Publication Date

1998

Abstract

The aim of this paper in an attempt to make a contribution in finding out how a school has and/or can be a change agent in Zimbabwe's inherited educational system. My personal experience, which is explained in detail in Chapter 2, has led me to choose this research in particular. The research focuses on the roles, responsibilities and restraints of various Stakeholders in the Zimbabwean Schools. It also looks at the challenges of of the changing roles of the school and how concepts such as accountability, efficiency and effectiveness can be applied. I limit myself to a field research on "schools" in the urban areas of Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe (after Harare the capital city), due to the marginalisation of the schools in this part of the country. My Primary Research Question is stated as : "What are the roles, responsibilities and limitations of the various stakeholders in Zimbabwe's educational system? This is what the paper is trying to answer. I try to assess the roles of the government as well as some of the stakeholders' efforts to provide a relevant educational system in Zimbabwe. I ask some rather rhetoric questions which seek to clarify the purpose of schooling and among other things curriculum content and issues of school direction and policy are also discussed in Chapter 4. Zimbabwe is formerly a colony of the British Empire, then it was called Rhodesia. Upon Zimbabwe's attainment of Independence in 1980, the mammoth task which faced Zimbabwe as a nation was to address the imbalances in the education system. I try in this paper, to relate and critique the roles, responsibilities and limitations of the various stakeholders since 1980 to the current direction the Zimbabwean educational system is taking. My Research Methodology varies from the use of a socio-historical and cultural - religious approaches to personal narrative experiences. I employed tools such as a questionnaire survey among students and focus groups with six selected teachers within the urban set up of Bulawayo. Both a socio- historical and cultural - religious approaches refers to the process of sourcing data from the people's perspective of the subject, and from their beliefs in their respective societies. I also employed a personal narrative of my experiences using the famous phrase (in this paper) "I remember". The research became limited to the people of Bulawayo, who are Ndebele speaking, Ndebele is one of the two dominant indigenous languages in Zimbabwe. The other language is Shona. English is the official language of instruction. For my summary of findings and conclusions, I looked at the challenges which are faced by the Zimbabwean government, The challenges are numerous. For all along, the Zimbabwean government had chosen to go it alone with regards to education development. In some way, it ignored the various stakeholders who could have brought in a lot of wealth of experience soon after independence. But, it embarked on a massive "solitary" education system referred in this paper as Education with production. This approach had numerous flaws which were embedded in the government's monopoly, bureaucratic tendencies, uncoordinated policy implementations and the lack of resources which varied from material, human and financial. There has been a general despondency, resistance to change and mixed feelings among government policy developers with regards to pursuing the socialist principles (Marxist-Leninist ideology). The current drive to involve the efforts of all stakeholders is expected to yield better results. This drive and/or momentum includes the introduction of Vocational Training Colleges (VTCs) throughout the country. However, there is a general continuity of policy makers to sidelining the grassroots in curriculum design. Teachers and students alike, feel they are left out in the process. Finally, the bureaucracy inherent in the current system does not encourage or promote versatility and initiative on the part of headmasters and other stakeholders in terms of curricula design. There is need for a clear distinction and separation of powers among the various stakeholders. There is also a glaring mismatch in the use of financial resources by the government in the education sector e, g. 96% of the education budget goes to overhead whilst the remaining 4% is used for the core functions of the Ministries of Education and Technology.

Disciplines

Education | International and Comparative Education

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