Research article of American Journal of Educational Research and Reviews
An Assessment of Quality Issues in the provision of Early Childhood Development B in Zimbabwe
J. Musiyiwa and E.Chikwiri
Women`s University in Africa, 459 Arcturus Road, Manresa Park. Harare, Zimbabwe
The study sought to assess the quality of service delivery for the Early Childhood Development B (ECD B) programme in Zimbabwe. The study covered all the ten provinces of Zimbabwe and adopted both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The qualitative approach was largely used to elicit views on quality provision of ECD B in Zimbabwe through the use of Focus Group Discussions, interviews, document analysis and observations. Questionnaires were used to solicit information from key informants such as head teachers, teachers-in-charge and teachers. The population from which the sample was drawn included all primary schools, Education officials at district, provincial and head office levels as well as registered ECD B centres in Zimbabwe. Random, convenience and purposive sampling procedures were used to select the study sample. The study used two types of quality indicators for Early Childhood Development programmes namely structural and process quality indicators. According to Lamb (2000) structural quality indicators of ECD programmes include: teacher-pupil ratio (number of children per teacher), qualifications, experience and working conditions of teachers. Process quality indicators of ECD programmes include: the physical environment (consisting of indoor and outdoor facilities), curriculum and assessment. Findings revealed that quality is compromised because most ECD B classes in Zimbabwe are manned by unqualified teachers because qualified teachers are still very few. Teacher effectiveness which is brought about by knowledgeable and qualified teachers is a key component of quality ECD B provision. The study also revealed that it is a challenge to get qualified teachers to work in poor rural and otherwise difficult-to-reach communities thus compromising the provision of quality ECD B in these areas. The teacher-pupil ratio at ECD B level in most parts of Zimbabwe is high, that is, it is way above the stipulated ratio of 1:20. A desk study of the Zimbabwean ECD curriculum indicates that it is effective and of good quality in that it is inclusive, play based and activities are developmentally appropriate. It is inclusive in that it welcomes learners in their diversity and can adapt to meet their learning needs which is one of the attributes of quality education. From the information obtained, it is very clear that most indoor facilities for ECD B classes in Zimbabwe are inadequate. Most schools in all the ten provinces do not have adequate outdoor facilities for the ECD B children. The study showed that the majority of schools provide safe water for drinking and washing. It is clear from the study that most schools have separate toilets for the ECD B children. Most of the respondents from the ten provinces indicated that the ECD B teachers assess children’s holistic development using developmental skills checklists. Responses from ECD B teachers indicated that there is inadequate support from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) in the following areas: allowances for para-professionals, teaching and learning materials, ECD B facilities and infrastructure, capacity building workshops, supervision by Ministry officials, and provision of circulars. The study concluded that while increased enrolments may suggest school systems have increased their capacity to accommodate more children, this did not necessarily translate into improved educational quality because of inadequate financial, material and human resources. Inadequate supply of these resources has curtailed the effectiveness and efficiency of ECD B provision in Zimbabwe.
Keywords: Quality, Early Childhood Development, Structural indicators, Process indicators.
How to cite this article:
J. Musiyiwa and E.Chikwiri.An Assessment of Quality Issues in the provision of Early Childhood Development B in Zimbabwe. American Journal of Educational Research and Reviews, 2017,2:11. DOI:10.28933/ajerr-2017-12-1501
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