecturers did not have enough time to familiarize themselves with the ever changing curriculum in teacher education. On the involvement of college lecturers and colleges of education in the curriculum innovation process, it was reported that colleges of education and lecturers were not consulted in the curriculum innovation process, some lecturers indicated that they were only involved in the curriculum innovation process in the final stages to rubber stamp the programme. Some key informants noted that innovations were brought as policy packages already decided upon by GRZ and the external funding agency. Lecturers complained that they were just being used as implementation conduits. It was noted that the MoE imposed curricula changes on colleges of education and lecturers who were opposed to changes were threatened to be disciplined. The study recommended that sporadic changes of the teacher education curriculum without evaluation of programmes should be discouraged as some changes appeared haphazard. In addition, monitoring and evaluation of teacher education programmes should be encouraged in order to generate vital information to foster research based decision making and to improve efficiency and effectiveness of teacher education programmes.It was recommended that the MoE should strengthen the Directorate of Teacher Education and Specialised Services (TESS) so as to have a strong internal coordinating mechanism to administer operations in teacher education. It was observed that TESS would be better served if it had a sufficient strength of academic officers who were sensitive to the needs of the profession and had appropriate administrative as well as academic experiences.
Curriculum , Curriculum Innovations , Curriculum-Innovations-Teacher Education-Zambia