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University of Huddersfield Repository
University of Huddersfield Repository
Jeyacheya, Fungai
Teachers’ attitudes to and the challenges of establishing an effective and fully-fledged community
of practice: the experiences of six secondary schools in the East of Zimbabwe.
Original Citation
Jeyacheya, Fungai (2015) Teachers’ attitudes to and the challenges of establishing an effective and
fully-fledged community of practice: the experiences of six secondary schools in the East of
Zimbabwe. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.
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Teachers’ attitudes to and the challenges of establishing an effective
and fully-fledged community of practice: the experiences of six
secondary schools in the East of Zimbabwe.
Fungai M. Jeyacheya
A thesis submitted to the University of Huddersfield in partial
fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education
University of Huddersfield
December 2015
Acknowledgements/Dedications
I want to thank the Zimbabwe Ministry of Education Sport Culture and Arts through the
offices of the Permanent secretary of education, regional/district and headmasters at
selected schools for giving me permission to contact research at the selected six
secondary schools. Acknowledgment goes to all the teachers and members of staff who
sacrificed their time and made this study possible. I would also like to thank all the
stakeholders who took part and all those who supported me in various ways.
Thanks also go to the School of Education and Professional Development and the great
motivational support and guidance from my supervisor Dr Rod Robertson and cosupervisor Alison Ryan. Thanks also goes to all the proof readers.
I also want to thank my family for their understanding, support and encouragement
throughout the study.
It is with deep felt joy that I dedicate this to my late sister, Susan Jeyacheya whose
commitment in teaching went beyond the classroom. Gratitude also goes to the entire
family for placing significance on education and the great role played to ensure that
each family member enjoyed the opportunity and right to education.
Dzidzo inhaka yedu
Imfundo yilifa lethu
Ikwele/thuto ilefa gwedu
Education is our Heritage
ii
Abstract
Before independence, in 1980, the education system of Zimbabwe was organised along
racial lines. This organisation of education along racial lines disadvantaged Black
Africans in the context of both access to and quality of education experience. The
transition of the Black Africans from primary to secondary school appeared to be
capped for both academic and non-academic vocational secondary school programmes.
Upon attaining independence, the government of Zimbabwe embarked on educational
reforms and rapid expansion of the education system. These reforms aimed at
establishing equitable provision of education to the disadvantaged Black Africans.
Reforms focused on the millennium development goals (MDG) whose aims were to
provide (primary school) education for all by 2015. The economy of Zimbabwe, which
experienced growth soon after independence, declined rapidly in the late 1990s and
2000 leading to the hyperinflation of 2008. This led to adverse effects on the provision
of quality education and teacher demotivation. Some teachers in this study revealed a
sense of a compromised professional identity; there was also a sense of a teaching
community that included many ‘accidental’ teachers. It was also possible to detect many
teachers having a sense of a lack of control; discontentment was high among the teacher
respondents. There was also a reluctance to understand the need for accountability and
commitment by a significant number of the teacher respondents.
Key words: equitable education in Zimbabwe, transition, reforms, expansion,
discontentment, cognitive dissonance, lack of control, lack of resources, subdued
teacher, compromised community of practice, professional identity, quality of teaching,
accountability, commitment, effectiveness, teacher-centred and student-centred teaching
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CONTENTS
Acknowledgements/Dedications
Abstract
Chapter 1
Page
1 Introduction
1.1 Historical background, context and challenges after independence (1980)
1.1.1 Impact of the expansion of education after independence in 1980 and
onwards
1.2 Title and aim of study
1.3 Why consider Zimbabwe secondary schools?
1.4 Secondary education
1.4.1 The assessment stages in the Zimbabwean education system
1.4.1.1 Commitment and accountability of teachers and school leaders
1.4.2 Education for all and funding
1.4.2.1 The economic down turn and education
1.4.3 Organisational learning and adaptation
1.4.3.1 Unemployment and the value of education
1.4.4 Curricula, needs of the country, industry and effectiveness of the curricula
1.4.4.1 Relevance of curricula
1.4.5 Utilisation of resources and their management
1.4.6 Financially self-sustaining schools
1.5 Theoretical Frameworks and the role of theories in education
1.5.1 Social identity theory or stereotyping
1.5.2 Theory of Constructive Alignment
1.5.3 Self-determination theory
1.6 Summary
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Chapter 2 Literature review
2.1 Introduction
2.1.1 The rationale for considering Zimbabwean secondary schools
2.2 Overview
2.3 Motivation to be educated
2.4 Resources
2.4.1 The need for and optimum use of resources
2.5 Achievement
2.6 Curriculum
2.7 Secondary School Education Sector Structure
2.8 Teacher training
2.9 Motivation to enter the teaching profession and teaching methods
2.10 Teacher welfare
2.11 Professionalism
2.12 Teacher effectiveness or efficacy
2.13 Quality education
2.14 Community of practice
2.15 Summary
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Chapter 3 Methodology
3.1 Introduction and aims of study
3.2 Context under which study was carried out
3.3 Case study
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3.4 Research title
3.4.1 The purpose of the study
3.4.2 Some more specific questions (were)
3.5 Obtaining permission to carry out the study in Zimbabwe from gatekeepers
3.6 Pilot Study
3.6.1 Relevance of the Pilot Study - Validity and reliability of research
instruments
3.7 Limitations of study
3.8 Requirements, researcher obligations and the British Education Research
Association (BERA) guidelines
3.8.1 Ethics and voluntary consent in social research
3.9 Contacts at schools
3.10 Data collection
3.10.1 The Likert scale
3.10.1.1 The validity of the questionnaire
3.10.2 Data collection procedure/process
3.10.3 Semi-structured interviews
3.10.4 Observations
3.11 Qualitative research
3.12 Validity, reliability and triangulation
3.13 Transferability and generalisation of findings
3.14 Phenomenology
3.14.1 Conducting and interpreting phenomenological research
3.15 Limitations and benefits of Hermeneutic phenomenological research in this
study
3.16 Analysis process
3.16.1 Reflexivity (in hermeneutic phenomenological research)
3.17 Summary
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Chapter 4 Analysis and discussion
4.1 Introduction
4.1.1 Accountability and monitoring (of students, teachers and leadership)
4.1.2 Dissonance between stakeholders and teachers on leadership
qualities/attributes
4.1.3 A sense of achievement and contentment
4.1.4 Attitudes to resources and utilisation
4.1.5 Attitudes to change and developmental strategies
4.1.6 Collaboration (with other schools or stakeholders)
4.1.7 Commitment, passion and accountability
4.1.8 Summary to questionnaire responses
4.2 Analysis of interviews
4.2.1 Introduction
4.2.2 Motivation to enter profession
4.2.3 Gaining entry into teaching
4.2.4 Teacher (professional) identities through achievement and contributions
4.2.5 A sense of detachment and a lack of sense of ownership
4.2.6 A sense of discrimination and lack of inclusivity
4.2.7 A sense of self- aggrandisation or self-glorification or overstating
4.2.8 Frustrations, constraints and barriers
4.2.9 Resources and equipment
4.2.10 Concerns and a sense of discontentment and cognitive dissonance
4.2.11 Inability to reduce dissonance and unwillingness to embrace change
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4.2.12 Failure to separate internal and external grievances
4.2.13 Teachers’ sense of unfairness and lack of control on enrolment of students
4.2.14 A sense of lack of control
4.2.15 Imposition of decisions and a lack of involvement in decision making
4.2.16 A sense of a disaffected teacher, disengagement and detachment
4.2.17 A sense of subdued teachers/helplessness
4.2.18 Capacity building
4.2.19 Status of schools and school culture
4.2.20 Teacher (negative) attitudes to low ability students and professionalism or
ethics
4.2.21 Compromised professionalism or professional identity
4.2.22 Reluctance to accept accountability and commitment
4.2.23 Commitment, monitoring and accountability
4.2.24 Appraisal and ineffective teacher professional development
4.2.25 Dissonance between teachers and stakeholders on accountability
4.2.26 Teacher Appraisal
4.2.27 Commitment and accountability of the school leaders
4.2.28 Relevance or quality of the curriculum
4.2.29 Leadership styles, performance and disciplinary issues
4.2.30 Deficiencies in the education examination board and the curriculum
4.2.31 Appropriate implementation of actions to improve a community of
practice
4.2.32 Summary
4.3 Analysis of observations
4.3.1 Introduction
4.3.2 Themes from observations
4.3.3 Effective monitoring – teacher attendance
4.3.4 Teacher identities and teaching approaches, limited or lack of planningTeacher-centred approach
4.3.5 Concentrating on teaching and ineffective superficial/surface learning
4.3.6 Teacher expertise – or a lack of it
4.3.7 An effective student-centred learning approach
4.3.7.1 ObSA5 (Home economics lesson School A-Form 3 class)
4.3.7.2 ObSB3 (Geography lesson at School B-Form 1 class)
4.3.7.3 ObSB4 (Science lesson at School B-Form 1 class)
4.3.8 Monitoring students and effective feedback
4.3.9 School culture(s), ethics and professionalism
4.3.10 Ineffectiveness/deficiencies or limited learning styles and failure to cater
for low ability students
4.3.11 Resources
4.3.12 Interruptions
4.3.13 Summary
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Chapter 5 Conclusion and recommendations
5.1 Conclusion
5.1.1 Introduction
5.2 A sense of a compromised teaching community of practice and
professionalism
5.2.1 Reluctance to understand the need for accountability and commitment
5.3 Concerns and a sense of discontentment and cognitive dissonance
5.3.1 Concerns and discontentment
5.3.2 Discontent beyond or within the teachers’ control-Resources and decision-
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making
5.4 A sense of lack of control in the context of enrolment
5.5 Subdued teachers and helplessness
5.6 Summary
5.7 Recommendations/further research
5.7.1 Teacher accountability, competence, quality and quality of education
5.7.2 Professional identity
5.7.3 Development of a teaching community of practice
5.7.4 Teaching practice/processes and inclusive education
References
Appendices
List of Tables
Table 2.1 ‘O’ Level Cambridge exam results
Table 2.2 ZIMSEC ‘O’ Level exam results
Table 3.1 Types of schools in the study showing number of teachers and students
on roll
Table 3.2 Questionnaire rates of response at the six schools
Table 4.1 Question 11 – Teachers’ responses on qualities in a school leader
Table 4.2 Question 23 – Teachers’ responses on qualities of a secondary school
teacher
Table 4.3 Question 6 – Stakeholders’ responses on qualities of a leader
Table 4.4 Question 6 – Stakeholders’ responses on qualities of a secondary
school teacher
Table 4.5 Responses to questionnaire for secondary school teachers and
leadership/headteachers
Table 4.6 Responses to questionnaire for stakeholders on secondary schools
Table 4.7 Details of Schools Pass Rates
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List of Figures
Figure 2.1 Education expenditure showing an increase from 1980
to 1987
Figure 2.2 The structure of the observed learning outcome (SOLO’s Taxonomy)
Figure 3.1 The Hermeneutic Circle
Figure 3.2 The hermeneutic circle of reviewing literature and techniques
associated with different stages of the hermeneutic circle
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List of Inserts
Insert 1 from Working for Higher Achievement – Closing the Learning
Achievement Gap Teachers’ Manual
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List of Theme Maps
Theme Map 1-Reasons for entering the teaching profession
Theme Map 2-Roles in the teaching profession
Theme Map 3-Significant teacher contributions
Theme Map 4-Frustrations affecting/faced by teachers
Theme Map 5-Classroom observations
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List of abbreviations
ADEA-Association for the Development of Education in Africa
AfDB – Africa Development Bank
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‘A’ level - Advanced Level
BBC – British Broadcasting Corporation
BEAM - Basic Education Assistance Module
BERA - British Education Research Association
CDU - Curriculum Development Unit
CIET – (Presidential) Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training
DFID – Department For International Development
DEO - District Education Officer
EO1 - Education Officer
EdQual – Education Quality
ESAP - Economic Structural Adjustment Programme
EFT - Education Transition Fund
EWP - Education With Production
EU and USA’s –European union; United States of America
FMSI - Marist International Solidarity Foundation
GCSE-General certificate of secondary education
GDP-Gross domestic product
GNU - Government of National Unity
HIV/AIDS-Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection / Acquired ImmuneDeficiency Syndrome
HoD-Head of Department
IMF-International Monetary Fund
MDC –Movement for Democratic Change
MDG –Millennium Development Goals
MoESAC - Ministry of Education Sport, Arts and Culture
MoESCHTE - The Ministry of Education Sport and Culture/Higher and Tertiary
Education
NGO - Non-Governmental Organisation
ObSA –Observation School A/B/C/F
OECD - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OSISA - Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa
‘O’ Level – Ordinary Level
PKR - Performance Key Result
PLAP - Performance Lag Address Programme
PLC - Professional Learning Communities
RBM - Results Based Management appraisal system
SDC/SDA - School Development Committee/Association
SDF - Social Dimensions Fund
SOLO - Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome (or SOLO’ s taxonomy)
TAM2F - Teach A Man To Fish
UK – United Kingdom
UCLES - University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate
UNDP- United Nations Development Programme
UNECA - United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
UNESCO - United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation
UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Education Fund
UN MDG - United nations millennium development goals
WOZA – Women Of Zimbabwe Arise
ZANU-PF - Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
ZIDERA - Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Act
ZimFEP - Zimbabwe Foundation for Education with Production
ZGCE O-level - Zimbabwe General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level
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ZJC - Zimbabwe Junior Certificate
ZimPREST - Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation
ZIMSEC - Zimbabwe School Examination Council
List of Appendices
Appendix A.1 Letter to The Secretary for Education, Sport and Culture
Appendix A.1.1 Permission to carry out research from The Secretary for
Education, Sport and Culture
Appendix A.2 Letter to the Regional Director
Appendix A.2.1 Permission granted by the Regional Director
Appendix A.3 Letters to the heads of school
Appendix A.3.1 Approval/permission to carry out research granted by the head
of school
Appendix A.4 Letter to headteachers on administering of questionnaires and
interviews
Appendix A.5 Participant Information sheet
Appendix A.6 Participant questionnaire consent form
Appendix A.6.1 Signed participant questionnaire consent form
Appendix A.7 Participant interview consent form
Appendix A.7.1 Signed participant interview consent form
Appendix A.8 Questionnaire for secondary school teachers and
leadership/headteachers
Appendix A.9 Questionnaire for stakeholders on secondary schools
Appendix A.10 Interview schedule for secondary school teachers and leadership
Appendix A.11 Interview schedule for stakeholders on secondary schools
Appendix A.12 School details
Appendix B.1 Using the hermeneutic circle
Appendix C.1 Results from study-Teacher questionnaire responses at a school
Appendix C.2 Results from study-Stakeholder questionnaire responses
Appendix C.3-Interviews - Teacher 1A School A
Appendix C.4-Interviews-Teacher 2B School B
Appendix C.5-Interviews-Teacher 1C School C
Appendix C.6-Interviews-Teacher 6D School D
Appendix C.7-Interviews-Teacher 2E School E
Appendix C.8-Interviews-Teacher 2F School F
Appendix C.9-Interviews-Stakeholder S3 - Economic Development Practitioner
Appendix C.10-Interviews-Stakeholder S5 – Education officer (EO)
Appendix C.11-Initial lesson observations notes
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Chapter 1
1 Introduction
This chapter introduces the historical background, aims and rationale for carrying out
the study. It also provides a brief outline of the education system including curricula,
and some changes/reforms which were proposed to improve the delivery of quality
education. This also includes challenges faced and impediments inhibiting the provision
of a self-sustaining education system. Some theoretical aspects mainly on self-image
and their impact to influence teachers’ attitudes or approaches to teaching and learning
are also included.
1.1 Historical background, context and challenges after independence (1980)
As a nation emerging from colonial rule, Zimbabwe faced many challenges in
education. During the colonial era, before 1980, provision of education in Zimbabwe
was on racial lines. Schools were categorised into Group A (for whites only), Group B
(for Black Africans in high density urban areas) and Group C (for Black Africans in
rural areas). The majority and marginalised Black Africans received limited access and
inferior quality of education relative to that of the minority white population
(Mashingaidze, 1997:5; UNESCO, 2001:4; WOZA, 2010:1-2; Kapungu, 2007:2; Shizha
and Kariwo, 2011:26). Transition from primary to secondary school was also limited.
Those who progressed to secondary school faced a system that only allowed 37.5% of
the majority Black Africans to study in the non-academic vocational F2 type schools
and 12.5% proceeding to the academic F1 type schools (Nziramasanga Commission
Report, 1999:300; Technical Committee of the Education for all Campaign in
Zimbabwe, 2005:4). The main challenge was that of provision of equitable education,
where funding of a white child’s education was claimed to be twenty (20) times that of
a Black African child (UNESCO, 2001:4; Kanyongo, 2005:65-66; Technical Committee
of the Education for all Campaign in Zimbabwe, 2005:4). This required a radical change
to get rid of the racial categorisation of schools as a first step. At independence, (in
1980), the Zimbabwean government’s focus was to get rid of inequalities by unifying
the white and black education systems (Kapungu, 2007:2) based on a socialist principle
(Mashingaidze, 1997:6) of “growth with equity” (Kanyongo, 2005:66). These reforms
included the introduction of free primary education aimed at achieving education for all
(Peresuh and Ndawi, 1998:214). This was in line with the Millennium Development
Goal (MDG) 2 aimed at achieving universal primary school education by 2015, which
1
were almost unachievable (United Nations MDG Report, 2010:16; Marist International
Solidarity Foundation (FMSI), 2011:1). The main intention was to reduce dropout rates
of students at primary school level by those who could not afford to pay school fees.
The MDG 2010 Goal 2 also identified that the number of new teachers required in the
Sub-Saharan region between the time of the report and 2015 was equal to the teaching
workforce during that period. In the developing regions, improvements from 83% to
90% between 2000 and 2012 in the percentage of children attending primary school
were reported in the Millennium Development Goals report of 2014, which matches the
estimated 91% net enrolment reported in the Millennium Development Goals Report of
2015 (United Nations MDG Report, 2015:4, 24-25). However, high dropout rates
remained, with 58 million children consistently not attending school in 2012 (United
Nations Millennium Development Goals Report, 2014). Now at the end of the year
2015, this means a failure to meet the target to achieve universal primary school
education by 2015. Dropouts (in India and Brazil) also included some children who
took up commitments such as finding work early in life (Kishore and Shaji, 2012;
Tramontinaa et al., 2002:178). The priority was on provision of food (Kurebwa and
Mabhanda, 2015:508). Tramontinaa et al. (2002) claimed dropping out of school
retarded some aspects of the children’s development. Zengeya (n.d.) suggested a need to
reduce those factors that led to school dropout, but also, with an intention to meet the
education and training needs of the dropouts. Within the framework of these reforms,
the F1 and F2 two tier education system was abandoned (Nherera, 2000:348). The other
major development was that of increasing the transition from primary to secondary
school, which rose to at least 70% after 1980 (The Ministry of Education, Sport and
Culture and Higher and Tertiary Education, 2004:5). This was achieved by embarking
on a rapid expansion of the secondary school education provision. It was to cater for the
increased demand for secondary schools after the introduction of free primary
education. The focus of these reforms was to promote social mobility (Peresuh and
Ndawi, 1998:209). However, these initiatives created their own challenges.
1.1.1 Impact of the expansion of education after independence in 1980 and
onwards
Increased access to education had its challenges. Available resources at that time such
as infrastructure and teachers did not meet the demand. Double sessions (FMSI, 2011:4;
Masuko, 2003:21; Kanyongo, 2005:66) were introduced in the high density urban areas.
This also saw an increased engagement of (more) untrained or temporary teachers in the
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education system (Kanyongo, 2005:66). Nevertheless, the free primary school education
did not entirely stop children from dropping out of primary school during this period. It
was claimed that some parents who did not have a positive attitude towards education,
married off their daughters and some children spend time helping in the fields (Peresuh
and Ndawi, 1998:218, 220; Masuko, 2003:21).
1.2 Title and aim of study
Teachers’ attitudes to and the challenges of establishing an effective and fully-fledged
community of practice: the experiences of six secondary schools in the East of
Zimbabwe.
The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the Zimbabwean secondary
school education system through the following questions:
1. What were the teachers’/school leaders’ and stakeholders’ attitudes to teaching
in both rural and urban secondary schools in the East of Zimbabwe?
2. How effective were teachers in the provision of quality educational experiences
in six secondary schools in the East of Zimbabwe?
1.3 Why consider Zimbabwe secondary schools?
There were reports of ensuing problems caused by the economic downturn that started
around 1997 (Munangagwa, 2009:114). This worsened between 2000 and 2002, and
was linked to a combination of drought and the land reform programme (AfDB/OECD,
2003:356). These factors were claimed to be the precursor to the deterioration of the
education system and other services reliant on government funding. This appeared to
confirm some reports about teacher demotivation which seemed to suggest and to be
associated to the deterioration of the Zimbabwean secondary education system
(Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya, 2011:100). Mhlanga and Nyakazeya of the Financial
Times newspaper (2015) reported that the economic downturn was going to worsen
given that over 4500 companies closed or collapsed between 2011 and 2014 in
Zimbabwe. Between 2006 and 2008, the key issues identified in these reports centred on
commitment, motivation and retention of teachers, the main resource in the secondary
education sector. These issues were linked mainly to low salaries (Crothers et al.,
2010:663-664; Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya, 2011:100). Subsequently, some teachers
and other professionals left Zimbabwe to work in the Southern Africa region or abroad
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(Nherera, 2000:358; Bloch 2006:74). This study uncovered some of the challenges
faced by teachers in their efforts to efficiently operate and provide quality secondary
school education and related services. These challenges led to changes in teachers’
attitudes, the impact on teaching and teacher effectiveness. Such a background and
context prompted the researcher to carry out this study.
1.4 Secondary education
1.4.1 The assessment stages in the Zimbabwean education system
Zimbabwe has a clear linear secondary school education system, which is pursued in
schools or colleges. The first stage is a basic early childhood education and care, and
primary education from Grade 0 to 7. Next, students proceed to Forms 1 to 4 (‘O’ level)
over a period of four years in total and those who succeed at Form 4 have an option to
go to ‘A’ level (Form 5 and 6) over two years or tertiary education or apprenticeships.
‘O’ and ‘A’ level exams are terminal. At each terminal stage students sit examinations.
Students can enter tertiary education with ‘O’ or ‘A’ level qualifications. Some schools
require prospective students to sit entry tests and selection is based on the candidates’
performance. Examinations are part of the system’s monitoring exercise and help
provide guidance on career paths or specialisms (Nherera, 2000:344). There was,
however, an imbalance in educational facilities and quality of education prior to 1980
along racial grounds in favour of the white community. This called for some reforms of
the education system after 1980. Success in the education system could be brought
about by improving the functioning of the schools (O’Day, 2002:294). And such
success could be achieved and assessed by the benefits or contributions learners confer
to the society (Ndawi and Peresuh, 2005:210, 213, 215). As schools produce more
students who make contributions to the society, the more the secondary school
education would be acknowledged. Teachers would also be taken seriously for their
accountability and commitment towards their students’ achievement in the classroom
and terminal examinations.
1.4.1.1 Commitment and accountability of teachers and school leaders
While assessment was perceived to be an essential part of the learning cycle, there was a
fear that excessive standardisation narrowed the content (Whitaker, 2004:267). This can
be criticised further for its one-fits all approach. Standards, assessments, and
accountability measures, however, have an important role of advancing the public’s
good. These were believed to be of benefit to the nation or everyone and considered a
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wise expenditure of the scarce resources (Levinson, 2011:127-128). To accomplish and
uphold standards in the education system, a relevant and comprehensive curriculum
could help enhance the efforts of the committed teachers.
1.4.2 Education for all and funding
The loss of teachers and other professionals reported by Nherera (2000:358) and Bloch
(2006:74; Nyanga et al., 2012:146) had a potential negative impact on the operations
and performance of the education system and other sectors. Such a loss had implications
in sustaining human capacity building and the developmental needs of the country
(Nyanga et al., 2012:141-142, 146). This left Zimbabwe with shortages of professionals
in most sectors of the economy, which defeated the primary objectives set up at
independence to train (and retain) professionals to develop the country. The provision of
education to all the citizens was a guiding principal from independence in 1980
(Technical Committee of the Education for all Campaign in Zimbabwe, 2005:4).
Educating a nation's people was seen as a crucial developmental strategy to build on the
capacity of the country’s human resources. Reduced revenues from government as a
result of the severe economic downturn that affected Zimbabwe from 2000 meant the
funding of secondary schools would also be reduced. The reduced economic activities,
budget deficit and reduced or lack of balance of payment from financial institutions,
such as, the IMF and World Bank may have exacerbated the reduction in revenue
collection (Gono, 2007; Coomer and Gstraunthaler, 2011:320, 326, 336). This could
have had an impact on the funding and operation of the secondary schools and also on
the remuneration of teachers. Some of the effects of reduced funding and remuneration
of teachers could have acted as a catalyst to the reduced commitment and motivation to
carry out duties by teachers (Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya, 2011:100). Subsequently,
this may also have a significant effect on the learning of students. Effective teaching
and learning of students was paramount if an education system was to be rated highly in
terms of quality.
1.4.2.1 The economic downturn and education
After the year 2000, the economic situation in Zimbabwe had deteriorated significantly.
There was a lack of foreign credit and the loss of international financial aid (Cooner and
Gstraunthaler, 2011:320, 326, 336) could have also affected the funding of schools and
other institutions in the country. Teachers' salaries were affected and this led to
despondence among teachers. Some teachers left their jobs to find better employment
5
opportunities. There were similar trends in other fields such as nursing. Nurses
(Chikanda, 2005:163) and other skilled professionals left Zimbabwe citing low salaries
and the absence of incentives by government, lack of opportunities and a search for
better working conditions elsewhere. Those prevailing unfavourable economic
conditions led to low morale and reduced productivity (Chikanda, 2005:163), which
was also evident among teachers (Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya, 2011:100).
1.4.3 Organisational learning and adaptation
The government in conjunction with the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) also
wanted a state-led curriculum change that suited what was then termed ‘scientific
socialism’ (Jansen, 1991:79, 85; Nherera, 2000:354) that promoted Education With
Production (EWP). The idea of EWP, which was more vocationally oriented (Jansen,
1991:80), faced resistance from both white and black parents in some schools (Nherera,
2000:354-355) with no chance of EWP being adopted nationally (Jansen, 1991:81). The
intention was to offer opportunities for skills training intended to make schools selfreliant (Mashingaidze, 1997:16, 18). This was similar to the self-sufficient schools
proposed by Burt (2003, 2011). The EWP was however faced with resistance from
some quarters of the population of Zimbabwe in favour of the traditional academic
education system that was offered during colonialism (Mashingaidze, 1997:21-22).
These included those in the Ministry of education after the departure of supportive
officials, such as Dr Mutumbuka, the then Minister of education (Mashingaidze,
1997:21). The EWP programme expected all students to take at least one
practical/technical subject leading to ‘O’ level examinations (McGrath, 1993:355). The
most common practical subjects, with textbook and syllabi resources, were fashion and
fabrics, agriculture and commerce (McGrath, 1993:25). The problem with the change to
Zim-Science was also evident when students wanted to study science at ‘A’ Level.
Schools offering ‘A’ level science preferred students with Biology, Chemistry and
Physics to those who took the Zimbabwe extended science route (McGrath, 1993:13).
At the time, teachers were said to be inadequately prepared and it was claimed this
reduced the effectiveness of the curriculum innovations (McGrath, 1993:12-13). The
problem of school leavers’ unemployment (Mashingaidze, 1997), was a factor which
made education officials, parents and other stakeholders to start to question the value of
the academic education on offer then. The Zimbabwe Foundation for Education with
Production (ZimFEP/EWP) had a mixture of practical and academic subjects, and also
entrepreneurial skills that were hoped would provide school leavers skills to start small
6
businesses (Mashingaidze, 1997:17). This programme also supported by the World
Bank (Mashingaidze, 1997:23), but was however found to be expensive and
government could not fund all schools as the tightening of budgetary allocations came
into effect.
1.4.3.1 Unemployment and the value of education
The expansion of education, with more students receiving at least four years of
secondary education, brought about its own problems, which included unemployment
(Nherera, 2000:359). The significance of education was shown to be threatened by the
unemployment problem faced by secondary school leavers. As the economy declined,
the labour market in the formal sector shrunk (Nherera, 2000:358). This meant that most
students were not put to the test to see if they could apply their knowledge, skills and
values into practice. From this implementation stage, it could not be ascertained if
students had actually learnt the materials expected of them and if they had acquired the
abilities to apply knowledge in industry or to the other beneficiaries of the secondary
education system.
1.4.4 Curricula, needs of the country, industry and effectiveness of the curricula
In a study by Shumba et al. (2008:50) there was an awareness of students’ rights to
contribute to decisions on curriculum matters on the premise that they would value and
have ownership of these decisions or participated to make. It was established that
students would have to choose what interested them (Shumba et al., 2008:50), which
could improve the learners’ sense of achievement. This concurred with Klotz et al.
(2014:7) in their study of vocational education and students’ career choices when they
emphasised voluntary selection of careers. Involving students in this way was viewed as
a means to uphold the rights of the learners and their right to education as stated in the
1948 Universal declaration of human rights, article 26 (United Nations, 1946; Shumba
et al, 2008:49). This stipulated that everyone had a right to education irrespective of
age, colour or creed. It was, however, debatable if this was feasible for Zimbabwean
secondary school students to take such a responsibility since some teachers and heads in
Shumba et al.’s (2008:59) study considered it their duty to decide because they viewed
students as being immature. In general curriculum development by the Curricula
Development Unit (CDU) involved a number of stakeholders and institutions in close
consultation with the learners, parents, teachers and heads of schools (UNESCO,
7
2001:13, 21). It also involved education officers, the examination council, subject
specialists, commerce and industry, teachers’ colleges and universities.
Curricula development should not just specify the content, syllabi or subjects to be
studied, but must provide a justification of its existence in terms of purpose and benefits
to the recipients (Kelly, 2004:4) or nation. By exposing students to that curriculum the
education system provides direction in which the development of the nation can take.
According to Kelly (2004:5), this can also include the ‘hidden curriculum’ in which
essential qualities such as social roles or personal growth or development of individuals
(morally and attitudes to life) are deliberately or accidentally achieved in the process.
This may also include the extra-curricular activities. In studies by Ellis (2004:45), it
was noted that the curriculum also provided opportunities for development dependent
on personal interests and abilities, which is also based on learner-centred approach to
the curriculum. Another learner-centred approach identified by Ellis (2004:45) known
as affective education was deemed effective as it provided an opportunity for the
learners to “reflect on their own lives and find meaning” in what they do and
subsequently achievement follows (Ellis, 2004:45). This approach “puts feelings,
emotions, dreams and aspirations ahead of other considerations such as basic skills and
knowledge” (Ellis, 2004:45).
1.4.4.1 Relevance of curricula
Ndawi and Peresuh (2005:210) stated that a relevant curriculum provided by
professionally qualified teachers was expected to produce citizens who would meet the
expectations of the society. The citizens would also have the right attitude to get into
jobs or create jobs and participate in the socio-political activities of the country. This
would be a major obligation and accountability to meet expectations of the education
system and stakeholders. A clear management and monitoring of the system should be
in place if government, schools, curriculum developers or teachers were to be held
accountable since education was seen as a driving force towards the development of a
nation. Expectations would be high for secondary schools to perform and yield the
desired results that would resemble private business performances. A setting of
appropriate goals stating how they would be measured is required. Acknowledging
success and also the failures, was part of accountability (Ndawi and Peresuh, 2005:210).
The education system of Zimbabwe could benefit from such practices, but it all depends
on teachers’, school leaders’ and other stakeholders’ attitudes to adopt and adapt. Other
stakeholders could include the industry that directly benefits from the education system.
8
This could be inculcated in teacher training programmes and promoted on the job.
Zimbabwean educators may require to be aware that change was inevitable as the global
arena also kept changing in terms of its needs and the evolution of ideas as the resources
continue to develop. Hoban (2005:1) highlighted the need for teachers to be “reflective,
flexible, technology literate, knowledgeable, imaginative, resourceful, enthusiastic,
team players” and be “conscious of student differences and ways of learning.” These are
some of the elements of capacity building related to problem solving. It also entails
having that ability to perform functions in an enabling environment by a capable human
resource (Manyena, 2006:813).
1.4.5 Utilisation of resources and their management
Resources availability and their effective utilisation is a central part of any working
environment to improve productivity (Chidiebere, 2011:119). In teaching, the teacher is
an important resource that students rely upon. The teacher had a duty to engage and
teach. Engaging the learner may also lead to effective facilitation of learning and
effectively using the teacher as a human resource. This also includes those material
resources available to the teachers and students or schools, which would in turn
facilitate and promote student achievements. The provision of resources and type of
education, however, determines the type of outcome of the secondary education system,
whether it was academic or skills based. As a developing country, Zimbabwe could
have benefited from self-reliance and entrepreneurship skills (UNESCO, 2001:12) to
promote socio-economic development. It was hoped it would in turn produce
“accountable, responsible, productive and self-sustaining citizens” (UNESCO,
2001:12). Effective utilisation of resources could only be made possible by committed
and accountable teachers and school leaders, with a clear self-assessment criterion and
that of their students.
1.4.6 Financially self-sustaining schools
It was acknowledged that good education provides a route out of poverty. Burt (2011)
claimed that education in developing countries was neither good nor available.
Generally, the available schools were mostly under-funded, under-resourced and staffed
by teachers with inadequate training (Burt, 2011). Another concern was that of
inadequacy of the education as it was perceived not to provide the relevant skills to
enable school leavers to earn decent livelihoods. To address this problem, the
Changemakers, (such as Burt), claimed to have developed a market-based
9
technical/vocational education model that made school leavers marketable and also
become self-employed. The school itself would be financially self-sufficient by selling
their own goods and services within their localities. Teach A Man To Fish (TAM2F)
created in 2005, appeared to have accelerated the uptake of this initiative or model
(Burt, 2003, 2011). The schools’ focus was to provide the poor youth with hands-on,
high-quality and affordable technical/vocational education without over reliance on
government and/or long-term forms of external funding. This would stop relying on
school fees, which also excluded those who could not afford to pay. It was envisaged
that the earnings from goods and services rendered by the schools would cover school
operating costs. This may be useful in Zimbabwean secondary schools given the poor
funding and the lack or limited resourcing reported (Shizha and Kariwo, 2011:xi, 4;
Marist International Solidarity Foundation (FMSI), 2011). Such a model appeared to be
similar to the EWP/ZimFEP vocational type educational propositions of the 1980s that
were shunned by some Zimbabwean stakeholders as reported by Mashingaidze
(1997:21-22). The emphasis was based on learning by doing and earning. Students
would be taught to add value, diversify their production and efficiently use available
resources and make use of what was available. Such an initiative puts to question the
resistance to a similar initiative, such as the Education with Production (EWP) or
(ZimFEP) reported by Jansen (1991:80) and Mashingaidze (1997:1) that was
implemented after independence (in 1980).
Given this background, the study sought to establish teachers’, school leaders’ and
stakeholders’ attitudes to teaching in secondary schools in Zimbabwe and the
effectiveness of the schools. These can be reflected in the services rendered. It was
hoped that approaches and strategies to continuously improve and sustain the education
system could be generated in the process and to be adapted to the prevailing situations.
An application of teaching and learning theories could also provide a range of
diversified approaches to quality teaching/education in Zimbabwean secondary schools.
1.5 Theoretical Frameworks and the role of theories in education
Teachers’ self-image was perceived very important in the delivering of quality
education and it would be beneficial if taken into account when designing teacher
development programmes (UNESCO, 2006:11). Teacher identity and self-image could
play an important part in the formation of teaching and learning theories. The
Zimbabwean secondary education system could benefit from established teaching and
10
learning theories. There must be ways of applying or putting these theories to test and
practical use in order to avoid compromised professionalism and teaching communities
of practice. An integration of such theories may also help teachers to use what applies to
their situation more appropriately for the provision of quality education. Teater found
this useful in an effort to enhance student learning, creation of a student-led learning
environment (Teater, 2011:580) and to enhance teaching practices. Teachers would be
encouraged to be reflective and try to establish ways to achieve best practice.
1.5.1 Social identity theory or stereotyping
Students have been reported to be less motivated because of the teachers’ attitudes and
reduced commitment (Mufanechiya, and Mufanechiya, 2011:100). This was in sharp
contrast to the notion that students in Zimbabwe and the developing world usually liked
to learn and to attend school. One of the reasons advanced to support this view included
the idea that people in such parts of the world have the belief that education alone could
provide them with a better life/livelihood (Burt, 2003, 2011). This can be attributed to
the social identity theory. There are biases and prejudices associated with such
comments as identified by Burford (2012:147). When Zimbabweans say they wanted to
learn, was it because they wanted to raise the status of their social group or did they
simply repeat what they hear or what was said about them? Whether this was true or
false it was the economic hardships that propelled the people in the developing world to
want to go through education with the hope that it would lift them out of poverty (Tilak,
2002:191, 198-199; Buarque, et al., 2006:221, 223; Wedgwood, 2007). The desire to
learn requires a certain amount of motivation and engagement on the part of the
individual. This could lead to a maximisation of the individuals’ learning experience,
which is a tenet of the theory of constructive alignment.
1.5.2 Theory of Constructive Alignment
Constructive alignment is an approach to curriculum and course design that focuses on
the quality of learning experience for all students across the whole system to achieve
high level learning (Biggs, n.d.). It’s more about what the teacher does as expressed by
Biggs and Tang (2007:17) in their work on teaching at the university. The student who
receives relevant learning activities in a conducive learning environment stands a better
chance to construct meaning from relevant learning activities provided by the teacher
(Biggs, n.d.). To maintain such an experience, consistency and use of aligned systems,
the problem-based learning suggested by Biggs (n.d.), may provide that all important
11
good teaching environment. This could help and foster achievement of appropriate
outcomes. Students construct meaning and learn by actively participating in learning
activities (Teater, 2011:573). It avoids the scenario were teachers impose information to
the students, but encourages students to create meaning and learning for themselves.
This hinges on what the student does as being more important in determining what was
learnt than what the educator does (Teater, 2011:573). The alignment concept focused
on the creation of a conducive learning environment with clearly stated learning
outcomes, which determines the teaching styles and activities to achieve desired
outcomes. This entails an alignment of the assessment tasks to the learning methods and
outcomes. The intention is to foster students’ engagement in the activities designed to
achieve the learning outcomes. In so doing an interest in students’ learning is fostered.
1.5.3 Self-determination theory
The self-determination theory sought to promote “students’ interest in learning, growth
in competencies, and well-being” (Ryan and Weinstein, 2009:225). In this context
individuals would be perceived to have inherent and deeply evolved propensities to
acquire knowledge and new skills and such tendencies could be supported or
undermined by social contexts. The emphasis is a focus on the motivation and positive
outcomes rather than the negative feedback. Negative feedback tends to become
amotivational as it conveys incompetence and helplessness (Ryan and Weinstein,
2009:226). This affects the self-esteem of the students. Lack of self-esteem in turn could
be revealed by an individual’s reduced levels of confidence and lack of motivation to
deal with challenges (Alpay, n.d.:3). This would signify an inability to work with a
diversity of students considered to have learning disabilities or difficulties and Rouse,
(n.d.:11) observed the need to motivate and prepare beginning teachers of this diversity.
Motivation in this case breeds or brings about positive outcomes. Ryan and Weinstein
(2009:225) reported positive outcomes that were a result of autonomous forms of
extrinsic motivation in which activities were done for their (instrumental) value. Such
outcomes include greater academic performance, creativity, and persistence, which
augment learner wellness. However, some of the social contexts in Zimbabwe do have
a negative impact on the ability of a student’s learning. Dependent on the socioeconomic background and the attitudes of the teachers at their schools, some students
may not have the encouragement and support expected to make the students work to
their (full) potential. Reflection on the part of the teachers could enable the students to
assess what facilitates learning and approach their teaching based on students’ cognitive
12
developmental needs. Effective teachers need to apply some of the education theories
and reflect on their practice. In doing so teachers could help captivate and motivate
students. At the same time, this could put these theories to test in accordance to the
different contexts under which different schools operate. Some of these theories foster
engagement and independent learning by providing conducive learning environments
through motivation of the students. Continuous reflection could help improve students’
learning and how the teachers perform their duties. This was apparent to the researcher
from some former Zimbabwean teachers now resident in the UK when spoken to at the
preparation stages of this study. Most suggested they would do some things differently
if they were to teach again in Zimbabwe.
1.6 Summary
From the research literature on Zimbabwe, the education system could benefit and
function efficiently if it has a comprehensive curricula, adequate resources, and efficient
utilisation and management of these resources. Appropriate government funding may
also be required. Teacher commitment could be linked to the teaching and learning of
students that uphold the standards and quality of the secondary school education of the
nation. The study would establish if and to what extent teachers’ and school leaders’
attitudes impact on the education system. It would be beneficial too, to establish
whether and how the attitudes have to change or adapted to influence and achieve
positivity, which may sustain a robust education system with an effective teaching
community of practice. The chapter that follows uncovers literature which may help
illuminate attitudes of teachers and their effectiveness.
13
Chapter 2 Literature review
2.1 Introduction
Before independence the education system benefited a privileged minority white
population. After independence the emphasis was on equity through the expansion of
both primary and secondary education. As a result, there was a high increase in the
transition of primary to secondary school education. The expansion had an impact on
the funding of the education system. The economy of Zimbabwe experienced growth
soon after independence and declined rapidly in the late 1990s and 2000 leading to an
economic downturn/meltdown. The education system and teachers were adversely
affected with some negative effects on the quality of education. There seemed to be
issues with professionalism, accountability and commitment, which declined among
teachers.
2.1.1 The rationale for considering Zimbabwean secondary schools
The study was conducted in six schools (6) in the East of Zimbabwe in 2012 at a time
when the provision of textbooks in schools had recently improved. This was made
possible through the Educational Transition Fund (ETF) (UNICEF Zimbabwe, 2011:57), launched in 2009. However, some reports suggested that the Zimbabwean secondary
school education system had deteriorated and particularly exacerbated by the financial
crisis experienced between 2006 and 2008 (Mambo, 2012; Chiketo, 2013; Nkoma,
2013:1). Key issues identified in these reports included commitment, motivation
(Bennell, 2004:iv, Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya, 2011:100) and retention (Bennell,
2004:20-21) of teachers, a main resource in the secondary education sector. Throughout
this financial crisis period, school days were riddled with teacher strikes over pay,
working conditions and teacher absenteeism (Ncube, 2013:228) and most seemed not to
care and unprepared to teach as captured in the statement “I will see when I get there”
(Ncube, 2013:229). It reveals that teachers had reached a point where they did not
consider student welfare and the effect of their actions to the teaching profession and the
reputation and quality of the Zimbabwean education system. This appeared to be the
height of teacher despondence, mainly linked to low salaries (Crothers et al., 2010:664).
It also shows that a deeper underlying phenomenon was at play because teachers’
salaries have always been low, but not many such teacher reactions to this extent have
been reported prior to the hyperinflation or economic down turn. An ensuing brain drain
saw some teachers and other professionals leave to work in the Southern Africa region
14
or abroad (Nherera, 2000:358-359; Bloch, 2006:72-74; Kanyongo, 2009:72). During the
2008 election period it was claimed teachers also faced political violence and
harassment (Amnesty International, 2009; Chakanyuka, 2009:42). Most of these issues
appeared to have an impact on the teachers’ welfare, which impacted on their attitudes
towards their job. Also, more studies on the Zimbabwe education system appeared to
focus on teachers’ welfare as a result of the economic and political crisis after 2000
(Chakanyuka et al., 2009:42; WOZA, 2010:4-5; Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya,
2011:100-101). This painted a picture of gloom and doom for the secondary school
education system. The study aimed to uncover, in particular, teacher attitudes and their
impact on provision of quality education.
The literature review begins with an overview which outlines a brief history and
background to the education system of Zimbabwe including key developments in the
education sector. Issues on both material and human resources follow. Curriculum, the
structure of the education system and teacher training will be followed by the
motivation of candidates to enter the teaching profession. Teacher welfare and teachers’
conduct appeared to be influenced by the prevailing economic situation in the country
and this subsequently seemed to have an impact on teacher professionalism, their
effectiveness and the quality of education. These developments include milestones and
events that seemed to have and to cultivate a negative impact on teacher attitudes and
the quality of the education system. They also appeared to be influenced by and related
to the political and mainly the economic situation prevailing from the late 1990s
towards 2010. The economic and political situation appeared to be at its worst between
2006 and 2008 (Mambo, 2012). This had an impact on the education system and a
bearing on teacher attitudes and their conduct. It also seemed to shape teacher identity.
Kurasha and Chiome (2013) identified the aspect of quality as one of the Zimbabwe
education system’s goals. They instead, dwelled on the general aspects to address
motivational issues and resources without examining the teachers’ role to provide
quality education. There is no guarantee that providing teachers with financial
incentives and resources could lead to improved quality of education. This study relied
on information gathered mainly from textbooks, journals and some newspaper articles
obtained from Summon and internet web searches.
15
2.2 Overview
During the colonial era, provision of education to the Black Africans was inferior to that
for whites, which did not offer opportunities for higher education (UNESCO, 1975:46).
Incidentally, in studies in American schools inequities were cited in which minority
children were regularly assigned less qualified or less experienced teachers than their
white counterparts (Brown and Wynn, 2009:39). In Zimbabwe, education was limited to
elementary knowledge and skills that rendered the Black Africans to be labourers in the
agricultural, carpentry and building sectors. This was intended to stop the Africans from
being in direct competition with whites (Kanyongo, 2005:65) and to facilitate them
being underqualified and thus forced to work under their white counterparts. It also
meant reduced funding of African schools. Inequalities were also reflected in the
transition of African students from primary to secondary school. Pre-independence
primary to secondary school transition of Black African students in Zimbabwe was
reported at 12.5% to F1 (UNESCO, 1975:46) and 37.5% to F2 schools (Nziramasanga
Commission Report, 1999:300). The number of Africans continued to reduce at various
stages of their secondary education owing to failure or inability to pay school fees. This
was in contrast to the compulsory European education provision in which dropouts were
rare and who also received better qualified teachers (UNESCO, 1975:48). Funding of
white only students was reported at 20 times greater than that of the Black African
students (Kanyongo, 2005:66). On attaining independence in 1980, the Zimbabwean
government vowed to address these imbalances and inequalities leading to the
unification of the separate white and black education systems based on a socialist
principle of growth with equity (Kanyongo, 2005:66). The aim was to promote the
social mobility of the disadvantaged Black African population (Peresuh and Ndawi,
1998:209, 212). The addressing of these imbalances and inequalities was also in tandem
with the achievement of the UN Millennium Developmental Goals to provide basic
education for all (Kanyongo, 2005:66; United Nations MDG Report, 2010:16-17). Free
primary school education was made available after independence. There was also an
expansion of the secondary education system. As a result the transition to secondary
school increased to 86% by 1981 (Kariwo, 2007:47). This placed Zimbabwe among the
countries with the highest transition rate to secondary school in the developing world
(Nherera, 2000:352). The (adult) literacy levels also significantly improved (Kanyongo,
2005:70). This was reported to be 90.7% by Kanyongo (2005:70) and at 92% by Chisita
(2011:2, 6). In the 2012 millennium development progress report, the UNDP-Zimbabwe
(2012:25) reported a 99.6% literacy rate among the 15-24 year old age groups (male and
16
female) for the year 2011 rising from 85% in 1994. Improvements in the education
levels of Black Zimbabweans continued for some time in various settings, which were
mainly urban government and rural schools. The developments in education were
expected to promote local languages and cultural values (Kanyongo, 2005:67). It was
also meant to promote national unity to contribute to national development, particularly
economic development through the supply of trained and skilled teachers and staff.
These provisions or services however differed at the different types of schools operating
in Zimbabwe.
A progressive increase in public education funding was reported between 1980 and
1987 (UNICEF, 2008:2, see Figure 2.1 below).
Figure 2.1 Education expenditure showing an increase from
1980 to 1987 (UNICEF, 2008:2)
This increase was followed by a fluctuation between 1987 and 1992 and a progressive
decline after that. The expansion of the education system was reported to have rapidly
strained the available resources. This included a shortage of qualified teachers
(Kanyongo, 2005:66) and Chikoko, (2009:2) noted an unsustainable government
expenditure on education. Some urban secondary schools resorted to double sessions or
‘hot sitting’. In the rural areas, children were to be within five kilometres of a primary
school and provision for a secondary school for every five primary schools (Bregman,
2008:16). These reports, however, did not focus on the quality of the education itself
(Nziramasanga Commission Report, 1999:299) even though it was known that
17
Zimbabwean graduands were sought for in the regions and abroad (Nherera, 2000:358;
Adepoju, 2008:9, 10). Whilst this expansion may have been necessary, it would have
been essential to find more about how to improve the system and to make do with what
was available.
A decline in the academic achievement of students was reported (Riddell and Nyagura,
1991:5). This was viewed as a decline in quality of teaching and learning measured by
academic achievement rates in public examinations. In 1979 it was reported that 63%
passed at least five subjects at Cambridge ‘O’ level public exams as compared to 13%
in 1985 and 1989 (Riddell and Nyagura, 1991:5). This could be attributed to the
enrolment of low ability students with no adjustments to the academically oriented
curriculum after independence (Riddell and Nyagura, 1991:5). Most teachers found it
difficult to effectively teach mixed ability classes (Mafa and Tarusikirwa, 2013:24822483). There were, however, similarities in the Cambridge (1985-1990) and ZIMSEC
‘O’ level % pass rates (see Table 2.1 (Chung, 2008:33 and 2.2 (Langa, 2013 February 9
Newsday). However, the 2014 O’ level results were reported at 30.85% (Weluzani,
2015), which was about 10 percentage points better than the 20.72% of November
2013.
Year
1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990
% Pass 5 or more subjects 13.1
11.5
11.9
12.5
13.5
13.2
Table 2.1 Excerpt of ‘O’ Level Cambridge exam results -5 or more
passed subjects (Chung, 2008:33)
Year
2000
2001
2002
2003 2004 2005
% pass 5 or more subjects 13.18 13.99 13.75 13.0
10.2
12.2
Table 2.2 ZIMSEC ‘O’ Level exam results (Langa, 2013 February 9
Newsday)
Results may have been used as a measure of quality of education, but they may be
influenced by various factors which do not necessarily have anything to do with the
teachers or the school environment. Students may be distracted by the exam questions
and found them difficult to answer. Also, students may not have the lighting required to
use for night studying owing to the lack of provision of electricity attributed to
(electricity) load shedding. The Bulawayo Bureau (2014 of The Herald-Zimbabwe)
18
reported that some parts of the country did not have electricity for up 16 hours. Other
areas had no electricity provision at all, especially in the rural areas. Another
contributing factor could be a lack of textbooks and comprehensive notes from teachers.
The notes could be inaccurately copied off the chalkboard. Family and welfare
situations could also contribute negatively and in particular the lack of sufficient food
and therefore a lack of energy on the part of students, which could impact on the
student’s ability to concentrate on their studies.
In 1999 the state president of Zimbabwe, Mr R.G. Mugabe, requested an audit of the
education system. The commission of enquiry noted progress in provision and access to
education. This was in conformity with the notion for education for all adopted at
independence, but questioned the quality of education (Nziramasanga Commission,
1999:299). The aspect of education for all may however imply that all students may
have the right to an education, but according to Kelly (2009:246) not necessarily equal
education. WOZA (2011:1) reported a “severe decline in standards, an ineffective
curriculum, the poor attitude of both teachers and pupils and the corruption and
ineptitude of the people running the education system.” Unfortunately, no action was
implemented from the report. A similar audit of the curriculum in 1962 was critical of a
purely academic curriculum and recommended a comprehensive type high school. This
would offer academic as well as non-academic alternatives with some flexibility that
allowed movement between courses for late developers (Nziramasanga Commission
Report, 1999:299-300). The provision of the practical subjects may be put in place, but
the main issue may not necessarily be that of the curriculum, but the unavailability of
jobs afterwards because there are no industries to employ the school leavers or the
unemployed on to the job market.
After 1999 the events and economic situation of the country had an impact on the
general public and the education system. Zimbabwe experienced an economic crisis,
which was pivotal to the effective running of the education system. This was blamed on
the 2000 fast track land reform programme, the USA’s 2001 Zimbabwe Democracy
Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) (Mapuranga, 2009) and European Union guided
economic sanctions led to (extreme) hyperinflation (Ndakaripa, n.d., Tungwarara,
n.d.:110; Mapuranga, 2009). Under ZIDERA, Zimbabwe could not receive any credit,
extension of loans, guarantees, cancellation or reduction of the debt owed by the
government of Zimbabwe (Mapuranga, 2009). The lack of foreign credit also created
19
economic uncertainty (Coomer and Gstraunthaler, 2011:336). This was intended to
make the Zimbabwean people to face economic hardships so as to revolt as a strategy to
effect regime change in Zimbabwe (Mapuranga, 2009). By July 2008, a hyperinflation
rate estimated figure of 231.1 million percent was reported (Makochekanwa, 2009:3).
This rendered the Zimbabwean dollar worthless (Tungwarara, nd.:111) and marked the
start of the introduction of multiple currencies such as the South African rand and
United States of America dollar (Makochekanwa, 2009:5-6) and the Botswana pula.
Although, the inflation data depended on estimates and by source, these figures were
phenomenally high. This hyperinflation affected the whole nation with claims that
seven out of ten families in Zimbabwe lived in dire poverty (Chinyoka and Naidu,
2013:271). Poverty may be perceived as an inability to attain minimum standards of
living, which may also include low educational standards. Teachers and the general
population of Zimbabwe experienced shortages of basic commodities, such as mealiemeal, cooking oil, and fuel (Makochekanwa, 2007:6). The rapidly shrinking unstable
economy and the uncertainty following the 2000 fast track land reform programme,
encouraged capital flight as investors transferred their money to external safe havens
(Makochekanwa, n.d.:16). This also meant reduced government tax revenues, which
entailed fewer funds for government projects/obligations including the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs). Owing to the high unemployment rate (reported at 80%
by 2005), the majority of the labour force including teachers were reported to be
engaged in informal trading including foreign currency exchange on the black market
and cross-border trading to neighbouring countries (such as South Africa, Botswana,
Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia) (Makochekanwa, n.d.:19; Chakanyuka et al.,
2009:33, 35). By 2006, a survey by Masunungure et al. (2007:19) concluded that there
was a sense of hopelessness among Zimbabweans overwhelmed by the rapidly
deteriorating and shrinking economy.
According to Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya (2011:96-97, 100), the worsening
economic situation reduced both teachers’ and students’ motivational levels. This
negatively affected students’ and teachers’ attitudes towards learning and teaching,
respectively. Teachers’ status was also greatly reduced and Bennell (2004:iii, 11)
claimed that people in the low income or developing countries were only joining the
teaching profession as a last resort. This compromises the quality of education. There
reports of students being left to “…their own devices…” (Mufanechiya and
Mufanechiya, 2011:100) and school leavers were faced with the prospect of very high
20
unemployment rates, thereby threatening the value and reward of studying (Nherera,
2000:342-343; Alwang, 2002:47; Kapungu, 2007:3; Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya,
2011:97). However, parents and the wider communities remained committed to keep the
education system operational (Chikoko, 2009:202).
2.3 Motivation to be educated
Although, education was not compulsory in Zimbabwe, there was a general belief that
academic qualifications were a prerequisite for a good profession. Because of the value
put on education, that motivated the majority of parents to send their children to school
(Nziramasanga Commission Report, 1999:303). These parents seemed to base their
actions on the notion that education was the way out of poverty (DFID, 2006:54). This
increased prospects of finding work and was a prediction that the individuals were to
take care of their health. Education was also, perceived as the gateway to raise earnings
in employment and the higher the level of education the higher the wage (Kapungu,
2007:3). This perception, however, seemed to have faded as unemployment levels
increased during the economic crisis between 2006 and 2008. Findings on earnings
revealed a correlation to education that people who had completed secondary school
education and attained higher qualifications had an opportunity to earn higher than
those with a primary school education only (Longley, n.d.; Appleton (in Uganda),
2001:2, 6; U.S. Census Bureau, 2002:2, 3). This correlation between earnings and
education was also identified by Woodall (2004:36).
Most reports/studies identified the various challenges faced by teachers as poor salaries,
lack of resources, poor working conditions and poor accommodation. They also
included lack of respect, over-working, political harassment and the Human
Immunodeficiency
Virus
Infection/Acquired
ImmunoDeficiency
Syndrome
(HIV/AIDS) pandemic or health related challenges (Chireshe and Shumba, 2011:115116). Teachers could not even afford the bus fare to go to work and were reported to be
engaging in some form of “informal work-share arrangements whereby they work only
two or three days a week” (Russell, 2007:1). Given a second chance, most teachers did
not want to choose teaching as a profession because of a lack of future prospects
(Chireshe and Shumba, 2011:116-117 see questionnaire Table 3 in that article). The
majority of teachers also thought teachers were not sufficiently prepared for the
classroom teaching roles. This could be a reflection of the inadequacies of the teacher
21
trainers themselves as they were demotivated in a similar way. Such levels of
demotivation led to reduced teacher commitment on the job and subsequently
negatively affected the standards of education resulting in poor pass rates (Chireshe and
Shumba, 2011:116). The issue of sexual harassment of trainee teachers also revealed
another aspect of trainers conducting themselves in an unprofessional way (Zireva and
Makura, 2013:316-318). In so doing the trainers could be socialising the trainee
teachers into these types of behaviours.
The deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe’s education system led to teacher strikes
(in 2009) forcing schools to remain closed (Kwenda, 2009). The strikes also affected
operations at the Zimbabwe Secondary Examination Council (ZIMSEC) as the
examination board struggled to find teachers to mark examination papers. Kwenda
(2009) envisaged a situation where the country will have “…a whole generation of
uneducated and troublesome youths”. The deterioration of the education system made
UNICEF (2008a) to express fears of prospects of the education system to collapse. This
also deprived students of their rights to education and detrimental to the government
goals to meet the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal access to
primary school education by 2015. The political instability in combination with the
economic melt-down that prevailed towards and during the 2008 harmonised elections
also affected the education sector of the country. This was also worsened by the
terrorisation of teachers reported during the ensuing political campaigns (Amnesty
International, 2009; Chireshe and Shumba, 2011:116). It spelt disaster for underpaid
teachers. They were branded Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters,
opposed to the ruling party and reports of harassment and beatings were recorded
(Kwenda, 2009). The situation was worse in rural areas. Some teachers fled to urban
areas and some neighbouring countries, mainly Botswana and South Africa. Many
schools were reported to have been closed during the June 2008 presidential elections
(Amnesty International, 2009). Initially, to address the learning/education gap caused by
the disruption of teaching and learning activities at schools led to the practice of paid
extra lessons. This was meant to make up for the learning time lost during teacher
strikes and any disruptive event such as the political tensions that made some teachers
to flee and stop teaching. Extra lessons, by their nature and the Zimbabwean context,
would enhance the learning of school related material and expected to help students to
achieve better examination results (Munikwa and Mutungwe, 2011:28). However,
observations of this practice revealed an exploitative money making exercise. Teachers
22
seemed to have deliberately created a scenario where they could not complete syllabi
during normal school time and charged a fee (of between $5 to $20 per subject per
month) for extra lessons. This gave an impression that made extra lessons
indispensable, which reflected on teacher professionalism and their ethical conduct too.
It also meant that those who could not afford to pay were left behind (Antonio, 2013),
which maintains the inequalities to access to education. This also disadvantaged some
secondary school teachers, especially rural school teachers, who did not benefit
financially from this practice (Antonio, 2013; The Zimbabwean, 2009). It also had
implications on the pass rates were urban schools usually outperformed rural schools.
The practice was however outlawed by the Minister of Primary and Secondary
Education (Share, 2014) with effect from the 2014 Easter holidays.
2.4 Resources
Limited resources were cited as a hindrance to the provision of quality education and
the impact was more telling in the rural areas in general (Nyagura, 1993:25-26; Ncube
and Tshabalala, 2014:2, 8), with rural schools underperforming well below the national
average pass rate. Similar trends were however observed in the urban areas in the years
after 2000. This was associated to a number of issues/events in the history of Zimbabwe
since independence and also to budgetary allocations. The 1990s and early 2000s
economic adjustment programmes were cited as some of the causes of underfunding of
the education system (Shizha and Kariwo, 2011:xi, 4; FMSI, (2011). This included the
1991-1995 Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) funded by IMF
(Peresuh and Ndawi, 1998:216) and the 1998 Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and
Social Transformation (ZimPREST). These were followed by the 2001 Millennium
Economic Recovery Programme (MERP) (Shizha and Kariwo, 2011:8). The fast track
land distribution programme of 2000 was also claimed to have affected the funding of
the education sector (Shizha and Kariwo, 2011:xi). According to UNESCO (2001:4,
38), salaries took up to 90% of the education sector budget and 40% of the national
budget went to the Ministry of Education Sport and Culture and the Ministry of Higher
Education and Technology. This had an impact on the provision of resources to the
secondary schools. The UNICEF (2008:2) data on total education government
expenditure (as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product-GDP) revealed the expenditure
above 5% until about 1999 when it started to go below 5% reaching 4.6% in 2000.
During the educational budgets of 1993/94 and 1994/95 Peresuh and Ndawi (1998:216)
23
reported an educational budget of 30% increasing to 34% in the 1996/97 budget at
$5.46 billion (Zimbabwean dollars).
By 2008/2009 many teachers had left the service and the country. Those remaining were
reportedly disengaged on their actual duty of teaching and on strike most of the time
(WOZA, 2010:5). This led to a loss of teaching and learning time with notable
consequences on student learning and their (cognitive) development in general. During
the same period parents and the government could not afford to fund quality education
and tens of thousands of students dropped out of school. With a rampant unemployment
rate during this time, the dropouts instead engaged in income generating black market
activities that included gold panning and cross-border trading (WOZA, 2010:1, 5). This
showed that people were prepared to work when confronted with hardships of this
magnitude. Limited financial measures were in place to provide assistance to help out
deprived students who could not afford to pay school fees or levies thereby providing
access to basic education. This started off as the Social Dimension Fund (SDF)
followed by the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) (Nziramasanga
Commission Report, 1999:304). The introduction of BEAM in 2001 (Nudelman, 2011)
as a social support initiative to help disadvantaged pupils was not sufficient to carter for
those in need (FMSI, 2011). Funding problems also arose after the introduction of the
multi-currencies, when students with currencies other than the US dollar failed to attend
school (Taruvinga, 2014). BEAM was reported to have collapsed in 2008 (Zimbabwe
News Online, 2009) and only to be revitalised in late 2009 (UNICEF Zimbabwe,
2011:7) and to be revived in 2010 with the financial assistance from UNICEF. This,
revitalisation of BEAM, coincided with the launch of the Education Transition Fund
(ETF) in the same year (2009) (UNICEF Zimbabwe, 2011:5, 7). BEAM worked in
conjunction with the ETF with a primary function of equipping and providing equitable
access to improve the quality of education in schools (UNICEF Zimbabwe, 2011:7).
To promote quality of education in secondary schools, resourcing of the education
system was also found to be important. ETF, with the provision of funds, acted as a
complimentary initiative to help provide some resources like books, which it did in
2010 by providing textbooks to both primary and secondary schools (UNICEF
Zimbabwe, 2011:5, 7). Through this initiative, secondary schools achieved a 1:1 pupiltextbook ratio in Mathematics, English, Environmental Science, History, Geography
and a local language (Shona/Ndebele). ETF was jointly launched by the Government of
24
Zimbabwe, UNICEF and the international community in September 2009. During the
Government of National Unity (GNU), the ETF was perceived as a source of funds that
could revive the education sector. The ETF’s aim was to support students to achieve
equitable access to quality education through provision of resources to schools (UNDPZimbabwe,
2012:27).
Through
training
of
the
School
Development
Committees/Associations (SDCs/SDAs) members, the ETF was also involved in the
improvement of operations of schools at community level (UNDP-Zimbabwe, 2012:27).
ETF also assisted the MoESAC on strengthening its ability to monitor educational
services (UNDP-Zimbabwe, 2012:27) and intends to finance schools directly through
the national School Improvements Grants Programme when implemented. This was
expected to eliminate costs of schooling for the most vulnerable and neediest children
and at the same time ensuring quality education.
During this expansion process or phase, achievement (or pass rates), staffing and class
sizes were bound to be affected. In general, class sizes in secondary schools were
reported to be large (Nziramasanga Commission, 1999:310). Class-size was however
not perceived “as a leading indicator of a good school” (MacBeath, 1999:47) with some
arguing it was not cost effective (Blatchford et al, 2011). It, however, has an effect on
the effectiveness of learning and teaching (MacBeath, 1999:47). Proponents of reduced
class sizes (in the USA and UK) claimed beneficial effects on academic performance
(Finn and Achilles, 1999:100-103; Konstantopoulos, 2008:278) and notably among low
attaining students (Blatchford et al., 2011:723). An increase in student performance was
noticeable when the student to teacher ratio got below 15 to 1 (Hanushek, 1997:152).
Minority students and those attending inner-city schools seemed to benefit substantially
from these small class sizes (Finn and Achilles, 1999:100). Bruhwiler and Blatchford
(2011:104) observed stronger impact of class size on learning outcomes at primary
school level than the 11-15 year secondary school level age groups. The effects of class
size may be reflected in some studies conducted in Zimbabwe (Mafa, 2012:20;
Mandina, 2012:771; Ndlovu and Mangwaya, 2013:457-458), which identified large
class sizes as a factor negatively affecting teacher performance. Unlike the Zimbabwean
studies that focused mostly on welfare, working conditions and inadequate resource
issues, teachers in the MacBeath (1999:47) study appeared to be reflective about
principles of good practice. This put the learning needs of children at the centre of their
practice, whereas teachers in Zimbabwe were more focused on their welfare
(Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya, 2011:100). Bourke’s (1986:569) findings, from a study
25
of 5 to 6 year olds (in Australia), established a requirement to consider classroom
practices and school factors such as school size and socio-economic status of the school
catchment
area.
This
link
between
student
achievements
to
classroom
processes/practices could be useful in professional development of teachers (Bruhwiler
and Blatchford, 2011:105-106). And adaptive teachers have been found to be more
effective irrespective of class size. These findings provide an opportunity to
conscientise, that is, to educate (a person) about an issue or idea (Collins online
dictionary, n.d.), and explore better classroom practices for Zimbabwean teachers to
maximise achievement using limited resources.
2.4.1 The need for and optimum use of resources
The need to invest in optimal secondary school resources was expected to increase the
chances of students to acquire useful skills (Lewin, 2007:64) and the sustainability of
schools. Resources could be allocated as required and administered efficiently with
appropriate provisions for maintenance. Unlike the majority of schools in the developed
world, developing countries have limited resources that contribute towards school
effectiveness at their disposal. Riddell (1998:285) reported that the bulk of donors to
Third World countries mainly invested in textbooks, teachers’ training and time on task.
These were considered as the main factors to influence student achievement. Successful
transformational leadership styles were renowned for their ability to change
subordinates’ perceptions of the work environment by providing sufficient resources
and support (Cheung and Wong, 2011:661). This would help the schools achieve their
goals through the commitment of the leader and the other team members (Parolini et al.,
2009:274-275). The effective utilisation and management of human, equipment and
other material resources is crucial for the survival and sustenance of Zimbabwean
secondary schools. Schools however, currently have limited funding from central
government. Most secondary schools suffer from shortages of qualified teachers due to
the brain drain from various Zimbabwean professions (Nherera, 2000:358; Evans and
Little, 2007:526) and that of textbooks. Cases of ten students sharing a textbook were
common place in most secondary schools (UNICEF, 2011:5) with an estimated 15% of
rural schools having no textbooks (Share, 2011). Mr David Coltart, the former
Zimbabwean Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, hinted on the government’s
proposal and commitment to soon print textbooks to ease shortages in secondary
schools (Herald Reporter, 2011). At the same time, Zimbabwean public libraries were
also suffering from shortages and mainly had dated books (Nelson, 2008:427). The
26
student to teacher ratio was also an issue to consider. Smaller schools and low teacherstudent ratios provide opportunities for more personalised learning (Newman et al.,
2006:41) and reduced demand on resources. This could enable schools to adapt to the
ever-changing needs of the country. A continuous audit or needs forecasts could be used
to ensure that sufficient training of teachers meets the country’s needs. For effective
human resource management, Thompson and Kleiner (2005:44) reinforced the idea of
using data based on a needs forecast with clear recruitment strategies and development
of teachers. Teachers could be oriented to the goals and philosophies of the district and
school.
2.5 Achievement
There was a general concern over the poor pass rates, especially at O’ level, which did
not match the acclaim that Zimbabwe had one of the highest literacy rates in Africa
(Ndlovu, 2013), a trend which happens to be continuing after this period (Mashonaland
East Correspondent, 2015; Ncube, 2015). The degeneration and inadequate learning and
teaching that prevailed during the period 2006 and 2008 had profound effects on
students’ performance (Nkoma, 2013:1-2). Some schools (both primary and secondary)
recorded zero percent pass rates during this period (Nkoma, 2014:32). This led to the
introduction of the Performance Lag Address Programme (PLAP), an initiative to
overcome under performance of students. The PLAP programme was expected to
develop teachers (Education Cluster Zimbabwe, 2012). It would also enable students to
regain confidence and self-esteem and catch-up from where they were left behind in
their education between 2006 and 2008. This was the period students lost on learning
owing to the reduced funding and the political and socio-economic crises that affected
Zimbabwean schools from the 2006 to 2009 academic years (Chiketo, 2013). 94% of
rural schools were reported to be closed by 2009 and attendance plummeting from 80%
to 20%. Students were “simply pushed to higher grades and forms regardless of their
mastery of previous levels” (Chiketo, 2013). The Ministry of Education Sport, Arts and
Culture (MoESAC) introduced PLAP to address this problem. PLAP was a programme
designed to address learning anomalies and eradicate zero pass rates in schools. It
identified students’ last point of mastery with an aim to accelerate their understanding to
the level that they should be (Shumba, 2013) see insert 1 (below, page 28) from the
Teachers’ Manual, created by Muzawazi and Nkoma (n.d:10).
27
Insert 1 from Working for Higher Achievement – Closing the Learning Achievement Gap
Teachers’ Manual (Muzawazi, P. and Nkoma, E., n.d.:10 Supported by: Plan
International; Norwegian Refuge Council)
This has aspects of differentiation (Kulik and Kulik, 1992:75; Dixon et al., 2014:113)
that would be achieved through adjustments of the curriculum and pitching learning to
the students’ needs and learning preferences. Differentiation instruction in an inclusive
learning environment (Dixon et al., 2014:125) provides students with an opportunity to
understand and achieve learning through the various learning styles used by the teacher.
The incumbent Minister of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE), L. Dokora, was
of the view that low pass rates at terminal points (Grade 7, ‘O’ level) could be traced to
28
some failures at primary level, hence the need to develop a strong foundation in
education at primary school level (Ndlovu, 2013). However, Dambudzo (2013:512)
seemed to question why other students passed so well under the same conditions and
attributed low pass rate to school and out of school factors with a link to personality
factors. PLAP assigned students to within-class ability groups after an assessment using
a test (Nkoma, 2013:2, 2014:33). This mixed group approach could benefit low ability
students better in that they also learnt from their peers.
The fact that the achievement or average pass rate at ‘O’ level had remained below 25%
overall, between 1984/1995 and 2006 (Chakanyuka et al., 2009:55) and to date, reveals
potential problems with the practice or teaching processes that had failed to achieve a
higher national average pass rate. A peak average pass rate of 23% was recorded in
1995 (Chakanyuka et al., 2009:55). This was in contrast to the pass rates that were
above 54% recorded between 1980 and 1983 (see Nyagura, 1993:29). This was a time
before the first batches of the secondary school expansion programme that was
characterised by large numbers of mixed ability students sat their ‘O’ level
examinations. Other factors such as lack of resources, unqualified teachers in rural or
remote rural areas, poor infrastructure and relevance of curriculum that have been cited
in the literature could be directly or indirectly contributing to the low pass rates. Large
class sizes presented behaviour management issues, crowded conditions, and inability to
provide individual attention to pupils (Ndlovu and Mangwaya, 2013:457). This also
entailed a negative impact on teacher workload and morale leading to subdued teacher
performance. However, Ndlovu and Mangwaya (2013:462) seemed to suggest that the
issue of (large) class sizes was going to be a permanent feature in the education systems
of the developing countries like Zimbabwe. This was contrary to findings by
Chakanyuka et al. (2009:45), which reveals lower average teacher-student ratios below
the stipulated figures in both primary (1:40) and secondary (1:30) schools. In 2009 these
were 1:36 and 1:24, respectively. It may be implied that by meeting the needs of the
Zimbabwean teachers, those of the students may be met too including achievement of
higher pass rates. Low pass rate, however, could not only be teacher related or attributed
to students alone. Students may not be putting the necessary effort and time into
mastering their areas of study. They may not be inclined to ask for clarification and
understanding of the subject and hence their poor pass rate. The students could have lost
the value of education when they see no career or job prospects for school leavers. Also,
the curriculum may not be motivating or interesting to the students.
29
2.6 Curriculum
The curriculum can be perceived as a product or a process model. The product model
places emphasis on the outcome of students’ learning experience (Sheehan, 1986:672).
This could include the work produced by the students and the achievement of the image
of a student perceived to be an outcome of such a curriculum; as a result of the
development process (Grundy, 1987:25, 54), whereas process models emphasise
experiential learning, which develops a student’s capacity to learn through experience of
work and life (Sheehan, 1986:672) and also in a reflective manner. Stenhouse (1975:10)
observed that curriculum appears to be shaped from outside the school with an intention
to meet the needs and context of the particular community/country they have to serve.
The students, in turn, should be able to make those connections that make them
maintain the motivation to engage and identify how the acquired knowledge could be
used. In this case, it entails that the students understand the value of their learning or
knowledge and identify the curriculum’s importance in both the short and long run. This
could prepare students to take up future responsibilities. Dewey (1938:18) points out
that this may pave the way for success in life as the students acquire the organised
bodies of knowledge to acquire skills. With this notion of skills acquisition, the
curriculum of Zimbabwe went through some changes. The two tier F1 (academic) type
school and F2 (non-academic) type school operational before 1980 were dropped at
independence. The Zimbabwe Foundation for Education with Production Programme
(ZimFEP), which linked theory and practice, was introduced (Nziramasanga
Commission Report, 1999:301). However, this initiative appeared to be unpopular with
‘implementers’ who seemed to favour the traditional academic style of education. The
Zim-Science project was also introduced as a local initiative to fulfil the founding
principles of development at independence (Nziramasanga Commission Report,
1999:398). There were further efforts to focus and make secondary schools link to
industry so as to promote vocational education. It appeared as if attempts to offer nonacademic alternative education were not fully supported in favour of the examination
driven curriculum (Nziramasanga Commission Report, 1999:302). The Ministry of
Education Sport and Culture stipulated Sciences, Mathematics, History, English, and
one major local language (Shona/Ndebele) as core subjects (Kanyongo, 2005:68). To
expose students to a wider range of skills, the two path way system also included
computers, commercial subjects and technical/vocational subjects (Mandiudza et al.,
2013:127). HIV/AIDS education was also included (MoESCHTE, 2004:4, 19-in tertiary
education). The focus was on behaviour change. Participatory teaching and learning
30
methods were used as opposed to the “didactic and information-based approach”, which
were deemed ineffective for effective attitudinal and behaviour change (O’Donoghue,
2002:388). New approaches would be required to engage individuals to understand such
a sensitive topic because of the stigma attached to AIDS.
There were directives to implement the technical and vocational education in secondary
schools under the two pathway structure recommended in the Nziramasanga
Commission Report of 1999. The directives were circulated in 2001 and 2006. The two
pathway system required each student to take up at least one technical/vocational
subject in conjunction with some core subjects at Form 3. However, some school heads
appeared to be unaware of such directives (Mandiudza et al., 2013:130). Between 1990
and 2001, Mupinga et al., (2005:77) reported technical education of a general nature and
emphasised on Design Technology instead of the labour specific and skill oriented
technical programmes. Not all educational professionals were retrained to implement
these new programmes. This led to a lack of uniformity of the competencies to the
detriment of the performance standards of the students (Mupinga et al., 2005:77).
Modifications/changes in curriculum also brought about changes in examination boards.
The Zimbabwe government had started on a strategy to make examinations affordable
for locals. ZIMSEC, a local examination authority, was formed to take over the
management of the ‘O’ and ‘A’ level examinations from the UK based Cambridge
examinations syndicate. Examination management by ZIMSEC started from June 1999
(‘O’ level) and November 2002 (‘A’ level) (Evans and Little, 2007:530). ZIMSEC was
created through the Zimbabwe School Examinations Act of 1994 (Musarurwa and
Chimhenga, 2011:174; Mashanyare and Chinamasa, 2014:48).
Localisation of
examinations was perceived as necessary to cater equitably for all students of
Zimbabwe. ZIMSEC could also effectively cater for the local aspects of the curriculum
(Abraham, 2003:76-mainly on reduction of costs and relevancy of examinations; Dziwa
et al., 2013:316). This was in line with reforms to make the curricula relevant to the
needs of the industry and related institutions (Nherera, 2000:353). Similar efforts (in
Namibia) to provide an education system that equipped students with life-long skills
was established. The emphasis was on outcomes that helped the learner later in their
lives (Gonzales, 2000:106-107). The responsibility of ZIMSEC was to set, mark and
administer Grade 7, Zimbabwe Junior Certificate (ZJC), Zimbabwe General Certificate
of Education Ordinary Level (ZGCE ‘O’ level) and the Zimbabwe General Certificate
31
Advanced Level (ZGCE ‘A’ level) examinations (Kanyongo, 2005:67). An acting
ZIMSEC public relations manager reminded stakeholders that the Ordinary Level was
of an international standard. Examinations were benchmarked to other examination
boards to uphold international standards (Zhangazha, 2014). Teachers were trained as
markers (Kanyongo, 2005:68). There were suggestions to broaden the curriculum and
the introduction of alternative assessment criteria appropriate for the assessment of the
non-academically gifted students. However, some malpractices directly and indirectly
perpetrated by ZIMSEC were reported and led to the loss of confidence in the provision
of examinations at this establishment. Leakages of exam papers at schools or
examination centres were reported (Staff Reporter - Bulawayo24, 2014). Some
problems at ZIMSEC related to failure to issue results to candidates as reported by Jena
(2013). Mashanyare and Chinamasa (2014:53) suggested that ZIMSEC provide a safe
transportation system of examination papers by means of contracted transport providers
to reduce the burden and responsibility of safe ferrying of papers by teachers or heads of
school.
In an attempt to link theory to practice, there was a need to focus on vocational
education. Recently, the President of Zimbabwe, Mr R.G. Mugabe reiterated the
importance of practical subjects and claimed the government was working on reintroducing practical subjects in schools (Chipunza, 2014). Linking theory to practice
seemed to be aligned to current trends that focus on acquisition of higher-order skills to
meet requirements of the global knowledge-based economy (Tripneyl and Hombrados,
2013:2). Recent initiatives to link Zimbabwean secondary schools to factories were only
successfully established at a few urban schools. This implied the initiative was not fully
implemented (Nziramasanga Commission Report, 1999:301-302) and could be
attributed to the prevailing poor economic situation (Richardson, 2005:542, 550-551).
There were directives to heads of school to implement the vocational education and the
two path-way structure in the curricula, which included the 2001, 2002 and 2006
circulars. The 2006 directive endorsed by the Permanent Secretary’s Policy Circular
number 77 of 2006 (UNDP, 2012:27; Mandiudza et al., 2013:128) categorically stated
that:
All schools must implement the Two-Pathway Education Structure in Zimbabwe
in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into
Education and Training (CIET) (Mandiudza et al., 2013:128).
32
This educational structure was expected to provide learners with a broad curriculum at
Form 1 and 2. After that students would choose and follow different pathways
according to their abilities and interests. These included Sciences, Mathematics,
Humanities,
Computers,
Languages,
Business/Commercial
subjects
and
Technical/Vocational subjects (Mandiudza et al., 2013:127). This was expected to bring
about quality and relevance of both the curricula and education of the country
(Mandiudza et al., 2013:125) in line with the ever changing socio-economic
environment. However, this structure appears to resemble the Year 9 (ages 13-14)
options in England, where students choose the GCSE subjects to study at Key stage 4
(Years 10 to 11, ages 14-16) (BBC, n.d.; Jin et al., 2010:10). Students choose from the
main entitlement areas of Arts (including Art and design, Music, Dance, Drama and
Media arts; Design and Technology; Humanities (History and Geography); and Modern
Foreign Languages. This was in addition to core or compulsory subjects: Maths,
English and Science.
A study by Mandiudza et al., (2013:130) revealed that some heads of school were
reluctant or not aware of the directives to follow the two pathway system. As a result
many schools did not fully participate in the two pathway vocational programme. Dziwa
et al. (2013:316) associated such reluctance to implement the directives to some
conservative tendencies by some of the stakeholders. Munikwa (2011:33), in a study in
Makonde, found out that those implementing the two path-way education structure were
not consistent. The teachers were also not fully informed of how to implement the
programme. This revealed a lack of support from the relevant authorities. Others
however cited a lack of resources for the technical subjects and were left with no choice,
but to focus on teaching the academic subjects. Alternatively, commercial/business
skills based subjects, such as accounts and commerce, were found to be easier to
implement as they could be classroom based, but with a practical application.
Mandiudza et al. (2013:130) found out that both students and teachers seemed to
acknowledge that students were instead channelled into specific subject areas, some of
them, not of their choice. The selection was based on teacher recommendations that
were also influenced mostly by (streamed) students’ performance in Form 2 internal
examination results in Mathematics, Science and English (Mandiudza et al., 2013:129).
This appeared to maintain an academic approach to the selection process in violation of
circular number 9 of 2007, which recommended continuous assessment to aid in the
selection of appropriate options for students (Mandiudza et al., 2013:129).
33
Some students were channelled into unpopular vocational-technical/practical subject
areas they did not like. This seemed to create resentment and made students to develop
negative attitudes towards technical subjects. For example, some students found
agriculture as a dirty option. This was a matter of attitude towards the subject that
favoured white collar jobs and failure to acknowledge and appreciate initiatives that
widen options and breadth of the curriculum. It was observed that enabling students to
voluntarily select their pathways reveals their aspirations and could foster students’
engagement to learn with a possibility of reaching their full potential (Klotz et al.,
2014:7, 16-17). This may provide a sense of identity. Success of vocational education
seemed to depend on teachers’ perceptions of the economic values of the
vocational/technical subjects (Mandiudza et al., 2013:130). There appeared to be an
assumption that a positive attitude from teachers was bound to influence students’
perceptions
in
a
similar
way.
The
economic
values
of
(studying)
the
technical/vocational skills included their ability to impart productive skills and also
claimed
to
influence
attitudes.
A
change
in
teacher
attitudes
towards
technical/vocational subjects was viewed as crucial in their role to help students to make
their options (Mandiudza et al., 2013:130). Different people/stakeholders would be
expected to view the curriculum differently and dependent on the individuals, some may
view the curriculum as a way to assess achievement. The validity of the curriculum can
be assessed on the benefits the curriculum provides to the students/school leavers or the
industry (Kelly, 2009:160). Some would view curriculum as a way to assess resources
and moreso to improve from the existing curriculum, which could lead to improved and
facilitate students’ learning.
2.7 Secondary School Education Sector Structure
Zimbabwe has a clear linear secondary education system, which is pursued in schools or
colleges. The first stage is a basic early childhood education and care, and primary
education from Grade 0 to 7. The next stage, students proceed to Forms 1 to 4 (‘O’
level) and those who succeed at Form 4 have an option to go to ‘A’ level (Form 5 and 6)
or tertiary education or apprenticeships. ‘O’ and ‘A’ level exams are terminal. The
transition from primary to F1 and F2 secondary school before independence stood at
12.5% and 37.5% (Nziramasanga Commission Report, 1999:300). The F1 type school
was academic, whilst the F2 type school was practically oriented. At independence,
however, this two tier system was abandoned. During this time, transition to secondary
school rose to (at least) 70% as the secondary school education expanded after 1980
34
(The Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture and Higher and Tertiary Education
(MoESCHTE), 2004:5). At each terminal stage students sit examinations. Students can
enter tertiary education with ‘O’ or ‘A’ level qualifications. Some schools require
students to sit entry tests and selected students based on their performance.
Examinations could be a part of the education system’s monitoring exercise and that
could help provide guidance on career paths or specialisms. There was however an
imbalance in educational facilities and quality of education prior to 1980 along racial
grounds in favour of the white community. This called for some reforms of the
education system after 1980. Success in the education system could be brought about by
improving the functioning of the schools. And such success could be achieved and
assessed by the benefits or contributions learners confer to the society (Ndawi and
Peresuh, 2005:210). As schools produce more students who make contributions to the
society, the more the secondary school education would be acknowledged. Teachers
would also be taken seriously for their accountability and commitment towards
achievement of their students.
Zimbabwean schools are mainly divided into urban and rural, with the majority of the
urban establishments being government schools. The rural schools tend to be
community run schools. Across the rural-urban divide, there are considerable numbers
of private schools. Most schools are predominantly day with some boarding schools.
Within this mix, there are faith and largely non-faith schools. Schools are also
subdivided into mostly co-education and some single gender establishments. The
government of Zimbabwe, through the public/civil service commission, remains the
main employer of teachers (Maposa, 2013:39). The education system of Zimbabwe has
been organised centrally and there were attempts to decentralise the running of the
education system. Advocates of decentralisation of management of schools suggested
significant yields in the efficiency and accountability by the teachers as power is
devolved to local settings (Raihani, 2007:175). This was based on the premise that local
initiatives were more acceptable within their community (DFID, 2011) and has a better
understanding of their needs. There were suggestions that decentralisation promoted
responsive, participatory and effective local governance (Bland, 2011:341). This
subsequently improves service delivery at grass roots level. A collaborative effort by
government, schools, parents, communities and other stakeholders would help to
establish efficient ways to use resources that results in good quality education. For
decentralisation to work, all participants involved in the decision making process should
35
have the capabilities (Chikoko, 2008:4; Chikoko, 2009:210). Otherwise, the whole
process becomes unproductive. This was observed in studies in Zimbabwe and Malawi
in which stakeholders such as parents did not have the capacity or power in decisionmaking processes in curriculum matters. These were instead, left to the professionals,
such as teachers and heads of school. This lack of capabilities (Chikoko, 2009:208), led
to the withdrawal of teacher recruitment powers that had been vested to
parents/community and schools by the Zimbabwean authorities. This paved way for a
return to the centralisation of these powers to district/regional/provincial offices and
central government. Chikoko (2009:205) cited corruption and the expensive nature of
the process to job seekers who had to travel from school to school. However, Davies et
al. (2003:142) observed the lack of an obvious link between decentralisation and the
improvement of quality of education or services. Dunford et al., (2007:37-38) also came
to similar conclusions, claiming it was not always the case that the decentralisation or
low formalisation increased performance of workers. Instead, the use of both
centralisation and decentralisation traits that were the best fit for the organisation were
proposed.
Although parents maintained considerable interest in their schools, it was reported that
they
did
not
understand
the
functions
of
their
School
Development
Committees/Associations (SDCs/SDAs) (Chakanyuka et al., 2009:108). It was also
claimed they did not understand what represented a ‘good’ school. Parents could only
judge a school to be good by the teachers’ attendance rate. This could have been a
response to the high frequency of absenteeism prevalent during that time. And in as
much as the parents wanted such teachers removed, they seemed to be powerless over
such key decisions concerning their schools (Chakanyuka et al., 2009:108). A degree of
antagonism between parents and teachers existed in some of the schools. This could
explain the role played by the Education Transition Fund (ETF) to train the SDCs/SDAs
to work towards the improvement of operation of schools at community level (UNDPZimbabwe, 2012:27). An incidence that led to the attempted murder of a headmaster in
Mashonaland East appeared to explain teachers’ fears and apprehension of the
politicisation of the school in question (Chakanyuka et al., 2009:108).
2.8 Teacher training
In relation to the provision of (effective) teacher training, Kanyongo (2005:67) reported
a focus on relevance and quality of education in the education reforms from 1990 to
36
2001. There was an increase of trained teachers from 48.1% in 1990 to 89% in 1996.
The Zimbabwe Integrated National Teacher Course’s (ZINTEC) four year primary
school teacher training programme provided a model for teaching practice by trainee
teachers (UNESCO, 2006:13). ZINTEC afforded trainee teachers five terms of teaching
practice as compared to the three terms offered on the conventional three year teacher
training programmes (Ngara et al., 2013). Kangai and Bukaliya (2011:126) reported that
ZINTEC helped to alleviate the shortage of trained school teachers. In 2013, David
Coltart, the then Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, proposed further reforms that
required teachers to have a minimum university degree qualification (Staff ReporterNew Zimbabwe, 2013). There was also the need to phase out unqualified teachers in the
next five years. Since 1980, the teacher training programmes appeared to have
diversified and now range from diploma to degree level in both primary and secondary
teacher training programmes. University providers of such programmes have also
increased and the programmes range from first to post graduate degrees including the
Doctor of Education. Most of the diploma courses are conducted at teachers’ colleges
apart from postgraduate teaching diplomas conducted at universities. The postgraduate
teaching diplomas studied at the universities enables non-teaching (that is, other
specialist) degree graduates to gain teaching status. This could be the conventional one
year or block release part time graduate certificate of education. Candidates must have a
first degree and a minimum of one year experience in any approved educational work
that included teaching, curriculum work or educational administration (The Great
Zimbabwe University, n.d.).
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of Zimbabwean universities
offering teaching degree courses. For instance, at the Great Zimbabwe University,
provision of teacher training, the conventional four year degree programme culminates
into the Bachelor of Education pre-service qualification (see University website for
entry qualifications). The in-service equivalent qualification is aimed at practicing
teachers with a diploma teaching qualification. Distance education also seemed to have
been pivotal in the provision of in-service training of teachers. However, Tukutuku
(2013), of The Zimbabwean newspaper, reported claims of reduced entry requirements
to teaching colleges, in which maths and English language would not be prerequisites
despite maintaining the minimum entry qualifications of 5 ‘O’ levels. Ncube (2013:232)
also, reported that owing to the shortage of trainee teachers, teachers’ colleges were
introducing bridging courses to cater for those candidates with less than five ‘O’ level
37
passes. This could have a bearing on the quality of teachers produced through this route
and some qualifications become questionable. This was in light of the Zimbabwe Open
University’s (ZOU) teaching diploma qualification that was disqualified and banned
(Newzimbabwe Staff reporter, 2012). This qualification was however accredited and
recognised (Nemukuyu, 2014), but there was no clear basis for this action apart from a
statement to say that the university, ZOU, met the requirements of the accreditation set
by the Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education (ZIMCHE) (NewsdzeZimbabwe, 2015).
This leaves many questions as to how and why the training programme was given a go
ahead to operate prior to the fulfilment of the requirements in the first place.
Overall, the increased provision of teacher training and in-service training was
supportive of the government initiative to address the shortages of qualified teachers,
but the aspect of a teaching qualification being identified as not meeting the
accreditation requirements and yet the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) continued
training students on that course leaves the aspect of quality in doubt. The fact that the
ZOU teaching diploma qualification was later accepted as meeting the accreditation
requirements, but without actually spelling out what had changed or the criteria used to
come to this conclusion continues to cast doubt on the quality of this qualification and
teacher training programme. However, it could also illustrate that the accreditation
authorities were actually taking a central role in monitoring and addressing issues on
quality. Other positive developments were the promotion student-centred teaching
methods at the Bindura State University and the increased provision of in-service
teacher training and distance part-time teacher education. This catered for more teachers
wishing to upgrade their qualifications. However, training of special education needs
teachers appeared to have been under represented with the United College of Education
(UCE) reported to be the only teacher education college out of fourteen in Zimbabwe to
be offering in-service training for special educational needs teachers (Musindo-VVOB
Zimbabwe, 2013).
For quality assurance purposes in teacher education training, external examinations are
administered and these are different for similar programmes. For example, Nielsen
(1997:29) reported that the examinations for the conventional and distance education for
the Zimbabwe’s ZINTEC programme are different and also claims that those who set
and review the examinations are also external to both the programme and the country
(Zimbabwe) unlike those in Tanzania and Nigeria which are the same and internal. This
38
is a practice which the British Commonwealth countries used to assure that the quality
standards are equivalent and intended to uphold the programme and its graduates to
international norms. Student teachers however received very little supervision and when
supervision visits/observations occurred, at these schools, Nielsen (1997:301) claimed
that the focus was on checking lesson plans rather than on reinforcing “of concepts,
skills and linking theory with practice.” In contrast to the period between 1980 and 1982
in which Trainee teachers were supervised in lessons, trainee teachers were now
unsupervised and took full control of lessons (Ngara et al., 2013). This was to alleviate
teacher shortages resulting from the expansion of secondary school education provision.
This period, supervision of pre-service or teachers on teaching practice were delayed,
far-spaced from each other, there was little or no dialogue and a lack of consensus
among those supervisors involved in student teacher supervision. Ngara et al., (2013)
pointed out the need for effective supervision of pre-service teachers on teaching
practice to enhance the quality of student teacher training. There was mounting criticism
of ineffective assessment of student teachers by college lecturers. In a study to compare
the assessment of college lecturers and student peers, Nyaumwe and Mtetwa (2006:40)
observed that both, college lecturers and student peers identified that the in-service
student teachers appeared to have learnt new pedagogical skills and upgraded their
content knowledge. The assessment and critique from college lecturers revealed both
strengths and weaknesses, whilst the student peers excluded weaknesses of the lesson. It
had also been reported that school-based assessments and lecturers’ assessments varied
significantly. The assessment process, though guided by a framework of competencies
may still provide challenges as the individual assessors may interpret the instructional
actions of the student teachers differently. These could be guided or based on their
different beliefs and values pertaining to teaching and learning.
2.9 Motivation to enter the teaching profession and teaching methods
The reasons for joining the teaching profession may be contextual in terms of the
prospective candidates’ perceived views of what teaching or teacher identity constitutes.
Some reasons may or may not reveal candidates’ experiences as students. Others may
simply provide desirable responses based on what they perceived to be an effective
teacher professional identity. According to Gourneau (n.d.), responses to a typical preservice candidate selection process question “Why do you want to become a teacher?”
may range from:
39
I want to be able to make a positive difference in the lives of my students.
…want to be an effective teacher who will be remembered fondly by their former
students.
To: …to have a chance to be a better teacher than the teachers they personally
experienced.
This demonstrates different traits and qualities expected of teachers. Some of the
proposed attributes of teachers included caring and kindness, sensitivity to the students’
diversity and having an ability to provide meaningful learning experiences for all
students (Gourneau, n.d.). By entering into teaching it would then be perceived that
candidates/teachers did so with a notion of serving first (Herman and Marlowe,
2005:175, 176; Stewart, 2012:234, 235, 236) guided by the principles of a teaching
professional community (Grossman et al., 2001). This incorporates principles, values
and common beliefs among all the members of the teaching profession. Based on the
assumption that “…teachers usually teach in the way they were taught”, Gourneau (n.d.)
considered that it was important to gain some understanding into the candidates’
experiences in education. These may reveal the effective and ineffective attitudes and
actions of teachers experienced by these prospective candidates when they were
students. And selection may be fairly or unfairly based on this assumption that those
who may have had a good experience would most likely turn out to be the right
candidates. Flores and Day (2006:224) also observed that personal experiences as a
student had an impact on how the trainee teachers (or pre-service teachers) perceived
teaching and themselves as teachers. They could also learn from their experience from
their host teachers during their teaching practice in terms of instructional strategies,
classroom management or student engagement techniques (Stewart, 2012:249).
The motivation to enter the teaching profession could be an expression of a commitment
to serve on the principles of servant leadership that effectively focuses on the belief of
serving others to achieve set goals (Herman and Marlowe, 2005:176; Washington et al.,
2006:701, 710-711; Parolini et al., 2009:276, 278, 289). This innate will to serve first
(Herman and Marlowe, 2005:176) could be the foremost driving force for the
individuals to enter the profession instead of viewing it as an escape route from
unemployment. Within this realm, a teacher takes the role of a servant first as they focus
on effectively helping all students to achieve. This brings in that aspect of a caring
professional as enshrined within the teaching community of practice that encompasses
aspects of ethical and moral development. These incorporate caring, fairness and
40
empathy that enables working with all students including those with serious emotional
disturbances (Herman and Marlowe, 2005:177) to achieve their full potential through a
sense of community. However, one of the reasons for entering teaching was the need to
make a difference to children’s lives (Mackenzie, 2013:435). Towse et. al., (2002:646)
found out that some only chose teaching as a last resort.
Teaching could be classified into traditional teacher-centred or student-centred. Teacher
input by way of lecture and limited interaction between teacher and students is the
predominant way of teaching (Heck et al., 2000:3444; Schwerdt and Wuppermann,
2011:367). This method involves memorisation of facts or rote learning without longterm retention and an inability to apply concepts. This was associated with superficial
learning (Smith and Colby, 2007:206). Freire (1993:54) was however critical of
education that suppressed students’ creativity. Instead, students appeared to accept a
passive role imposed on them by their teachers or the education system. However, Heck
et al. (2000:3444) were of the view that some facets of traditional teaching cannot be
abandoned completely as they remain applicable and just as important as the other
methods of acquiring knowledge, such as the use of textbooks, but appeared to suggest
that students will tend to work independently if they are provided with an opportunity to
do so with the correct resources such as the web (Heck, et al., 2000:3448). . On the
other hand, student-centred teaching methods associated with deep learning (Smith and
Colby, 2007:206) may involve students working independently without over reliance on
the teacher. This could involve group work, and students take responsibility of their
own learning. Findings in a study by (Chinyoka et al., 2012:99) exposed limitations in
mathematics fractions problem solving approaches. Teachers seemed to adhere to the
use of worked examples and making students follow rule based procedures, which
appeared to be surface/superficial learning. It could be beneficial if all members of the
Zimbabwean
teaching
community
of
practice
identify
characteristics
of
surface/superficial and deep learning (Smith and Colby, 2007:206). A better
understanding of progression from surface learning to deep learning could be expressed
in the structure of the observed learning outcome (or SOLO’ s taxonomy) see Figure
2.2. In the SOLO’s taxonomy, those students learning outcomes representing surface
learning identify information as discrete entities and this corresponds to the
unistructural and multistructural levels, whilst for deep learning, students need to
establish relationships between pieces of information and extend knowledge to the
abstract level (Smith and Colby, 2007:206-207). This has been perceived as a relatively
41
reliable tool to analyse and interpret classroom lessons and students’ work or outcomes.
Deep learning could be associated with independent student-centred learning in which
engagement of students would ensue and relational and extended abstract learning
processes take effect at the higher levels.
Figure 2.2 The structure of the observed learning outcome
(SOLO’s Taxonomy) (Smith and Colby, 2007:206)
As a collective, the participants may promote continuous engagement on how to best
achieve learning and achievement through continuous review of processes and dialogue
among teachers/leaders. In so doing a culture and practice becomes established (Gilbert,
n.d.:12) in which teachers may feel less threatened by the prospect of being held to
account by all stakeholders. Within such a self-improving community of practice,
sharing, critiquing and evaluation of activities/actions among colleagues or among
networks of schools would be expected. Socialisation of employees into a highperformance culture tends to instil the high-performance values of the organisation by
the leaders. This also tends to attract and encourage retention of motivated, high
performing employees on the job (Bennett and Naumann, 2005:117l, 122-123). To
achieve quality education, accountability of teachers is vital. This fosters the concept of
a self-improving school/teacher, whereby everyone involved accounts for their actions
or performance (Gilbert, n.d:10, 13). Accountability in this sense involves an evaluation
of performance or actions taken against expected or established standards and
benchmarks. On this basis teachers take responsibilities for students’ achievements
42
(test/exam results) and also that of teaching and its impact on their learning. This could
be summed up as the quality of their teaching and offers an opportunity for the need to
focus on the teachers themselves. During the period 2006-2009, most Zimbabwean
secondary schools could not meet the criterion of a basic functioning school described
by Tikly and Barrett (2011:4). At such a school, the
…staff and students are able to be physically present in a school building with
classrooms and minimum of furniture and they are physically, emotionally and
mentally well enough to apply themselves to teaching and learning…p.4.
Because of the economic hardships (Nkoma et al., 2013:130; Chakanyuka et al.,
2009:42), both teachers and students were reported to be hungry and teachers especially,
were not prepared to go to school as they engaged in money making activities for their
survival (Chakanyuka et al., 2009:42). Those who had experienced violence were not
prepared to go back to those schools too (Chakanyuka et al., 2009:37). Berliner
(2009:19) also cites impaired cognitive capacity for children in such circumstances. A
teacher faced with such a prospect and state of mind may not be mentally prepared to
carry out their duties and most likely lacks preparation and let alone check on students’
progress (Ncube, 2013:229). They may, instead, tend to withhold effort on the job,
which is an employee’s intentional reduction of their conviction and contributions
towards their obligations/duties (Kidwell and Robie, 2003:538). Kidwell and Valentine
(2009:16) viewed lowering effort as an ethical issue. This is in line with Lawler’s equity
theory, where under-rewarded employees could resort to shirking, (which is holding
back full effort on the job) that could be associated with the attitudes and actions of the
Zimbabwean secondary school teachers. Another form of withholding effort that may be
associated with the Zimbabwean teachers could be job neglect (withdrawal from jobrelated duties) as identified in studies by Judge and Chandler (1996:469, 471) and
Bennett and Naumann (2005:120). Any deliberate individual actions to lower
contributions result in reduced organisational, group and individual performance.
Members with a commitment to team/group work have a tendency to emotionally bond
together and as such do not want to let their group members down. This pushes them to
exert full effort on the job. However, there are instances that withholding of effort may
be due to unavailability of organisational support, such as, lack of training, direction,
coordination. To stop shirking, payment of above labour market salaries have been
recommended. This concurs with Vroom’s expectancy theory, where employees tend to
work harder on realisation that hard work gets rewarded (Bennett and Naumann,
43
2005:115). To deter withholding of effort requires close monitoring of the workers
(Judge and Chandler, 1996) and also negative consequences (Bennett and Naumann,
2005:120).
Brown and Wynn (2009:49, 51-53, 58) highlighted the need for school leadership to
provide conditions and resources that support collaborative working and shared goals.
This provides a conducive working environment that supports colleagues, reduced
teacher isolation and enhances chances of retaining teachers. On the contrary, difficult
working conditions contribute to high turnover of teachers. Allen (2002:10) suggested
that there was a likelihood to retain teachers when a school had learning success with
satisfied teachers and students. On the other hand teachers in a demoralising
environment with limited resources were not expected to perform meaningfully to the
success of the school (Towse et al., 2002:649). This seemed to mirror the Zimbabwean
situation, which was not just a matter of problems situated at schools, but encompassing
the bigger picture of teacher welfare and susceptibility to violence and ill treatment at
the hands of political activists. In a study in Tanzania, it was also noted that teachers
would be more preoccupied with their socioeconomic needs rather than their core
business of providing learning to students (Towse et al., 2002:649). Chakanyuka et al.
(2009:42) and Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya (2011:100) reported similar behaviours in
Zimbabwean schools. Teachers elected to put a certain amount of effort which they
deemed was commensurate with what they earned. The work environment and job
satisfaction also plays an important part in the performance and motivation of teachers.
According to Taylor (2008:360) motivation:
...involves improving performance through the judicious design and redesign of
jobs and of the work environment, and by generally seeking to make the
experience of work as satisfying as possible. p.360.
Provision for opportunities for oneself and career development, a high degree of
personal responsibility and some degree of autonomy, including positive feedback on
performance, may also, contribute to motivation. These could help with the
development of high trust relationships instilled from appropriate leadership styles.
2.10 Teacher welfare
Because of the economy and the prevailing working environment teachers were faced
with different stressors and among them the stress to meet family needs because of poor
44
salaries. Stress, subsequently reduces the quality of teaching (Kyriacou, 1987:147).
Teachers were forced to embark on other money generating activities (Chakanyuka et
al., 2009:42). This meant absconding from work in violation of their work obligations.
Finding time for these activities and to plan, prepare, marking and recording school
work can become. The result could be stress and burnout and subsequently reduced
vigour on the job (Cinamon et al., 2007:252, 258). Eventually teachers ended up less
engaged with their work in favour of their home obligations. Faced with such a
scenario, Cinamon et al. (2007:258) reported the importance of social support from
one’s manager and colleagues. Such support could have been helpful to the
Zimbabwean teachers, but welfare, resources and professionalism appeared to be central
areas to improve if the teachers were to be more effective and to reduce the work-family
conflict. Teachers seemed unable to cope well with the situation that confronted them.
They resorted to strikes (Kwenda, 2009), which disrupted learning, but achieved very
little to make their lives better.
Mambo (2012) of the Independent newspaper (Zimbabwe) claimed that students and the
education system of “Zimbabwe lost the entire 2007 and part of 2008 academic years as
teachers and lecturers concentrated on meeting basic needs through alternative means.”
During this period attendance was also reported to have fallen from 80% to 20% forcing
some 94% of rural schools to close by 2009 (UNICEF, 2009). The hyperinflation led to
reduced (or near zero) funding in educational institutions. It reduced availability of
resources and led to unattractive working conditions. This also adversely affected the
welfare of teachers and according to Tungwarara, (n.d.:112-113) and Mapuranga (2009)
that of the whole/general population of the country. The resultant poor welfare of
teachers had an impact on their attitudes and working life. Teachers resorted to strike
action over low pay (Kwenda, 2009). This triggered the resultant wider brain drain in
education and other professions to countries such as Botswana, South Africa and the
UK (Nherera, 2000:354; Bennell, 2004:23; Evans and Little, 2007:526). The difficulty
to replace the qualified teachers who left led to the employment of unqualified teachers.
Bennell (2004:24) points out that the “small states with well-educated teaching forces
were most vulnerable to teacher brain drain”. Taylor (2008:13) acknowledged the need
to use and manage resources within constraints. A clear understanding of effective
management of both the human and materials resources within constraints was an
important strategy required to keep the Zimbabwean secondary schools operational.
45
2.11 Professionalism
Teacher professional identity could be defined (differently or in a similar way) by the
individual teachers themselves, school leadership, the community or other stakeholders.
This is what Sachs (2003:124) referred to as an imposition of shared attributes by those
in the teaching profession or outsiders. In all cases the teacher may fit a certain mould
(Ramya, 2010) that exhibits certain behaviour, characteristics, attitudes and conduct,
which may form a teacher’s attributes that are different from other professional groups
(Sachs, 2003:124). The teacher could also be expected to help foster students’
achievement to gain the best possible outcomes. A combination of the common
attributes exhibited by teachers and other factors at different schools shape that school’s
culture. These different attributes or identities define a way of doing things at that
school (Deal and Peterson, 1999:2-3), with different effects on school performance.
These provide an understanding of the traditions, beliefs and behaviours, norms and
expectations evident in everything about the school established over time. This may
include teachers’ feelings about the job, how people act or interact among themselves,
dress, what they talk about or avoid talking about or whether colleagues work together
or not. The school cultures may comprise of entrenched teaching practices and conduct
of teachers among themselves or their students. Cultures may change with the changes
in leadership and the arrival of new teachers or reactions to prevailing political or
economic climate. This could be exemplified by the Zimbabwean teachers who seemed
to have adopted different coping mechanisms to sustain themselves in the prevailing
economic hardships that had reduced their status in society.
Teacher professional identity starts with its formation. This is a crucial stage when
student teachers acquire certain characteristics or behaviours that will be associated with
teachers or teaching. From this process, the teacher professional identify starts to
manifest itself (Timostsuk and Ugaste, 2010:1564). Professional identity does not only
define who the professionals are, but also identifies whom they want to be (Beijaard et
al., 2004:108). This (identity formation) may be explained in terms of a continuous
learning process cultivated through experiential and mentorship at the teacherstudentship stage and as they gain further experience after qualifying. This is in
accordance to Wenger’s (1998:5) social learning concept of learning where identity is a
result of learning, experiencing, doing and having that sense of belonging to the
teaching community of practice. This seems to focus on the teacher as a person and also
aspects of their morality, accountability and commitment to perform the job effectively.
46
Timostsuk and Ugaste (2010:1565) used this as an analytical tool to assess and/or
ascertain acquisition of teacher identity at student teacher level, in which they found out
that (the value of) experience, (in conjunction with relations with their pupils and
supervisors), was viewed as a fundamental tenet linked to the formation of teacher
identity by student teachers. These student teachers, however, felt disappointed when
they found out that they were not readily accepted into this community of practice. The
perceived full members seemed to lack faith in the student teachers (as new members)
and would not entrust them to carry out the job to the full as they questioned their
motives to enter this profession of low status in terms of salaries. Such encounters and
other experiences including the student teachers’ relationships with those around them
and that of their students have an effect on teacher identity formation. The context
aspect seemed to be significant in identity formation, which can also be applicable to
the Zimbabwean context. The prevailing political and economic situation in Zimbabwe
towards and after 2008 was volatile. This had a bearing on the way the teachers were
treated and how they were perceived by the public. Any changes in any of the context at
the workplace, such as classroom practice, school culture and leadership may also have
a corresponding effect on the identity of the teacher (Flores and Day, 2006:230).
Although teachers would be expected to think and behave professionally, the
professional characteristics, knowledge or attitudes they adopted were not entirely
prescribed (Beijaard et al., 2004:122). It should then be accepted that teachers place
different personal values to these characteristics and hence deal with them accordingly.
As such, they end up being associated with their own particular teaching culture
(Beijaard et al., 2004:122).
2.12 Teacher effectiveness or efficacy
Teacher effectiveness from a student’s point of view may incorporate traits that promote
the student to learn and understand their work. Such teacher traits include: well
prepared, calm, tolerance and humour (Lupascu et al., 2014:538). Polk (2006:23)
identified prior good academic performance, professionalism, communication skills,
creativity, and pedagogical knowledge as the characteristics of an effective teacher. This
may incorporate a teacher’s ability to continuously evolve professionally as a life-long
learner enabling the teacher to continuously develop as an instructor and continually
improve student achievement. Such teachers may be self-improving (Gilbert, n.d.:10
referring to a self-improving school system they drive and own) and constantly
reflective on their practice (Polk, 2006:24). Teachers would be expected to
47
communicate effectively, which entails clarity and information structured (Polk,
2006:25) in ways that are easily understood by students. Steele (2010:71) finds no clear
answer on what makes an effective teacher and bases this on the different traits
individual teachers bring to the profession. The three main traits Steele (2010:71)
identified were high self-efficacy, nonverbal communication and strong leadership
ability. Other characteristics include genuine excitement about their work, caring,
supportive and concerned about the welfare of their students. An effective teacher
should then possess any characteristics that contribute to effective teaching and
learning.
Self-efficacy and relationships among workers plays an important role in the
organisation/school in terms of motivation and work output. Dunham and Song’ony
(2008:409) reported a high self-efficacy among Zimbabwean teachers. This was
exhibited in the teachers’ own confidence in their abilities to influence students’
learning. Teachers may have to improvise when faced with shortages or few resources
and use these creatively. They also require to manage resources effectively to meet the
needs of the students. Self-efficacy refers to teachers’ beliefs regarding their own
abilities and competencies to influence behaviour that brings about meaningful
educational outcomes regardless of outside influences or obstacles (Soodak and Podell,
1996:401-402; Steele, 2010:73; Stewart, 2012:239). This helps to shape student’s
knowledge, values and behaviour. The traits of servant leadership cited by Steele
(2010:76) could be used by teachers and do what is best for the students. These could
mould students to develop desirable attitudes, behaviours and skills by bringing to the
fore those unformed interests within a student to fully engage in learning. This also
means removing any barriers to learning. Teachers with a high sense of efficacy tend to
be more enthusiastic about teaching. They are less likely to interact negatively with
students (Tschannen-Moran and Hoy, 2001:784; Steele, 2010:76;) or to experience
burn-out (Stewart, 2012:239).
2.13 Quality education
The focus on quality education is something that seems to be lacking in most research
studies on the Zimbabwean education. One of the hindrances to achieving quality
education in schools was blamed on poor teacher training provision and also on poor
leadership (Chakanyuka et al., 2009:44; Ncube, 2013:232). A shortage of teachers (UN
MDG report, 2010:17) and other resources (Stewart, 1996:332) were also identified as
48
factors affecting the provision of quality education in Sub-Saharan Africa. UNICEF
Zimbabwe (2011:3) reported that about 25% of the teachers did not meet the minimum
teaching qualification requirements of the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and
Culture. The expansion of the Zimbabwean education system resulted in reduced
economic efficiency, pass rates and a decline in the provision of quality education
(Riddell, 1998:278, 284). In their definition of quality education, Chakanyuka et al.,
(2009:41) incorporated the notions of meaningful and effective participation, personal
development governed by a number of factors such as content and processes of
education. Integral to this were the infrastructure, equipment and teaching-learning
materials. This also included the learning achievements determined by examination
results. The relevance of education was perceived equally important as a determinant or
indicator for quality. With a reference to the Nziramasanga Commission Report,
Zhangazha (2014) acknowledged and reiterated the report’s findings which cited poor
administration and irrelevant curricula. The recommendations included a vocational
type/biased education, a change in teaching methods focused on skills and a reduced
emphasis on examinations (Zhangazha, 2014).
Chakanyuka et al., (2009:41) coined a definition of quality education as one that
“…prepares learners to participate meaningfully and effectively in the development of
the nation as a whole.” The quality of education was also associated with the personal
development of the learner. The main indicators of quality education identified included
committed and motivated teachers and parents, good academic leadership, curriculum
linked to the developmental needs of the country, adequate resources, good results,
infrastructure (water, toilets and shelter) and a friendly environment (Chakanyuka et al.,
2009:41). Tikly (2011:3) identified the difference in priorities in education quality by
level of national development. These were as follows: post-conflict/newly founded
states (school system, curriculum), low-income (primary school), middle-income
(secondary schools) and OECD countries (competencies, responsibility, lifelong
learning). Post-colonial or newly founded states however were reported to have pursued
developmental goals through higher education (Assie-Lumumba, 2004:71), which was
not identified in Tikly’s (2011:3) priorities. Zimbabwe’s emphasis on education seemed
to have incorporated some of the aspects of education found in most of the categories,
(that is, school system and curriculum; primary school, secondary schools and lifelong
learning). Quality was viewed as an issue in African countries (Tikly, 2011:3) including
Zimbabwe (Nziramasanga Commission Report, 1999:299). Just like most studies on the
49
Zimbabwean education system, Kurasha and Chiome (2013) mentioned the need for
quality, but with an emphasis on resources and improvement of teachers’ welfare as
main steps towards achieving quality education through motivation. Most teachers in
public schools have been reported for their failure to monitor students’ progress and
lack of preparation as a case of “I will see when I get there” (Ncube, 2013:229). This
was an indication of a need to address the quality of the teaching process/practice as one
aspect that leads to improved student performance/achievement (Bourke, 1986:558-559
– with reference to class sizes). Also, the average ‘O’ level pass rate has remained
below 25% since 1984. Surprisingly, the former minister of education praised ZIMSEC
for setting ‘O’ levels at a very high standard at an anticipated pass rate of 24%
(Zhangazha, 2014). Thus, insinuating low pass rate translates to quality. This appeared
as if a low pass rate was synonymous with high standards. Since results were cited as an
indicator for quality, this may not reflect good quality education provision across the
country. However, the statistics of the ‘O’ level results do not incorporate the June
results and the incumbent Primary and Secondary Education Minister (Cde Dokora)
proposed collation of results that reflect annual results (Zindoga, 2014). The (public)
rating of schools (or league tables) based on their performance on public examinations
appeared to put teachers and school administrators under pressure to ensure improved
performance in public examinations (Mufanechiya, 2013:326, 328-330). This made
schools to focus on examination oriented teaching, which promoted rote learning that
was viewed as a decline in teaching quality. The teaching was also claimed to be
unreflective in nature.
Another pointer for quality was on resource provision. This was reported to be poor in
terms of average textbook to pupil ratios at 1:15 and a phenomenal 90 students reported
to be sharing one or two textbooks at Ndimimbili Primary school in Matabeleland North
(Chakanyuka et al., 2009:107). There were differences in class sizes across the country.
Generally most secondary schools’ teacher-student ratios were at an average of 1:24,
below the stipulated 1:30 (Chakanyuka et al., 2009:45). However, it was reported class
sizes were a factor in the provision of quality education (MacBeath, 1999:47). Also, this
had implications for lesson planning. Low morale (UNDP-Zimbabwe, 2012:27), lack of
accommodation and shortages of teaching resources, and the poor welfare of teachers
(Chakanyuka et al., 2009:42), poor working conditions and a lack of career or
professional development were cited as obstacles to quality education and effective
teaching (Mandina, 2012:770-771). Mhanyi (2008) reported a mass exodus of teachers
50
from schools because of the threat of violence and social problems. This was
exacerbated by the meaningless teacher salaries owing to the hyperinflation reported at
900%, affecting the Zimbabwean economy at that time. An improvement of these
factors would implicitly help improve the professional status of teachers and attract
others into the profession. Some of the poor conditions at schools were however
attributed to poor leadership at schools rather than funding alone (Chakanyuka et al.,
2009:44).
The outcomes of good quality education should (be contextualised to) produce learners
that develop capabilities and make them economically productive and achieve
sustainable livelihoods (EdQual, n.d.:23; Lanzi, 2007:428). This was extended to the
political or citizenship aspects that require a learner to contribute to peaceful and
democratic societies in line with the life-skills proposed by Lanzi (2007:425-426) that
mould a person to act and live among others in a socially acceptable way. Consideration
of the context of the setting and that of the learners enables the implementers to tailor
their education design models to suit particular learners in their environment/localities.
The Department for International Development (DFID) (2011) found local educational
initiatives to be more acceptable within the locality or community than those from
central authorities. Besides better uptake, it’s claimed such local educational initiatives
often delivered higher levels of quality. An interdependency or interaction between
policy, the school, and the home or community environment was associated with the
creation of a good quality education. This could be similar to initiatives in Zimbabwean
schools where the parents driven SDA/SDC thrive in their leadership of schools.
Improved access to textbooks and written materials also plays an important role in
improving the delivery of quality education. Such efforts were underway to work with
textbook writers in Tanzania to be able to produce textbooks accessible to second
language learners after finding that teaching or teachers were more effective in the local
Kiswahili than in the English language (EdQual, nd.:13, 14). Policy may also intervene
in terms of welfare issues such as the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) and
the Education Transition Fund (ETF) programmes in Zimbabwe whose focus was to
enhance access to education by paying fees for the most disadvantaged children and
provide resources to schools (UNICEF Zimbabwe, 2011:5-7; UNDP-Zimbabwe,
2012:27).
51
Another aspect that contributes to provision of quality education would require teachers
to be reflective in their practice. School communities with an ability to use selfevaluation and self-improvement strategies stood a better chance to cultivate and
maintain a good school (MacBeath, 1999:1). This could be achieved through the sharing
of good practice and networking within and among schools on a collegial basis
(MacBeath, 1999:1). This was in contrast to the over reliance on external bodies to
monitor schools. In Zimbabwe it meant that during the 2006 to 2008 period, most
schools did not have the opportunity to get any assessment and feedback from the
external monitors (or education officers) because of lack of transport or fuel
(Chakanyuka et al., 2009:44). The Zimbabwe school cluster system was promoted in
1993 under the Better Schools Programme (BSP) with the objective to improve the
quality of education through better school management (UNESCO, 2001:233). Five to
eight neighbouring primary and secondary schools formed the cluster that worked
together to share experiences that included administration, supervision and staff
development (UNESCO, 2001:233). These cluster activities, just like the self-evaluation
exercises in England and Wales, did not replace, but complemented regional and district
office supervisory activities (UNESCO, 2001:233). It was hoped this study would help
bring the issues of quality of education to the fore, but with a focus on the teachers, their
practice and the establishment/improvement of their community of practice.
2.14 Community of practice
A community of practice may be summed up in this brief definition as: “…groups of
people informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for a joint
enterprise…” (Wenger and Snyder, 2000:139). This could be done through the
promotion of best practice, development of professional skills of the community and
engagement in solving problems. This entails a process of continuous improvement
characterised by transformation/changes in the development of both the participants and
practice as outlined in a review of Lave and Wenger’s 1991 book by Matusov et al.
(1994:918). Achieving and maintaining such a community presents its challenges. This
involves a realignment of experience based on participation levels and competence as
the teachers use their abilities to negotiate new meanings (Wenger, 1998:226). These
stages and levels of engagement are best defined/described by the concept of legitimate
peripheral participation (Lave and Wenger, 1991:29, 36). Peripheral participation refers
to newcomers’ engagement in communities of practitioners who moves towards full
participation as their mastery of knowledge and skill levels develop (Wenger, 1998:29).
52
Critiques of community of practice perceived communities of practice as centres were
the participants were ‘indoctrinated’ (Hughes at al., 2007:38). Those who wielded
power within these practices tend to determine direction, the building blocks and the
values of the community of practice. They would impose their knowledge, ideas or
innovations to the other employees.
The community of practice framework captures all the aspects of running an enterprise
in its entirety, (in this case education or teaching and learning in six Zimbabwean
secondary schools). This encompasses the aspects of effectiveness, efficacy and
competence through meaningful engagement of members/participants. Simply put,
“communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or passion for
something they do and learn to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger, n.d.:1).
It entails that members of the communities have an identity and commitment bound by
shared competences that are required in their enterprise. They also learn from each other
and aim to improve the community of practice. Meaning is derived and moulded around
learning and experiences of members whose objective is to sustain and also engage in
necessary actions that may enable the community of practice to evolve (Wenger,
1998:3-5 and 125-126). Members should have a sense of belonging that captures and
upholds their professional identity and related aspects of professional competence. This
appeared to be a feature of the German initial vocational training system among
apprentices who developed occupational ties and formed an identity aligned to the
occupation instead of loyalties to the employer/company (Klotz et al., 2014).
Communities of practice offer a direct route to perceived outcomes and therefore
provide tools to examine and analyse facets of teaching and learning that form the basis
for this study. Knowledge about the community of practice enables a better
understanding from which to base the analysis and assessment of the gathered data to
determine if the necessary building blocks reflect a teaching community of practice. The
building blocks bound by learning are guided by four main components of: meaninglearning as experience; practice-learning as doing; community-learning as belonging;
identity-learning as becoming (Wenger, 1998:5). Based on the notion that learning and
knowing was a result of teaching (Wenger, 1998:3), the study was expected to find the
universality (in competencies) or otherwise, at the six Zimbabwean secondary schools,
that reflect a teaching community of practice. It was expected that schools would show
commonalities as well as differences or uniqueness of the practices as they all have
53
various characteristics that may shade light to why things work the way they do at these
schools. Teachers were to be viewed as engaged and active participants who assume an
engagement with significant others within the community and at the same time
constructing an identity in relation to teaching (Wenger, 1998:4).
To be effective and achieve efficacy, the community should focus on fine tuning their
practice and ensuring new generations of members to promote sustenance of the
practice (Wenger, 1998:7). Effective socialisation and a speedy integration of beginning
teachers may facilitate quick settling and make meaningful contributions (Mudzingwa
and Magadu, 2013:39) in the community of practice. There should also be efforts to
efficiently maintain and sustain working relationships between the school and related
stakeholders, such as, the School Development Committee/Association (SDC/SDA) that
help run the school. This is synonymous with Wenger’s notion of “…sustaining the
interconnected communities of practice through which an organisation knows what it
knows…” This leads to the optimisation of operations in an organisation (Wenger,
1998:8) and maximising its relevance to the beneficiaries of services provided. There
should be an awareness that these communities of practice change over the course of the
participant’s lives. Some of the indicators pointing to the existence of a community of
practice include sustained mutual relationships, mutually defining identities, shared
ways of engaging in doing things together and members’ capabilities and significance
(knowing what others know, what they can do, and how they can contribute to an
enterprise), they also include the ability to assess the appropriateness of actions and
products and certain styles recognised as displaying membership (Wenger, 1998:125-6).
As such, participation shapes not only what members do, but also who the members are
and how they interpret what they do. Tam (2014:13-14) found out that most of the
teachers in the Chinese subject/department believed professional learning communities
provided opportunities for teacher learning as a result of teacher interaction and sharing
of ideas through interaction in that community in contrast to those in the English
department (Tam, 2014:12) with a view that it can only cause problems.
2.15 Summary
From the literature review the education system of Zimbabwe shows a relatively high
increase in the transition of children from primary to secondary school education. The
need to adapt the curriculum to suit the industrial needs of the country were explored
and put in place, but seemed unsustainable. From the teacher’s point of view, it was also
54
important that the immediate financial needs of the teachers and availability of
resources were to be met to reduce the brain drain. Zimbabwean teachers’ attitudes
towards their work resonate with those expressed in other low income developing
countries. However, there was not much emphasis on secondary school leadership and
its influence on the efficient operation of schools. The Zimbabwean local examination
system was also criticised, especially, on the conduct of the examiners and incidences of
leaked exam papers at examination centres. The risky nature of transporting exam
papers was also highlighted as an important factor. The politics and the shrinking
economy were also contributing factors towards the attitudes of the teachers, but there is
not much commitment on how to address these problems as a priority. To achieve
quality secondary education, most research studies appeared to ignore the teachers’
inputs and the teaching process as a necessary and priority component to be addressed
to achieve effective and quality education. Issues on professionalism seemed not to
receive much emphasis and this could confirm Tikly’s (2011:3) claim that it is the
developed countries that are mainly preoccupied with issues of competencies whilst
developing countries are still working on access to education mainly the primary and
secondary schooling phase. The Zimbabwean teaching community of practice seemed
to be at its infancy and unstable. Its true nature may be revealed through questionnaires,
interviews and classroom observations as the key data collection tools.
55
Chapter 3 Methodology
3.1 Introduction and aims of study
The aim of the study was to establish teachers’, school leaders and stakeholders’
attitudes to teaching in both rural and urban secondary schools in the East of Zimbabwe.
It also focused on the effectiveness of teachers in the provision of quality educational
experiences and services in the six schools. The schools comprised five co-education
and a single gender school. The schools fell into the urban-rural, day-boarding and
faith-nonfaith categories. All had different characteristics and enrolled students from a
mix of socio-economic backgrounds. There were: three urban schools, one peri-urban
school and two rural schools (of which one was a boarding faith school).
3.2 Context under which the study was carried out
Zimbabwe had been faced with a deteriorating economy for at least ten years with
industry shrinking by 50% between the year 2000 and 2006 (Masunungure et al.,
2007:8). At the same time, economic sanctions by the European Union and the United
States of America’s enactment of the 2001 Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery
Act (ZIDERA) denied Zimbabwe access to loans from financial institutions
(Tungwarara, n.d.:110; Mapuranga, 2009; Coomer and Gstraunthaler, 2011). According
to Mapuranga (2009) the intended result was regime change:
The main thrust of ZIDERA is not to punish President Mugabe and his party, but
to push the people of Zimbabwe to their lowest so that they revolt and do away
with ZANU-PF. (Online newspaper article)
Tungwarara (nd.:111) also reported a similar view:
“…ZANU-PF asserts that sanctions are intended to turn Zimbabwean citizens
against the government in order to effect regime change…” p.111.
Unavailability of financial support and other factors led to the shrinkage and closures of
industry, which fuelled unemployment and an extreme hyperinflation that increased the
poverty
levels
among
Zimbabweans
(Masunungure
et
al.,
2007;8,12-13;
Makochekanwa, 2009:3). This grossly reduced government tax revenue followed by a
failure to meet government obligations, such as maintenance of infrastructure and
services. This forced people into seeking other means of survival including selling fuel
and foreign currency on the black market (Makochekanwa, nd.:15, 17), cross border
trading, crime, prostitution and corruption (Masunungure et al., 2007:3, 5).
56
The reduced government funding and a collapsing economy might have had adverse
repercussions on the overall organisation and operation of the Zimbabwean education
system that affected most of the secondary schools. This background prompted the
researcher to carry out this study. The aim was to understand and establish the scale and
impact this had mainly on teacher’s attitudes, delivery and the quality of secondary
school education. A research study was perceived as one way to help enlighten and
understand the teachers’ circumstances and the state of provision of secondary school
education. In turn, this could inform and identify issues that appeared to shape teacher
identities and the teaching practices in the six Zimbabwean secondary schools. This is
supported by Hammersley’s assertion (2002:38) that research shapes practice through
enlightenment. Subsequently, it may provide a deeper understanding and knowledge
that can be used by policymakers and practitioners to inform their decisions and
improvement of the secondary school education system. It was envisaged that the
appropriate and useful findings would be put to good use after the study.
3.3 Case study
The above scenario leaves more questions about what happened and how this affected
the teachers and the education system of Zimbabwe. However, the situation appeared to
be a nationwide phenomenon and not only isolated to one particular section/region of
the country or one group of professionals in Zimbabwe. Although this study poses
‘what’ questions, the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions provides a basis for choosing case
study as a research method (as identified by Yin (2009:2) because the situation or
period of this investigation uncovers a contemporary phenomenon situated within a
real-life context. According to Yin (2009:4), case study research is one way of
uncovering such complex real-life social phenomenon or events/phase and in this case
phenomenon in the education system of Zimbabwe. To maintain/achieve rigour
throughout the study, it was important to protect against any threats to the validity of the
research (as identified by Yin (2009:3), which includes a thorough literature review,
maintaining evidence and applying explicit procedures in the interpretation of data,
which required reading, identifying individual or multiple parts and interpretation/reinterpretation of the data to help me to understand the whole. However, limitations of
the case study research method reported by Yin (2009:6) arise when readers view case
study research to be appropriate only at the exploratory stage of an investigation. Yin
(2009:6), however, identified successful explanatory case studies. Similarly, this study
does fit in within the hierarchical research stages of exploratory, descriptive and
57
explanatory, which are used in social science research. To uncover and obtain an indepth description of some of the social phenomenon multiple sources of evidence were
used which, according to Yin (2009:2) provides the opportunity to make data
“…converge in a triangulating fashion.” In this study however the ‘what’ question
seemed to be predominant as I sought to understand what the teachers’ attitudes were
and their implications to the secondary school education system. This appears to leave
the study at the explanatory phase. According to Yin (2009:11), the case study is
suitable for investigating/examining contemporary events, which suits the situation in
Zimbabwe and only if “… the relevant behaviours cannot be manipulated.” The case
study offers an opportunity to directly observe the events and also conduct interviews
(Yin, 2009:11) and can involve a variety of evidence such as documents, artifacts,
interviews and observations. In my study, interviews and observations were used. How
and why questions most likely “…favour the use of the case studies…” (Yin, 2009:10).
Although this study could be explanatory in nature as it provides the what, and why and
then the ‘how’ on teachers’ attitudes make an impact in schools and their effect on the
education system of Zimbabwe, the study could potentially serve as a preliminary phase
that could provide valuable insights and explanations as a basis to further investigate
and find issues or solutions to the wider implications of the teachers’ attitudes to the
quality of the Zimbabwean secondary school education system. The reliability of the
study suggests that the procedures such as data collection can be repeatable to obtain
similar results, whereas external validity suggests that the findings can be generalised
(Yin, 2009:40). Use of interviews in a case study means there is a focus on case study
topics providing “perceived causal inferences and explanations”, but should rely on
well-articulated questions to avoid bias (Yin, 2009:102). Inaccuracies in data provided
could also be due to poor recall and instances of interviewee providing information they
believe the interviewer wants to hear. Although the classroom observations cover events
in real time, this can be time consuming. As a single observer during the observations, I
could be selective on the events, activities and interactions that I choose to include in
the observations owing to the difficulty of a broad coverage of the classroom. To avoid
limiting what I could observe I sat in a strategic position that gave me the full view of
the events or activities in the room. The use of more observers could reduce this
limitation to provide a broader coverage of interactions in the room. The use of digital
audio recording, to those consenting to this, helped me to recall events and activities
during the observations. Yin (2009:102) however, observed that the context of the case
could be captured during this observation period. The main limitation cited by Yin
58
(2009:102) is that events may proceed in a different way when participants are under
observation. Also, the outcomes could be biased towards the observer’s or researcher’s
manipulation of events.
3.4 Research title
The research title of this study is: Teachers’ attitudes to and the challenges of
establishing an effective and fully-fledged community of practice: the experiences of six
secondary schools in the East of Zimbabwe. A number of titles were also considered:
1. An understanding of the effectiveness of the Zimbabwean secondary school
education system’s teaching community of practice
2. The problems facing the teaching community of practice of the Zimbabwean
secondary school education system
3. Establishing attitudes and factors inhibiting achievement and sustenance of
effective (or quality) secondary school education in six schools in the East of
Zimbabwe.
4. Establishing the missing link to achieving an efficient and fully-fledged
Zimbabwean secondary school education teaching community of practice.
This included the original title: Achieving sustained recovery and a robust sustainability
of secondary schools in the education system of Zimbabwe. This was rejected because
at this stage an understanding of the education system was initially required to establish
the effectiveness of the secondary education system in the six schools and the aspect of
sustenance in this title could be a focal point in subsequent studies to follow and as such
making this a preliminary study.
3.4.1 The purpose of the study
The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the Zimbabwean secondary
school education system through the following questions:
1. What were the teachers’/school leaders’ and stakeholders’ attitudes to teaching
in both rural and urban secondary schools in the East of Zimbabwe?
2. How effective were teachers in the provision of quality educational experiences
in six secondary schools in the East of Zimbabwe?
59
As the title and aims of investigation suggest, the research study sought to obtain
insights into teachers’ and stakeholders’ attitudes that demonstrated presence or lack of
a teaching community of practice. This could be observed through commitment,
professionalism, accountability, quality and efficient provision of teaching experience
by the secondary school education system of Zimbabwe. Its future direction was
expected to emerge in the process.
3.4.2 Some more specific questions (were):
1. To what extent were teachers (including leaders) and stakeholders committed
and accountable to the efficient provision of quality secondary school education?
2. What were the factors affecting the effective and efficient organisation of the
secondary schools or education system?
3.5 Obtaining permission to carry out the study in Zimbabwe from gatekeepers
First, in June, 2012, permission was sought from the main gate keepers at the Ministry
of Education Sport and Culture in Zimbabwe. These were the Permanent Secretary’s
office, the regional education offices, the district education offices and the school
headteachers, respectively. Schools were purposively selected, but on the basis of the
type of school and location (see Table 3.1 below).
Table showing the types of schools in the study
Name of school
School A
School B
School C
School D
School E
School F
Classification of
school
Rural
boarding
Faith school
Peri-urban
day school
Government
Urban
School
Day
(Mission)
Faith
schools
Government
Day school
with ‘hot
seating’
Nongovernment
Peri-urbun
day
Number of
teachers
30-35
10-15
40-45
45-50
55-60
20-25
Number of
students
800-900
200-300
900-1000
1100-1200
1300-1400
500-600
Table 3.1 Types of schools in the study showing number of teachers and students on roll
Letters and the appropriate documentation (see Appendices A.1 to A.4) were presented
in person to the gatekeepers, (in June 2012). The gatekeepers were the people in
positions of authority who granted permission for the study to be conducted in their
area. Fortunately, all those approached granted their permission to conduct the study.
60
The documentation included an information sheet (Appendix A.5), questionnaire
(Appendix A.6)
and
interview
participant
consent
sheets
(Appendix A.7),
questionnaires (Appendices A.8.1 and A.9.1, which were revised from A.8 and A.9 used
in the pilot study) and the interview schedule (see Appendices A.10 and A.11).
3.6 Pilot Study
3.6.1 Relevance of the Pilot Study - Validity and reliability of research instruments
A pilot study was carried out in the UK. It was administered to former Zimbabwean
secondary school teachers and stakeholders who completed their (secondary school)
education in Zimbabwe. The majority of the participants were tracked down through
individuals who knew former Zimbabwean secondary school teachers and these in turn
knew other former secondary school teachers who taught in the urban and rural settings,
day or boarding and faith or non-faith schools. Most of the former teachers seemed to
be reflecting on their teaching practice or experience in the Zimbabwean secondary
school education system and appeared to be comparing their experiences in Zimbabwe
to what they perceived were the experiences of students in the UK. The purpose of the
pilot study was to check for the feasibility and at the same time the validity and
reliability of the research instruments used. Wilson and MacLean (2011:203) stated that
this also provides the researcher an opportunity to know the type of data to anticipate
and also to identity any problems that may arise in the data collection process. The
feedback and data collected confirmed that the content of the Likert type questionnaire
and interview schedule were relevant. Teachers’ and stakeholders’ concerns including
matters affecting teachers’ performance of their duties were highlighted. This also
revealed their attitudes towards the secondary school education system. From a face
validity point of view, the participants approved the layout of the questionnaire and
content with a few changes (see Appendices A.8, A.8.1, A.9 and A.91). Difficulties
were encountered in responding to statements requiring rank order. Most participants
did not recognise they had to rank the options presented to them. Feedback on these
statements/questions was used to improve their wording. The pilot study demonstrated
that both instruments had content and criterion validity. The content validity determines
whether the questionnaire or interview schedule covered the attitudes of the teachers
with regard to resources, quality of the education system, leadership, monitoring and
accountability and commitment. By consistently expressing relevant and accurate
perceptions and information on their positions on issues raised in the questions and
statements, the reliability of the instrument was demonstrated. The validity of this study
61
was high based on the sample size which, on average, exceeded 70% of participants at
each of the six schools. The validity of the study was also evident because of the nature
of the topic that covered a broad range of issues affecting the teachers and the quality of
education. To ensure content/sampling validity, a broad range of areas/issues were
covered in the questionnaire and interview questions. Apart from the wide range of
concepts, the study also included participants from a wide range of subject expertise and
hierarchy in the school structure. This provided responses/information on different
perceptions and expectations from the groups of people at various levels in their
teaching career.
3.7 Limitations of study
The use of UK based former teachers who had been outside Zimbabwe for a long time
may not provide accurate insights to what could be happening in the country at that
time. Also, the small number of schools involved in the study meant the findings would
not be generalised or transferable. The inequalities among the schools because of the
difference in the schools’ capacities and provision of education also meant the study
compared unlike schools, but that appeared to mirror the realities of many schools
across the country.
However, the responses from the former teachers who took part in the study were
similar to the responses of the practicing teachers who participated in the study showing
similarities in the issues affecting teachers prior and after 2011. The former teachers all
seemed to have left Zimbabwe and arrived in the UK at about the same time around the
year 2000. The similarities in responses to various issues demonstrated the validity of
the study. One example is when teachers appeared to be overrating themselves on pass
rate or sense of achievement. Other examples included an inability to provide
appropriate remedies to the teachers who were deemed underperformers and yet this had
an impact on the provision of quality education.
3.8 Requirements, researcher obligations and the British Education Research
Association (BERA) guidelines
3.8.1 Ethics and voluntary consent in social research
Throughout the study, the necessary steps were taken to gain access to the relevant
gatekeepers to obtain permission to conduct the research. The study was approved and
received ethical clearance, which was an indication that it satisfied the university or
62
school research and ethics panel (SREP) requirements. This included obtaining
permission to use audio recording mainly for interviews and also during classroom
observation to reduce the prospects of entirely losing and forgetting classroom activities
and events. All teachers in the study consented to audio recording of interviews. Most
teachers in this study also consented to the use of the audio recorder during the
classroom observations, which made it easier to record, capture and recall events and
classroom activities. Ethics in social science research is vital because the researcher has
the obligation to conceal the identities and materials or information participants choose
to provide to the researcher. The researcher must be aware of the potential harmful
effects that may be encountered during the research and afterwards (ESRC, 2012:27,
28); Hammersley and Traianou, A. (2012); UNESCO, n.d.). For instance, revealing the
identity of a participant who says something unfavourable to the school could be
detrimental to the informant who provided/revealed such information. Consequently,
that respondent/participant could receive punitive actions with negative repercussions to
their career or stay at that school. Because of that, it was vital for me to safeguard and
respect the anonymity of the respondents and uphold confidentiality of the information
supplied by the participants. As the researcher and in accordance to the Data Protection
Act of 1998 (BERA, 2011:7), I had the responsibility to safeguard the participants’
privacy and respondents’ rights to confidentiality and anonymity during and after the
study. This also meant I had to ensure that no names were written on the questionnaire
response sheets and all the collected data, including the audio interview recordings, was
stored on a password secure laptop and data storage device. I was aware that any
information that may reveal participants’ identities or names and locations remains the
researchers’ responsibility during and after the research. This means that participants are
assured that appropriate measures to securely store the collected data were in place. All
gatekeepers received the necessary information prior to the data collection process.
Consent forms and information sheets outlining the purpose of the study and the rights
of the participants were prepared and used. Participants’ rights included their rights to
pull out of the research study or refuse some data collection methods as recommended
in the BERA (2011) document (BERA, 2011:6; UNESCO, n.d.). These were issued on
the day of data collection and were signed (see Appendices A.6 and A.7; signed one,
A6.1 and A.7.1) and retained by both the researcher and participants. All participants
fully consented and voluntarily took part in this study as recommended in the BERA
document (2011:5); (Hammersley and Traianou, 2012). However, according to BERA
(2011:8) and ESRC (2012:25), the researcher has the responsibility to disclose to the
63
authorities any information or illegal behaviour that may manifest during the research
study. By observing these guidelines, the researcher upholds the standards of
educational research.
3.9 Contacts at schools
At each school I was assigned a contact person who facilitated and made the necessary
arrangements to carry out the study. Headmasters at Schools D, E and F were the main
contacts and at Schools A, B and C a deputy headmaster and senior teachers were
elected as contacts, respectively. Contact was mainly by mobile phone and text
messages to contacts at Schools A, B, C, E, and F, and by e-mail to the contact at
School D. Communication was usually unidirectional. Apart from the e-mail contact,
the rest never replied to the text messages. This could be attributed to the expensive
telecommunication charges involved.
3.10 Data collection
Three methods of data collection were used in this study. These included Likert attitude
scales, semi-structured interviews and classroom observations, in that order.
3.10.1 The Likert scale
A Likert type questionnaire (see Appendix A.8.1 and A.9.1) was used to collect data on
attitudes of participants. The attitude scale uses questions/statements intended to
produce a score that indicates the intensity and direction (for or against) of a person’s
feelings to a given statement/question (Sommer and Sommer, 2002:162; Bell,
2005:218). The categories usually used include strongly agree, agree, undecided,
disagree and strongly disagree. To avoid bias when using these scales, balanced scales
are recommended. This forces the respondents away from the neutral response.
Flaskerud (2012:131) suggested the need to be cautious when using Likert-type scale on
respondents of non-Western origin. This was because of problems faced with immigrant
participants in the Americas who found it hard to understand the questionnaire
(Flaskerud, 2012:130). To guard against bias of the instrument, an evaluation of the
clarity of the instrument can be done using cognitive interviews. This also eliminates or
reduces a tendency of respondents to provide socially desirable responses, but provides
data that is likely to reflect “the actual circumstances being examined” (Garcia,
2011:445). It was also appropriate to guard against acquiescence and also extreme
response style, in which the respondents tend to select the extreme categories of
64
responses in Likert-type scales (Naemi et al., 2009:261; Roster et al., 2006:743).
Extreme response style has been reported to have an effect on the interpretation and the
accurate assessment of the differences or similarities in attitudes especially of data
collected from people of diverse cultural backgrounds (Roster et al., 2006:754).
Political alignments may also have the same effect. The majority of teachers in
Zimbabwe come from black indigenous people, but exhibit social and cultural
differences by region or on tribal grounds. Similar findings by Harzing et al., (2012:356,
360) and Shulruf et al., (2008:69-70) also highlighted cultural differences as a
contributing factor in response styles. This diversity, however, appeared not to affect the
reliability of the study in the six schools because of the commonalities in issues
affecting teachers and the quality of education. The pilot study confirmed that Likert
scales can be used to obtain significant amount of information in a short time. Data
obtained was also relatively easy to analyse.
3.10.1.1 The validity of the questionnaire
Increasing the gradation of the Likert scale with a midpoint may reduce the mid-point
response rate. Harzing et al. (2012:344) also suggested that finer gradations of the scales
increases the chances of obtaining responses that reflect the participants’ opinions,
which avoid extreme responses. This increases the reliability of the scale as respondents
select negative or positive responses close to the midpoint (Weijters et al., 2010:239).
There is also the need to guard against bias in which participants tend to agree with a set
of positively worded statements (Hodge and Gillespie, 2007:3-4). Statement reversals
that contain the use of ‘not’ were recommended. Respondents needed to read
instructions carefully to avoid provision of misleading results as there is a danger of
wrongly assigning numbers on the scale based on the degree to which they agree or
disagree with a statement. Most of the participants in both the pilot study and actual
data collection process associated 1 (one) with strongly agree and 5 (five) with strongly
disagree, which was the other way round in this study. In this sense 1 (one) was
associated with excellence or positive things. The participants acknowledged that point
and acknowledged that it forced them to read the statements more carefully. Preston and
Colman (2000:13) observed that if time constraints play a major role, the five-point or
three-point rating scales were more appropriate. These reduce the chances of frustrating
and demotivating the respondents and are quick and easy to complete. On this basis, a
five-point rating scale was selected and also it offered more options over the three-point
scale.
65
3.10.2 Data collection procedure/process
Arrangements were made to administer 25 questionnaires at schools with at least 35
teachers and for every teacher at schools with less than 25 teachers. Questionnaires were
distributed to teachers across the subject areas. Interviews were conducted with at least
3 teaching staff, which was to comprise school leaders, heads of department, senior
teachers and some ordinary teachers. Eventually, the study relied on available
participants. This purposive/convenience sampling method suited the prevailing
circumstances and the time constraints involved. The snowball effect, although prone to
bias, proved helpful in recruitment of participants on the data collection day. This could
imply that those involved were interested in the topic or simply curious. I was aware
that survey response rates of 70-80% have the credibility of producing meaningful
inferences from collected data (see Table 3.2 for rates of response).
School
Number of
respondents
17 of 25
x100%
A
Number of
teachers
35
17/25
% Rates of
response
68.0%
Number of
Interviewees
4
B
12
11 of 12
11/12
91.7%
3
C
45
18 of 25
18/25
72.0%
6
D
48
20 of 25
20/25
80.0%
6
E
57
14 of 25
14/25
56.0%
4
F
24
17 of 24
17/24
70.8%
4
Totals/average
221
97 of 136
97/136
71.3%
27
Table 3.2 Questionnaire rates of response at the six schools
Bruce and Chambers (2002:1049) also stated that 50% response rate can also be
credible and be published. In this study, the average rate of response was about 71%,
which fell within the credible range expected to produce meaningful results. There were
concerns of failing to achieve such response rates because teachers were busy marking
the end of term examinations, recording and reports writing. However, more response
rates could be possible if the issues covered affected the teachers and on one document.
Connon (2008:115) appeared to suggest that shorter questionnaires had prospects of
improving response rates. Time is however viewed as an important factor in completion
of questionnaires and Likert type questionnaires were identified to be less time
consuming in an article by Carr (2003:171-172), hence, their use in this study.
66
Questionnaires were collected as soon as the participants completed them for a quick
initial analysis to gauge the responses and what to expect or focus on during
interviewing. Participants were encouraged to seek clarification on questionnaires and
during interviewing to avoid misinterpretation of the research instruments and hence the
interruptions during interviewing. Bloch (2006:69-70) noted the importance of using
other data collection methods suitable to participants with a low level command of the
English language. In this study the use of the vernacular language was common
whenever it was necessary to clarify some points. Bloch (2006:70) also advocated the
use of web-based questionnaires that provides a wider geographical spread, which does
not require the researcher’s presence. This was not feasible because of the limited and
unavailability of internet facilities in Zimbabwe.
3.10.3 Semi-structured interviews
Semi-structured interviews (see interview schedule Appendix A.10 and A.11) were also
used to obtain qualitative data. Interviews provided an opportunity to gain in-depth
insights into human experiences, opinions, feelings and emotions (Denscombe,
2010:173). A digital audio recorder was used to collect interview data. The collected
data was saved on a password secured laptop and storage device. Names of the
interviewees were not mentioned in the interviews for anonymity and confidentiality
reasons. At least three interviewees were required per school to access the three main
levels or sub-groups of participants comprising those in the school leadership team
including heads of department and senior teachers, experienced classroom teachers and
the less experienced ones in including student teachers, and in different subject areas. In
total, 27 interviewees contributed to the data, which lies within the general guidelines of
between 20 and 50 participants stated by Wilmot (n.d.:4). This avoided collection of
data from only one sub-group and guarded against obtaining data biased towards that
particular group. For example, data from the school leadership could be presented in a
way that portrayed the school in good light. This ensured that the different subgroups in
the school structure provided breadth (Wilmot, n.d.:3) and also ‘depth’ of the data
collected as the school leadership team members, for instance, have a deeper insight
into the activities of the school and how the school runs including the school’s
performance, expectations and school targets. On the other hand, the student and junior
teachers would be included to see how involved they were in school matters and the
support mechanisms available to them to meet their needs. Involvement of a
heterogeneous sample, which included all the sub-groups, also, ensured that data
67
saturation could be reached at each level in the different sub-groups or hierarchy of
participants at each school. The sub-groups tend to have some commonalities in their
experiences, for instance heads of department have to plan for their departments’
resources and may all face difficulties in funding. This would provide attitudes and
perspectives from a range of teachers who had different experiences in provision of
resources or popularity of subjects and availability of experienced teachers in the
different subject areas. Some subjects such as science and mathematics were
experiencing teacher shortages because of the ‘brain drain’ attributed to their demand in
neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana. Data was also collected
from stakeholders of diverse standing in the community with various socio-economic
backgrounds to obtain perspectives from a wider range of members of the community
and establish if the stakeholders’ views matched those of the teachers or understood the
education system in the same light as the teachers. A few of the participants got
involved because of snowballing, which can also build bias into the study because those
participants inviting/recommending them may have the same attitudes or behaviours
and may influence each other (Wilmot, n.d.:6). This appeared not to be the case as most
participants put their views across based on their own experiences.
3.10.4 Observations
Observations were carried out at four schools (Schools A, B, C and F). At least five
lessons were observed at each school. It was however not possible to observe all the
teachers who took part in the interviews. Some teachers had left and others were busy
organising national examination and other school related activities. These included
invigilation, collection of examination question papers or submission of examination
answer sheets to the respective examination offices. Observations were necessary to
confirm or dispute the claims or findings from the questionnaires and the interviews.
According to Malderez (2003:179), this provided an opportunity to understand the
impact of the teaching processes and related activities to students’ learning.
Observations entailed capturing first-hand what actually goes on in and outside the
school classrooms including any issues, spoken or unspoken, that may come to light.
This could potentially reveal the teacher identities or school culture(s) in the form of
teaching and learning practices/processes, and behaviours. Associated with this were the
student-teacher or teacher-teacher relationships and interactions. Initially an observation
schedule was thought to be a good way to document these interactions, real time, during
classroom observations. The idea of writing down or filling in the observation schedule
68
during classroom observation was however discarded on the basis of its potential to
distract (Kawulich, 2005), or discourage the participants to act like themselves and in a
way interfere with the data collection process. Instead, observations guided by key
words from the observation schedule and comparisons were quickly written down
immediately at every opportunity after or between the observation sessions. The main
observation schedule included checking on teacher preparedness, method(s) of teaching,
interactions and engagement, relationships, sitting arrangements, interruptions and use
of resources and impact of class sizes. This made it easy to make comparisons between
teachers and their approaches to teaching and learning. The main problem associated
with the use of this method alone is failure to recall sequences of events and what
actually happened. This could be exacerbated when lesson observations were back to
back. Very sketchy key points were noted during that transition between lessons (see
Appendix C 18). The bulk of the recordings were carried out after the observations.
Break and lunch times provided an opportunity to observe out of classroom interactions.
Ideally, problems with accuracy and recall could be avoided by using real time
recordings of interactions in an observation schedule. The participating teachers who
consented to audio recordings of their lessons made it easy for me to accurately follow
classroom proceedings to a high extent. This resolved issues with recall, but some of the
non-verbal communication was not easy to recall, which could have a slight effect on
the validity of the lesson observations.
3.11 Qualitative research
The majority of the data collected during this study was qualitative through the semistructured interviews and lesson observations. Qualitative research elicits rich data as
noted by Wilson and MacLean (2011:199) and Willig (2008:8). It entails finding out
about insights, understanding of participants’ feelings and perceptions through the use
of interviews (Roulston, 2010:16). According to Basit (2010:199) it is important to
avoid pre-established interpretations of data. The study focused on what people
experienced in their working environments as teachers or other stakeholders. The data
should comprise of interpretation of experiences and the meaning that is attached to it
(Wilson, and MacLean, 2011:188). This would bring to light some of the different
aspects of a particular phenomenon (Wilson, and MacLean, 2011:188), whereas
quantitative research relies on use of relationships between variables (Wilson, and
MacLean, 2011:188). Data obtained from qualitative research is however criticised for
its subjective nature. Rather than a weakness, some view this as a further source of
69
information with an element of reflexivity (Wilson, and MacLean, 2011:191). This
reflection process also helps to provide an account of the researcher’s role and impact in
the study (Wilson, and MacLean, 2011:191). However, some of the richness of the data
could be lost or reduced as it may not be possible to retain or convey all the features of
the original interaction and the meanings it may communicate. Qualitative studies are
mainly criticised for their failure to provide generalisation to a larger population
(Cooper and Schindler, 2011:160).
3.12 Validity, reliability and triangulation
Validity determines if the research instrument measures what it was intended to measure
(Golafshani, 2003:599). The term validity is more associated with quantitative research
methods and its strength is in its ability to generalise findings to wider populations.
However qualitative researchers refer to quality, rigor, credibility or trustworthiness of
the research (Golafshani, 2003:602, 604). This points to a high quality qualitative
research. My research however used both quantitative and qualitative methods and both
terms would be used accordingly. In this study a number of instruments were used
which can be used to triangulate and check for validity (Creswell and Miller, 2000:126127), where triangulation relies on convergence among multiple and different sources of
data and in my case a questionnaire, semi-structured interviews and classroom
observations were used and all brought out common themes. Reliability provides the
same result which indicates repeatability or consistency of a measurement (Trochim,
2006). In this study the questionnaires and interviews revealed consistency in the
participants’ responses. The classroom observations also showed a consistency in terms
of teaching styles by those teachers who relied on the teacher-centred or student-centred
approaches. Qualitative researchers were more inclined to use dependability or
trustworthiness of the research instead of reliability, which is more suited to the
quantitative research methods (Golafshani, 2003:601). But, since I used the Likert scale
and other data gathering approaches in this study, the idea of using reliability remains
relevant. By using different data collection methods helped with validating findings. For
instances, the responses from questionnaires, semi-structured interviews on aspects of
secondary school education were further checked for their authenticity during lesson
observations through the effectiveness of teaching and engagement of students with
their teacher and the topic being studied. Data triangulation from the multiple sources of
data about a phenomenon such as the quality of teachers/education was gauged across
the six schools, for example, to check if teacher contributions actually portrayed quality,
70
professionalism or a compromised education system. Similar findings would provide
corroboration, however, absence of similar findings does not necessarily constitute a
refutation of the findings (Barbour, 2001:1117). Another approach to check for
reliability was to use methodological triangulation. In this case I used multiple forms of
data such as questionnaires, individual interviews and observations (Roulston, 2010:84).
3.13 Transferability and generalisation of findings
Zimbabwe’s prevailing economic situation at the time of establishing contact with
participants and data collection in this research study (2011-2013), and its impact on the
secondary and the school education system as a whole bore some differences to other
countries. In this case transferability or generalisation may be difficult to apply in the
various low income developing countries in Africa and around the world. Even some
areas within Zimbabwe have their own unique circumstances and hence the need for me
to use a sample that represented a wide range of school types at different settings with
different experiences owing to various aspects to funding, location and a sense of
academic achievement. There were however, some economic, political and education
organisational structures that low income or developing countries have in common at
various levels with similar settings and experiences to which findings from this study
could be transferable and applicable. The aspect of low income or poverty synonymous
with the majority of the Sub-Saharan African countries could provide such an
opportunity and tailor the intervention, with modifications or adaptions, to that part of
the setting. The contextual situatedness of the schools, teachers and pupils and their
unique circumstances or their particular environment should be seriously considered as
it helps to shape perspectives. At large, the suffering of teachers portrayed in the
literature review appeared to express unpleasant teachers’ lived experiences and a
corresponding effect on the education system. This led to the consideration of
phenomenology to provide a description of the teachers’ experience in such a working
environment.
3.14 Phenomenology
The study tended to respect the phenomenological perspective tradition as it closely
sought to elicit data by investigating teachers’ lived experiences. This may also be used
in the development of practices or policies based on the understanding of the
phenomenon, which may include aspects of teacher professionalism (Creswell,
2007:60). The focus was to understand and extract the essence of these lived
71
experiences (Creswell, 2007:58), in which the human being is a situated individual in
the lifeworld in question (Van Manen, 1990:18-19). From these, any common issues or
their contexts would be revealed. These assist in formulating meanings and
interpretations of the phenomena emanating from the attitudes revealed by the
participants. Wojnar and Swanson (2007:174-with reference to phenomenology) stated
that the researcher has to establish commonalities expressed by the different participants
to understand and interpret the contextual aspects experienced at a setting. Detailed and
in-depth data was obtained from open-ended questions which enabled participants to
answer “in their own words” (Roulston, 2010:16). Approaching this study without any
presuppositions or preconceptions and disregarding context was going to be hard to
achieve because comparisons of the events and circumstances surrounding the education
system were required to remind the researcher of the context under which events took
place and the subsequent consequences, without impacting on the reliability and validity
of the study. Context is a central part of hermeneutic phenomenology whereas it is
viewed to be of peripheral importance in descriptive phenomenology (Wojnar and
Swanson, 2007:174-175, 179; McConnell-Henry et al., 2009:8) and for this reason
descriptive phenomenology was rejected in favour of the (interpretive) hermeneutic
phenomenology. Descriptive phenomenology makes use of bracketing, which strives to
separate presuppositions and whatever was known about the phenomenon from the
actual findings (Shosha, n.d.:32). This process of bracketing was regarded as an
impossibility by many phenomenologists (Allen-Collison, 2009:286; McConnell-Henry
et al., 2009:10; Kafle, 2011:186-187). In interpretive phenomenology it is believed that
it is impossible for the researcher to be entirely neutral in their interpretations of data
(Laverty, 2003:9, 11, 14; Balls, 2009; Wojnar and Swanson, 2007:174; Kafle,
2011:186). Some argued that description itself was an interpretative process (Rapport
and Wainwright, 2006:229, Kafle, 2011:187). There was more emphasis on the essences
in descriptive phenomenology than in interpretive or hermeneutic phenomenology
stance/concept (Sloan and Bowe, 2014:1295). Heidegger (was reported to have) placed
emphasis on context, (that is, cultural, social and historical) at the heart of hermeneutic
phenomenology’s ability to understand individuals’ lived experience (Wojnar and
Swanson, 2007:174). The semi-structured interviews best helped participants to elicit
and express their positions, but the lesson observations were very important in
reminding the researcher of the nature and style of teaching and its effects to students’
engagement levels and preparedness to life after school. The teacher-centred methods of
teaching encountered during lesson observations made students passive with very little
72
interaction between teacher and students. Besides its strength in using presuppositions
of the researcher, interpretive (hermeneutic) phenomenology was also recommended to
clarify phenomena in education (Van Manen, 1990:4; Henriksson and Friesen, 2012:1,
4; Creswell, 2007:58; Sloan and Bowe, 2014:1297). The Heideggerian phenomenology
focused on the relationship between an individual and their lived world (Shosha,
n.d.:32). It should be made “clear how interpretations and meanings have been placed
on findings” and avoid the idea of the detached researcher (Lester, 1999:1). The
researcher claimed some understanding of the Zimbabwean education structure and
some attitudes and behaviours of the teachers. These experiences and the perceived
understanding of attitudes and behaviours may not be entirely credible or valid now, as
situations have since changed, but provides some guidance to work from. The
researcher did not have any preconceived outcomes. But, the literature review on the
Zimbabwean secondary school education revealed some direction this study could take.
In particular, the various attitudes and behaviours of teachers that had an effect on their
conduct and the quality of secondary school education. The pilot study administered to
former Zimbabwean secondary school teachers also provided some insight into events
and attitudes that prevailed during their time. Issues on remuneration, resources, and
extra lessons all had their role on teacher attitudes, conduct and the quality of education.
An understanding of such issues was expected to emerge at various stages of the study.
3.14.1 Conducting and interpreting phenomenological research
There appears to be mixed sentiments on how to conduct and interpret
phenomenological research. Some researchers suggest step-wise procedures to follow
when conducting and interpreting hermeneutic phenomenological research (Cresswell,
2007:60; Wojnar and Swanson, 2007:176-177). There was also a notion that the
interpretive element/characteristic in phenomenological descriptions required a
discovery-orientated approach (Van Manen, 1990:29; Van Derzalm and Bergum, 2000).
This soughts to establish the meaning of certain phenomenon and how it was
experienced (Van Manen, 1990:29).
There was however a general agreement that after identifying/isolating phenomenal
themes there was a rewriting of the theme and at the same time interpreting the meaning
of the lived experience (Sloan and Bowe, 2014) (see Appendix B.1-showing highlighted
text and re-writing of the responses and the initial analysis and thoughts of the
researcher. To understand the data, the researcher initially read through responses from
73
participants at each school to have an insight of their views and identify any
commonalities or patterns. The next stage was to put data from the same question and
check for trends from responses from all participants to get a full picture of patterns or
trends and identify emerging themes. This was followed by some interpretation and
followed by starting the whole cycle again to try to identify deeper meaning. This
explains the hermeneutic circle as shown in Figure 3.1, which, according to Heidegger
entails “moving back-and-forth between the whole and its parts and between the
investigator’s fore-structure of understanding what was learned through the
investigation” (Wojnar and Swanson, 2007:175). This was also viewed as a spiral going
deeper into the meanings (Motahari, 2008:106). The constant engagement with the
themes leads to an understanding of the meaning of experience through constant
interpretation and re-interpretation of the data and its meaning (Wojnar and Swanson,
2007:175, 177). Hermeneutic phenomenology, however, rejects “any research
conclusions that are fixed once and for all” (Henriksson and Friesen, 2012:1). The
interpretations could reveal a historical and cultural context that is understood by the
participant and researcher (Henriksson and Friesen, 2012:1).
Figure: 3.1 The Hermeneutic Circle (Kafle, 2011:195)
Search operators (phrase; Boolean; brackets; truncations)
Field search (year; subject; document type)
Data base dependency
74
Citation pearl grow
Successive fractions
Building blocks
Citations
Relevance
Date
Title
Abstracts
Keywords
KWIC
Central terms
Main authors
Core journals
Increased understanding
Note keeping
Referencing
Availability
Inter Library Loan (ILL)
Language
Figure 3.2: The hermeneutic circle of reviewing literature and techniques
associated with different stages of the hermeneutic circle (Boell and
Cecez-Kecmanovic, 2010:134).
Boell and Cecez-Kecmanovic (2010:134) also used the concept of hermeneutic cycle
(see Figure 3.2) in the literature review which provided further steps in the process of
refining literature searches. I applied this process during my initial and ongoing
literature review, which gave me access to important literature. The stages used by
Boell and Cecez-Kecmanovic (2010:134) were however more relevant to literature
review searches and were critical of the limitations of systematic reviews, which they
claimed limited literature searches to particular journals or databases and in most cases
also limited to the key words provided and acceptable in the search. In this study it was
significant to have a good understanding of the literature review from the outset, which
was also used to understand the responses from the participants in this study. According
to Boell and Cecez-Kecmanovic (2010:130), viewing literature as a hermeneutic
process enables researchers or literature reviewers to constantly seek a deeper
understanding of the relevant literature or publications by a constant re-interpretation of
the literature. I found this process useful during literature review and also linked this to
the analysis of the data. Acquiring of data can be made redundant in the sense of Boell
and Cecez-Kecmanovic’s model because the data has already been collected, but
acquisition could also be used in the sense of getting a sense of meaning of the data
75
through reading followed by reflective writing as I identify the different themes in the
data. In this sense, the acquiring and identifying stages can be combined and so can the
selecting and sorting stages. This appears to condense Boell and Cecez-Kecmanovic’s
model into a simpler model that reflects Kafle’s stages above and hence, the use of
Kafle’s model in this study. However, Boell and Cecez-Kecmanovic (2010:130) seemed
to agree with Henriksson. and Friesen (2012:1) on the point that there is no final
understanding of the relevant literature and in this case data collected during the study,
but the constant interpretation and re-interpretation, which leads to a ‘deeper and more
comprehensive understanding’ of either the publications or the data collected during the
study. The interpretation and re-interpretation should however come to an end. The use
of the hermeneutic circle to help understand the literature also, provided a moment to
reflect on my experience as a student in Zimbabwe and that of other students in general.
During classroom observation in this study, literature by Mitchell (1995:94) provided an
example that enlightened and made me to become more aware of inefficiencies of
teacher-centred learning, which promoted learner dependence to their teachers instead
of students being empowered to be self-sufficient and independent learners. The
teacher-centred approach however still remains an important approach and a mix of
both approaches with a bias towards the student-centred approach could enable students
to gain and/or take charge of their own learning. This could help foster a better
understanding of the concepts from the students’ own perspectives, but with the
guidance from their teachers. By focusing on a part in the interpretation also enabled me
to see how it connects to the whole data and analysis, which hinges on the quality of the
education system and how the teachers play a major role to achieve this quality and the
appropriate student products expected out of this system. As part of the whole, the
setting up of School Development Associations or Committees (SDA/C) were found to
be significant to work closely with teachers and school leadership within Zimbabwean
secondary schools as they depicted a relationship that provided checks and balances
through constant monitoring by parents and enforcing accountability by their sheer
presence and/or contact with schools.
The fundamental question on the type of qualities to be “cultivated” into the students
may remain in the Zimbabwean context for as long as there is limited or a lack in
existence of a working, diverse economy and a supportive industry that props up the
education system and that provides students’ hope of employment. Absence of a viable
economy appeared to make a huge difference to the way students perceived and
76
took/received secondary school education. To promote/foster independent and active
learning among students teachers must make an effort to move away from the teacher
dependence culture.
By reading and seeking to understand parts of the literature, more literature searches
provided further reading of literature or text that is used to understand the whole (Boell
and Kecmanovic, 2010:133). By applying the same procedure in the interpretation of
data I had to read the individual and multiple parts of the data to build up to an
understanding of the whole. This movement from parts to the whole provides an
understanding and change of meaning of both the whole and its parts as the constant reinterpretation of the literature leads to an intended deeper and more comprehensive
understanding of the relevant publication. I found it useful to read the literature and
relate it to the study as demonstrated above. As such, the hermeneutic circle provides
the researcher with opportunities to have a reflective analysis and interpretation of the
data by linking the different parts to the whole, with each providing its own (situated)
meaning. This implies meanings from the data interpretation may never be exhausted
(Whitehead, 2004:513). The analysis process should, however, come to an end
(Whitehead, 2004:513). However, changes in interpretation have been acknowledged if
further analysis was to be carried out. This implies meanings from the data
interpretation may never be exhausted and whatever (the best) a researcher settles for,
remains as an approximation to/of the meaning (Whitehead, 2004:513). This seems to
concur with McConnell-Henry et al., (2011) on decisions when to stop and when
refuting the need for participant feedback.
3.15 Limitations and benefits of Hermeneutic phenomenological research in this
study
Phenomenological epistemology focuses on meaning instead of “arguing a point or
developing abstract theory” (Van Derzalm and Bergum, 2000:212). It may not prescribe
action (in clinical practice), but it influences and provides a platform for a reflective and
attentive community of practice to benefit from its revelations of the meanings of
human experience (Van Derzalm and Bergum, 2000:214). Phenomenological
knowledge lacks predictive abilities, but has anticipatory or sensitising abilities that
may become helpful if a similar situation confronts that person (Van Derzalm and
Bergum, 2000:214) or that practice. It also differs from the other phenomenological and
qualitative research approaches as it allows “literary and poetic qualities of language,
77
and encourage aesthetically sensitised writings as both a process and product of
research” (Henriksson and Friesen, 2012:1).
The use of hermeneutic phenomenology brought to light experiences of teachers that
allowed me to identify the essences of the phenomena of being a teacher and teaching in
a climate of economic hardships. These may be expressed directly or indirectly by the
teachers’ attitudes (in the questionnaire/interview), conduct and/or actions or what they
actually do during classroom observations. This allowed me to interpret these
phenomena to provide an understanding of their situation (or condition of schools) and
the implications in terms of the provision of secondary school education, experiences or
service in those schools by such teachers. For instance, one senior teacher avoided
issuing maths textbooks that were provided through the Education Transition Fund
(ETF) to his students because he feared the consequences of a situation where a student
loses a textbook. There were to be regular audits of these textbooks and the
teacher/school had the responsibility to maintain and replace any lost textbooks. Given
the poor welfare of teachers, such a scenario left a teacher at cross-roads. As much as
the senior teacher wanted to make the students take responsibility of their own learning
he could not risk the prospect of using his own money to replace textbooks.
3.16 Analysis process
The use of structured step-by-step analysis may involve reading each transcript as a
case. Such steps could include: (a) the participants’ various experiences (or themes)
noting any similarities or deep contrast. It was permissible to use the experience
common to both the researcher and participant to establish what was most common,
familiar and self-evident to the researcher (Sloan and Bowe, 2014:1298). As a novice
researcher I thought it was necessary to follow step-wise procedures in data analysis. I
identified sections that reflected experience in the data and selectively highlighted some
words, phrases and some statements followed by rewriting with tentative descriptions
and analysis of the text (see Appendix B.1-using the hermeneutic circle). Annotations
were also presented in the margins of the interview transcripts as shown in Appendix C.
Maps of emerging themes from interviews (from actual study) were as presented in
Maps 1 to 4. The researcher needs to skilfully identify phenomenological themes, which
express lived experience, which included a sense of achievement, detachment and
compromised professionalism. This was followed by (b) re-reading and identifying
repetitious themes and (c) identifying exemplary quotes to illustrate themes. It has been
78
suggested that there is the need for participant feedback to clarify interpretations of the
data and ensuring the interpretations represent participants’ lived experiences (Kafle,
2011:196). A return to the text allows a re-examination of the data and provides
opportunities for further analysis. Giorgi (2006:359, 2008:6) seemed to be claiming
more credibility of this member checking process if all the participants gave feedback.
Advocates of member checking/participant feedback viewed this as the ‘gold standard’
to check for accuracy and credibility in qualitative research (Balls, 2009:33; BradburyJones et al., 2010:30). However, data interpretation may differ each time texts are
revisited. This was what Whitehead (2004:513) referred to as “bringing their
[participants’] own horizons to the work” as they may not share the researcher’s
interpretation. This may differ from each participant and also dependent on the time,
disposition (and space) of the researcher. This could also make it difficult to ascertain
what constitutes the whole/real story and may govern the number of interviews required
before that is reached. The quality of data could however be dependent on interview
skills and not the number of participants or interviews involved.
3.16.1 Reflexivity (in hermeneutic phenomenological research)
Reflexivity may allow the researcher’s “own background, prior knowledge and
experience of the research subject to influence the processes of data gathering and
analysis of a research project of a hermeneutic phenomenology type” (Creswell,
2007:62). Reflexivity, which is the “person’s reflection upon or examination of [a]
situation or experience” was perceived helpful in interpretation of the meanings of data
isolated in the data (Sloan and Bowe, 2014:1297). This alludes to the researchers’
awareness of the impact their questions, methods and position on the subject may have
on the data. In this study the researcher was aware of the influence of politics and
predominantly, the economic issues affecting teachers. There were presuppositions of
issues on curricula, poor teacher attendance behaviours, especially, in rural schools.
These were not included in the questionnaire, but left it to the participants to reveal
during the study. Since phenomenological reflection is retrospective (Sloan and Bowe,
2014:1297), such reflections may be biased as they may be true during the referred time,
but not necessarily so at the time of the study. Things could have changed since then.
However, this reflexivity may only be used if there were benefits of using it as it may or
may not inform interpretation (Sloan and Bowe, 2014:1297).
79
3.17 Summary
BERA guidelines on voluntary consent, anonymity, confidentiality and the right to
withdraw from study should be observed. Gatekeepers were approached and appropriate
arrangements taken to obtain permission to carry out study in the selected secondary
schools. Prior to the data collection process consent forms were signed and both
researcher and respondent keeping one each. The reliability and validity of research
instruments was vital to the success of the study. These research instruments should be
ready and informed by the feedback from the pilot study. The Likert scale, semistructured interviews and classroom observations were selected as the research
instruments. The Likert scales were selected on the strength of the ease to administer
and their ability to obtain attitudes, which was the aim of the study. Semi-structured
interviews were selected on their strength to elicit data with the opportunity to probe
respondents to clarify points that they raised in the process. A digital recorder was used
to collect interview data. All data was stored securely. The names of the schools and
teachers have been anonymised, whilst contributions by the respondents would remain
confidential.
80
Chapter 4 Analysis and discussion
4.1 Introduction
Responses to questionnaires and semi-structured interviews provided evidence of varied
attitudes on secondary schools from teachers at the six schools and the stakeholders who
participated in this study. Observations revealed an insight into teaching and associated
interactions at four of the schools. In this study all the school heads and deputy heads
were male and were referred to as deputy/headmasters apart from one female deputy
headmistress. Female heads would be referred to as headmistresses. Although the
sample of schools is small, secondary schools in Zimbabwe are predominantly led by
male heads and because of that the terms headmaster and headteacher have been used
interchangeably in this study.
Analysis and discussion of both participating teachers’ and stakeholders’ responses to
questionnaires were presented under the predominant common themes that reflected a
sense of commitment, accountability, achievement, or detachment which all seemed to
have an impact on the quality of education in the six schools. There were overlaps
among some of the themes making some themes implicit in other themes. For example,
accountability and monitoring could implicitly incorporate commitment and, qualities
of leaders and teachers. However, there was a sense of dissonance among participating
teachers and stakeholders on qualities/attributes of teachers and leadership. This
presents questions on why teachers and stakeholders in this study differed in their
experience and expectations in the secondary school education system. Based on the
above background the analysis of the questionnaire follows and starts off with the theme
accountability and monitoring which appeared to be key aspects in teachers’ attributes
and responsibilities at the six schools in this study. This will be followed by analysis
and discussion on dissonance, aspects of the sense of achievement and contentment, and
attitudes on resources and utilisation, collaboration and commitment.
4.1.1 Accountability and monitoring (of students, teachers and leadership)
Despite the knowledge and awareness of the importance of the monitoring exercises,
teachers seemed not to like to be held to account by their heads of school as shown in
their responses to statement/Question 11 response d: ‘A school leader should hold
teachers/team to account’ (see Table 4.1, page 83). This was also reflected in teachers’
very low ranking of the teacher quality (Question 23 response a): ‘Very high
81
accountability’, which they ranked least in terms of importance (see Table 4.2, page 84).
This was in contrast to stakeholders who ranked teacher accountability very high in
terms of importance (see Table 4.4, page 84). Inability to provide resources by school
leaders (see Table 4.2 Question 11 response b: A school leader should prioritise obtaining
resources for the teachers/team, page 83), appeared to be a justification for not accepting
accountability by teachers. It appears irresponsible for teachers not to embrace the
importance of accountability on their part. It illustrates that teachers had other reasons
for taking such a stance and in a way seemed to have an excuse to justify this action or
view point. Stakeholders however had expectations and would put a lot of trust on
teachers to take responsibility of the welfare of students by providing quality education
for their children. A lack of resources seemed to be one possible justification for
teachers’ dislike to be held accountable. Lack of resources appeared to be perceived as a
hindrance to the teachers’ performance. In contrast Stakeholders ranked the attribute of
school leaders to provide resources of least importance. It should, however, be noted
that to achieve quality education, availability of resources and accountability of teachers
was vital. Armed with the appropriate resources and a sense of accountability could
inculcate a sense of duty and foster the concept of self-improving teachers/schools
advocated by Gilbert (n.d.:10, 13), whereby everyone involved takes the responsibility
to account for their performance or actions. Instead, attitudes of most Zimbabwean
teachers’ appeared to ignore this notion of accountability. This may be a hint of
perceived barriers or concerns that may have a negative impact on the effectiveness of
teaching and learning. It also revealed discontentment and inadequacy among teachers,
which seemed to be confirmed by teachers and stakeholders when they ranked ‘positive
role model’ as the least important (and second lowest) quality of a teacher (see Table
4.2, page 83, Question 23 response d and Table 4.4, page 84, Question 15 response d).
This may confirm reports of the poor welfare and low status of teachers (Bennell,
2004:11; Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya, 2011:96-97, 100; Chireshe and Shumba
2011:116-117; Mandina, 2012:770-771; UNDP-Zimbabwe, 2012:27). Low status and
poor welfare seemed to be associated with a negative attitude and impact on teachers’
performance and hence the justification not to be taken to account by school leaders.
Development of schools requires action at certain levels of responsibility and
accountability. Gilbert (n.d.:8) suggested moral and professional accountabilities as a
key starting point to provide an opportunity to create self-improving schools or teachers.
82
But with the negative attitudes towards accountability expressed by teachers in this
study, this process could take a while to take root among these teachers.
Teachers’ responses to Question 11 on qualities of school leaders
b
c
a
f
e
d
A school leader should
prioritise obtaining
resources for the
teachers/team
A school leader should
share the school’s vision
with the teachers and
all stakeholders
A school leader should
support the professional
development of
teachers/team
A school leader should
be committed to high
achievement of students
A school leader should
be a good motivator
A school leader should
hold teachers/team to
account
Total
respondents
from six
schools
85
337
Cumulative
totals
Average from
six schools
Six schools’
average rounded to
2 decimal places
337
3.96
3.96
85
320
320
3.76
3.76
85
310
310
3.65
3.65
85
304
304
3.58
3.58
85
283
85
198
283
3.33
3.33
198
2.329
2.33
Table 4.1 Question 11 – Teachers’ responses on qualities in a school leader
Teachers’ responses to Question 23 on qualities of secondary school teachers
Total respondents
from six schools
Cumulative
totals
Average from six
schools
Six schools’
average rounded to
2 decimal places
c Committed and
passionate about
teaching
e Fully
knowledgeable in
their subject area
b Pride in students’
accomplishments
78
284
284
3.65
3.65
78
276
276
3.54
3.54
78
218
218
2.79
2.79
d Positive role model
78
206
206
2.64
2.64
a Very high
accountability
78
183
183
2.35
2.35
Table 4.2 Question 23- Teachers’ responses on qualities of a secondary school teacher
83
Stakeholders’ responses to Question 6 on qualities of school leaders
Total
Cumulative
Overall
Rank 1-6/
respondents
totals
at
average
responses
of
schools and
responses of
a-f
stakeholders
those not in
stakeholders at
at schools
schools
schools and
not in schools
a
A school leader should
24
95
3.96
support the professional
95
development of teachers/team
e
A school leader should be a
24
93
3.88
good motivator
93
f
A school leader should be
24
92
3.83
committed to high
92
achievement of students
c
A school leader should share
24
85
3.54
the school’s vision with the
85
teachers and all stakeholders
d
A school leader should hold
23
69
3
teachers/team to account
69
b
A school leader should
24
71
2.96
prioritise obtaining resources
71
for the teachers/team
Table 4.3 Question 6 Stakeholders’ responses on qualities of a school leader
Stakeholders’ responses to Question 15 on qualities of secondary school teachers
Total respondents Cumulative totals Overall average
Rank1-5
of stakeholders at
at schools and
responses of
/responses
schools
those not in
stakeholders at
a-e
schools
schools and not
a
b
e
c
d
Very high
accountability
Pride in students’
accomplishments
Fully knowledgeable
in their subject area
Committed and
passionate about
teaching
Positive role model
24
82
24
73
24
72
24
70
Overall
average
rounded to 2
decimal
places
3.96
3.88
3.83
3.54
3.00
2.96
in schools
Overall
average
rounded to 2
decimal
places
82
3.42
3.42
73
3.04
3.04
72
3.00
3.00
70
2.92
2.92
24
61
2.54
2.54
61
Table 4.4 Question 15- Stakeholders’ responses on qualities of a secondary school teacher
4.1.2 Dissonance between stakeholders and teachers on leadership
qualities/attributes
There appeared to be dissonance in the way stakeholders and teachers perceived
leadership qualities. By ranking the statement/Question 6 (Table 4.3, page 84) response
a: ‘A school leader should support the professional development of teachers/team’
highest in importance, stakeholders appeared to demonstrate the need for commitment
84
of leadership to some of the teachers’ needs. However, teachers awarded this quality
second lowest in importance (see Table 4.1, page 83, Question 11 response a). This
could be expressing the appropriateness and adequacy in their teacher qualifications or
professional requirements. Schools staffed with qualified teachers would be expected to
provide quality education, but in this case appropriate teacher qualifications seemed to
be immaterial as education standards appeared to be falling continuously. With the era
of untrained teachers coming to an end what excuse would be used for not providing
quality education by the Zimbabwean education authorities. It would be expected that
teachers’ performance improves to effectively cater for the students’ needs with such
improvement in teacher qualifications and in-service training. By awarding: ‘a school
leader should prioritise obtaining resources for the teachers/team’ the least important
attribute (see Table 4.3, page 84, Question 6 response b), what teachers’ perceived as
the top priority (see Table 4.1, page 83, Question 11 response b), could demonstrate that
stakeholders were not fully informed of the teachers’ needs. It goes to show that
Stakeholders appeared to believe that the teachers were the main resources and could
work around and make do with whatever little material resources that were available to
them to provide acceptable or quality teaching and learning. Improvisation of resources
by teachers could be implied in this sense. Monitoring progress (of students, teachers
and school leaders) appeared to be a major tool to check and enforce teachers’ or school
leaders’ accountability. However, Ncube reported a failure to monitor students’ progress
in most schools and the negative teacher attitudes towards planning which concurs with
a respondent in Ncube’s (2013:229) study who simply said: “I will see when I get
there.” This affirms the point that the provision of quality education remains an issue in
Sub-Saharan Africa (Tikly, 2011:3) and in Zimbabwe (Nziramasanga Commission,
1999:299; Chakanyuka et al., 2009:44; Kurasha and Chiome, 2013), and appears that
this will persist for as long as resource provision was limited or non-existent. An
inability to monitor teachers’, students’ and school leaders’ progress could have been
the norm at this point during this era of the Zimbabwean secondary school education
system and hence the teachers seemed to be used to this practice and wanted to maintain
this state of affairs. Lack of lesson planning seemed to illustrate the teacher’s
confidence that no one would turn-up into the lesson to check on the teacher’s planning
or preparedness to dutifully carryout teaching with meaningful learning. This all verifies
and points to the lack of accountability expressed above.
85
4.1.3 A sense of achievement and contentment
Teachers seemed to acknowledge a sense of (exaggerated) achievement in the
secondary school education system as reflected in their responses to statement/Question
13: ‘The ‘O’ level examination pass rate is very high at my school’ (implying 5 or more
subjects) (see Table 4.5, page 87). This was also implied in both stakeholders’ and
teachers’ responses to Question 14 (see Table 4.6, page 88) and Question 22 (see Table
4.5, page 87), respectively: ‘My school continuously improves on gained success’. A
sense of achievement referred to the ‘O’ and ‘A’ level pass rates, which were also
perceived to be a measure of success. This concurred with what Chakanyuka et al.
(2009:41) considered to be a measure of accountability and quality of education. A
sense of achievement was also expressed in teachers’ responses to an open-ended
statement (Question 21.1): ‘Please list performance indicators to measure success at
your school’. Respondents appeared to list those things they felt their schools had
achieved or were good at. Pass rate happened to be common among other milestones.
The teachers’ sense of achievement included: instilling discipline among students (at
Schools A, B, C and E); participation in other aspects of the school life including extracurricular activities, such as, sport (at Schools A, C and E) and the development of
infrastructure (at Schools A, C and F). This sense of achievement which related to pass
rates appeared to be self-aggrandisation as the national average pass rates for 2011
indicated that some of the schools had low pass rates in comparison to the other schools
in the study (see Table 4.7 page 89).
86
Table showing Teachers’ responses to the questionnaire
Question Question/statement
Number
Total
Cumulative Average
number of
total
respondents
8
97
439
439
4.53
Average
rounded
to 2
decimal
places
4.53
97
363
363
3.74
3.74
97
360
97
359
360
3.71
3.71
359
3.70
3.70
97
349
97
349
349
3.60
3.60
349
3.60
3.60
97
331
331
3.41
3.41
97
330
330
3.40
3.40
97
328
328
3.38
3.38
97
323
97
305
97
298
323
3.33
3.33
305
3.14
3.14
298
3.07
3.07
97
290
290
2.99
2.99
97
253
97
169
263
2.61
2.61
169
1.74
1.74
17
22
19
14
21
13
20
18
15
9
24
12
10
16
An effective secondary school
education system in Zimbabwe is
important
I think the school leadership at
my school is committed to the
development of the school
My school continuously improves
on gained success
My school always works in
collaboration with outside
agencies/schools and other stake
holders
The resources at my school have
improved over the past 10 years
My school has clear performance
indicators to measure the success
of the teachers, headteachers and
the school
The ‘O’ level examination pass
rate is very high at my school (i.e.
those with 5 or more subjects
including English and Maths)
I can say that the Zimbabwean
secondary school education
system is adapting to the
development needs of the country
Sufficient funding alone does not
bring about improvements in the
secondary education system
I think that the resources at my
school are always used efficiently
I am happy in my present
teaching post
I am aware of the school
improvement plans/strategies at
my school
The secondary school education
standards have improved in
Zimbabwe in the past 10 years
I would like to stay in teaching
until I retire
My school has a shortage of
qualified secondary school
teachers
Table 4.5 Responses to questionnaire for secondary school teachers and
leadership/headteachers
87
Table showing Stakeholders’ responses to the questionnaire
Question Question/statement
number
Total
Cumulative Average
number of
total
respondents
4
An effective secondary school
education system in Zimbabwe is
important
Schools always work in
collaboration with outside
agencies/schools and other stake
holders
I can say that the Zimbabwean
secondary school education
system is adapting to the
development needs of the country
I think the school leadership at
schools is committed to the
development of the school
Sufficient funding alone does not
bring about improvements in the
secondary education system
I am happy with the secondary
school education system of
Zimbabwe
Schools continuously improve on
gained success
I am aware of the school
improvement plans/strategies at
local/in schools
The resources at schools have
improved over the past 10 years
29
130
130
4.48
Average
rounded
to 2
decimal
places
4.48
29
111
111
3.83
3.83
29
111
111
3.83
3.83
29
108
108
3.72
3.72
29
106
106
3.65
3.66
29
105
105
3.62
3.62
29
103
29
101
103
3.55
3.55
101
3.48
3.48
29
97
97
3.34
3.35
The secondary school education
standards have improved in
Zimbabwe in the past 10 years
I think that the resources at
school are always used efficiently
29
96
96
3.31
3.31
29
87
87
3
3.00
12
13
10
11
5
14
16
8
7
9
Table 4.6 Responses to questionnaire for stakeholders on secondary schools
This means that the (high) pass rate optimism was not reflected in the ‘O’ level pass
rates recorded at Schools B, C, E and F, which were all below the 40% average pass rate
(November 2011 results – see Table 4.7, page 89). This sense of achievement appeared
to be self-aggrandisation or over-inflated. In 2011, School B, for instance, had an ‘O’
level pass rate between the 10-15% range (see Table 4.7, page 89), which was also
below the national average pass rate of 19.5% that year. Upholding and improvement of
the gained sense of achievement required teacher commitment and accountability. As a
performance indicator, pass rates put schools under pressure to improve their rating on
public examinations. Mufanechiya (2013:326, 328-330) stated that pass rates were
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blamed for focusing on examinations and the promotion of rote learning. This was
viewed as unreflective and contributed to a decline in teaching quality.
Table showing the 2011 national examination results of the six schools
Name of school
School A
School B
School C
School D
School E
School F
Classification of
school
Rural
boarding
Faith school
Peri-urban
day school
Government
Urban
School
Day
(Mission)
Faith
schools
Government
Day school
with ‘hot
seating’
Nongovernment
Peri-urbun
day
Number of
teachers
30-35
10-15
40-45
45-50
55-60
20-25
Number of
students
800-900
200-300
900-1000
1100-1200
1300-1400
500-600
‘O’ Level % pass
rate
75-80%
10-15%
35-40%
75-80%
30-35%
20-25%
‘A’ Level % pass
rate
95-100%
n/a
85-90%
95-100
85-90%
n/a
Table 4.7 Details of Schools Pass Rates (‘O’ and ‘A’ level results – November 2011)
Zhangazha (2014) observed that the national average examination pass rate appeared to
be capped at 24% (or below 25%). The common examination provides a benchmark as
a national measure of success for all students. With such a low national average pass
rate, it puts those few students who achieved 5 or more subjects (including English and
Mathematics) in a category of their own among the majority who did not achieve 5 or
more subjects.
4.1.4 Attitudes to resources and utilisation
Teachers appeared to be aware that resources and their utilisation were central to the
efficient operation of secondary schools. This could be viewed as a teaching and
learning enabler or barrier depending on availability and how efficiently these resources
were used to improve learning in schools. In many cases it appeared to be used as a
scapegoat for teachers’ failure to work to their full potential. This was expressed in
teachers’ responses to the open ended statement/Question 18.1: ‘What could bring about
improvements in the education system?’ Many teachers seemed to suggest that there
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was a shortage of material resources because most identified a need to provide
resources. Schools appeared to have reasonable levels of qualified teachers, but teachers
seemed to suggest a need to keep them happy and motivated by improving their
remuneration and/or the improvement of conditions of service. Failure to improve on
remuneration and improvement of the conditions of service implied a reduced sense of
commitment and accountability. In their response to the same open ended
statement/Question 11.1: ‘What could bring about improvement in the education
system?’; many stakeholders appeared to be concerned by the teachers’ professionalism
and commitment levels. This insinuated a reduced or a lack of accountability. For
instance, stakeholders’ request for better supervision of examinations could have
implied
malpractices
during
administration
of
examinations.
This
lack
of
commitment/accountability concurs with findings by Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya
(2011:100) where teachers only put effort they considered was commensurate with what
they earned. Such an attitude, if left to prevail will not lead to any positive change as the
issue of salaries was not going to dramatically improve as revealed in the recent salary
negotiations were the government only approved pay increments below the poverty
datum line (Staff reporter –NewZimbabwe, 2014; 2014a). This appeared to cultivate a
sense of uncertainty among teachers, but also revealed a source for potential problems
with the practice or teaching processes that appeared to have failed to achieve higher
pass rates.
Most teachers seemed to have reiterated the need to improve the provision of resources.
Most stakeholders and teachers seemed to agree on the need to improve remuneration
and conditions of service. This was hoped could enable teachers to concentrate on their
duties and also reduce the financial burden on parents who may already be struggling to
pay for teachers’ incentives and their children’s school fees. A decline of the economy
reported by Richardson (2005:542), Mufanechiya and Mufanechiya (2011:100) and the
hyperinflation reported at 231.1 million percent by July 2008 (Makochekanwa, 2009:3,
4) could have exacerbated the parents’ financial hardships. However, an aspect of
modernisation appeared to be a common suggestion among most teachers who wanted
an introduction or an increasing use of computers leading to the use of e-learning.
Although both stakeholders (Question-8, see Table 4.6, page 88) and teachers
(Question-14, Table 4.5, page 87) seemed to believe that the resources had improved in
the past 10 years, both were, however, not convinced the resources were being used
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efficiently (stakeholders Question 9, Table 4.6, page 88 and teachers Question 15, Table
4.5, page 87).
4.1.5 Attitudes to change and developmental strategies
Responses reflected an agreement among most stakeholders (Question-11, see Table
4.6, page 88) and teachers (Question-18, see Table 4.5, page 87) that other factors
besides funding were necessary to bring about improvements in secondary schools
education system. There is evidence of a positive outlook on both teachers’ and
stakeholders’ perceived understanding of school progress based on gained levels of
success, collaboration with outside agencies, improvement of school and their beliefs
that schools had high pass rates (Table 4.5, page 87 and Table 4.6, page 88). Also, both
stakeholders (Question 13, see Table 4.6, page 88) and teachers (Question 20, see Table
4.5, page 87) seemed to be optimistic and implied some form of strategic development
was in place. This was also reflected in their positive views of their perceived levels of
school leaderships’ commitment towards the development of the schools: stakeholders
(Question 10, see Table 4.6, page 88) and teachers (Question 17, see Table 4.5, page
87). In response to an open statement/Question 20.1: ‘Please list the development needs
of the country’; most teachers listed computerisation, improved provision of ICT and
the introduction of e-learning as the most predominant developmental requirements at
their schools. Some teachers at Schools A, D and F, however identified the development
(or resuscitation) of the economy, industry (including the agriculture sector) and the
infrastructure at schools. However, meeting such developmental needs would be a
challenge since the government of Zimbabwe was financially incapacitated by the EU
and the USA’s ZIDERA guided economic sanctions, which prohibited any financial
institutions to advance credit or extension of loans or reduction of debt (Ndakaripa, n.d.;
Tungwarara, n.d.:110; Mapuranga, 2009; Coomer and Gstraunthaler, 2011:336). The
high inflation and deteriorated economy could have also resulted in a decline in revenue
collection by government and appeared to have negatively affected the funding of
schools.
4.1.6 Collaboration (with other schools or stakeholders)
In response to statement/Questions 19 (teachers, see Table 4.5, page 87) and 12
(stakeholders, see Table 4.6, page 88), collaboration, networking and cooperation
between schools and other stakeholders were acknowledged as important engagements
beneficial to the schools. This entailed teacher and school leadership effort and
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commitment that ensured the successful organisation of such partnerships. Building
healthy relationships between teachers and the community could lead to collaborative
working partnerships. According to Gilbert (n.d.:11) quality collaborative communities
of practice were most likely to be built by school leaders who pursued (individual)
moral and professional accountability as a collective. The collective collaboration could
promote continuous engagement to promote best ways for students’ learning and
achievement.
4.1.7 Commitment, passion and accountability
School leaders were perceived to be more committed in comparison to teachers and
seemed to be focused on the development of their schools (see Question 17 (teachers,
Table 4.5, page 87) and Question-10 (stakeholders, Table 4.6, page 88), respectively).
This appeared to be in contrast to observations made by Chakanyuka et al. (2009:44),
where poor leadership was a factor contributing to the poor quality of secondary
schools/education. School leaders, however, would be required to remain dedicated to
meet the needs of their teachers and allay the fears of uncertainty. The school leaders
are expected to have an obligation and commitment to ensure smooth operation of their
schools by providing the required materials and human resources. Commitment of
leaders could be viewed in terms of their effort to retain committed and motivated
teachers, provision of enough resources and a conducive working environment,
maintenance of infrastructure and delivering a curriculum linked to the developmental
needs of the country. The leaders could also make the appropriate choices for their
schools by matching the resource availability at their schools. In so doing the school
leaders would use and make the best of what they have, which could entail
improvisation if needs be.
In response to open ended statements/Questions 17 (stakeholders) and 25 (teachers):
‘Please write down any comments or additional information relevant to the study’: Most
stakeholders and teachers (from Schools A, C, D, E, F) listed remuneration and teacher
motivation, which happened to be a reiteration of responses from Questions 11
(stakeholders) and 18.1 (teachers). This could be linked to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
because teachers were finding it hard to cope with low salaries and failing to meet their
basic needs of shelter and food. This was because of the extreme hyperinflation reported
by Masunungure et al. (2007:3), Makochekanwa (2007:2) and Makochekanwa (2009:3,
4), which had rendered the teachers’ salaries worthless by 2008. The provision and
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management of resources was also nearly non-existent. Stakeholders, however, seemed
to be expressing a wish to avoid payment of incentives so as to reduce the financial
burden that included payment of teacher incentives in addition to other expenses that the
stakeholders/parents were struggling to cope with, such as, school fees and their
livelihood. On the other hand, most stakeholders appeared to suggest that by improving
the salaries, teachers would be motivated in anticipation for improved education
standards in return. This appeared to agree with Vroom’s expectancy theory that
encourages employees to work harder in anticipation of corresponding rewards (Bennett
and Naumann, 2005:115). However, there would be no guarantees that enhanced
teacher welfare by improving remuneration and conditions of service could foster
commitment and accountability. Stakeholders wanted teachers to put their job first. A
few stakeholders seemed to reinforce the need for accountability by suggesting close
monitoring of both students and teachers and making teachers more accountable to
school committees.
4.1.8 Summary to questionnaire responses
Both the (closed and open-ended) questionnaire responses revealed many similarities in
the attitudes of teachers and stakeholders. There was evidence of dissonance on
attributes of teachers and leadership on issues related to resources and accountability.
These differences between teachers and stakeholders appeared to reveal concerns,
discontentment, lack of control and issues linked to professionalism that may have an
impact on the performance of the teacher and other attributes such as commitment and
accountability. These issues were followed up during interviews.
4.2 Analysis of interviews
4.2.1 Introduction
Responses from participating teachers and stakeholders appeared to be characterised by
frustrations, revealing discontent that could influence teachers’ attitudes towards
commitment on the job, accountability and professional identity. Teacher interviewees
comprised of teachers from various subject areas and at different levels in the teachers’
careers, which included new entrants to those in leadership roles, such as deputy
headteachers. Stakeholder interviewees included people from different career
backgrounds including education inspectors/officers. Analysis identified the themes in
Theme Map 1, Theme Map 2, Theme Map 3 and Theme Map 4 below. Emerging
themes appeared to depend on teachers’ attitudes towards issues that affected their
93
welfare and work. The teachers’ hierarchy and levels of responsibility in the school also
provided an insight into the different roles and attitudes towards teachers’ contributions
and commitment to the attainment of quality education and involvement of students in
different school activities.
Theme Map 1-Reasons for entering the teaching profession
Synopsis of Theme Map 1:
Most teachers included in this study seemed to enter the profession because of a lack
of other career opportunities, which makes most teachers accidental or circumstantial
teachers. A few, with passion, were inspired by the significant others in their lives
and wanted to make a difference.
94
Theme Map 2-Roles in the teaching profession
Synopsis of Theme Map 2:
The different hierarchy and levels of responsibility were represented at each of the six schools
including student teachers on teaching practice demonstrating a continuation of teacher
training. Different accountability levels were assessed through monitoring processes through
various levels of the school hierarchy. Monitoring of students was the responsibility of every
teacher at all levels of teachers in the hierarchy.
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Theme Map 3-Significant teacher contributions
Synopsis of Theme Map 3:
Most teachers appeared to have a sense of achievement, which also indicated a sense of
accountability and commitment. Collaboration and a sense of shared vision also seemed
to encourage that sense of teacher engagement in the life of the school including extracurricular activities. Some teachers viewed themselves as resourceful change agents
with an aim to continuously improve their schools.
96
Theme Map 4-Frustrations affecting/faced by teachers
Synopsis Theme Map 4:
Most teachers expressed a sense of discontentment over remuneration, lack of or limited
resources, poor funding, large class sizes, the poor calibre of students and work overload
which they claimed affected their performance. Some felt not appreciated and this reduced
their commitment levels. Although these frustrations appear to be similar to those faced by
teachers elsewhere in the world, the Zimbabwean situation was unique because of the
prevailing economic and political environment which not only affected the teachers, but a
whole population. An economic situation experiencing a record hyperinflation of over 231
million percent by 2008 reduced teachers to near destitutes and its impact brought
instances of zero teaching and zero percent pass rate at schools.
The analysis begins with attitudes of teachers’ motivation to enter into the profession.
This sets the scene and builds up a picture of the structure of the teaching profession
from entry point followed by teachers’ perceived sense of identity through various
attributes of teachers and their impact on the quality of the education system. This also
uncovers the effects of the teachers’ welfare and what is involved in the teaching
profession including the attitudes and the conduct of the participating teachers.
97
4.2.2 Motivation to enter profession
Most of the teachers involved in this study entered the profession as accidental teachers
and a few as inspired teachers. According to Olsen (2008:26), the reasons for entry into
the teaching profession were perceived to have a bearing on the forms of teacher
identities envisaged by the participants. The accidental teachers entered the profession
because of the limited or lack of other career opportunities. Teaching appeared to be a
last resort for the majority of the participating teachers in such a harsh economic
climate, which concurred with Bennell (2004:iii, 11) with reference to low income
developing countries. For instance, Teacher 2B (head of department-science (HoD) see Appendix C.4) expressed her gratitude of getting this opportunity when she
emphatically said:
…It was just an opportunity that came my way. I had to grab it. That is not what I
wanted to do. I couldn’t let it go. [I] wanted better in the medical field…
This was an indication of how hard it was to get career opportunities in Zimbabwe
because of competition from an ever increasing population of jobless school leavers,
college and university graduates.
Other entrants into teaching, such as Teacher 1A (HoD-see Appendix C.3), however,
had altruistic motives: …to influence the minds of the children. This seemed to be
similar to the reasons stated by teachers in a study conducted in England by Moreau
(2014:11) who viewed working with children and making a difference as a motivation
to enter the teaching profession. Mockler (2011:524) states that this altruistic or moral
motive may be lost owing to the practical realities or the way the individual teacher was
socialised into the job. This is explained by some of the Zimbabwean teachers’
experiences in this study, which included resource shortages, poor salaries and others
who endured the sexual harassment reported by Zireva and Makura (2013:314). Inspired
(or passionate) Teachers 5D (home economics teacher) and 1F (history teacher and
senior teacher), for instance, claimed they were motivated by their model teachers or
their relatives to join teaching. However, this does not necessarily mean accidental
teachers can’t be passionate and perform well on their job. For instance, Teacher 5D
(home economics teacher), though inspired by her niece, felt one tends to love and
develop a passion for teaching once one entered the profession. Teacher 5D said:
98
Well, I was inspired by my niece. When she trained to be a secondary school
teacher we used to stay together and through the process I got inspired.
And when asked if she still had that inspiration up to the time of the interview, Teacher
5D said:
Ya, as you go on with your career you get to like it more than being inspired
because you will be dealing [working] with the children directly and there you
sort of feel like helping them other that having inspired.
This concurred with PR2 during the pilot interview who expressed the same sentiment
when she said:
…once you get it [the teaching profession training position] you find your way in
and you just become interested in it.
Bennett and Naumann (2005:122) suggested that the choice to enter into teaching and
the recruitment process could be based on prospective teachers’ perception levels of
altruism and in the long run, cohesiveness, which could foster team work. Apart from
being accidental or inspired, Teacher 6D (deputy headmaster at School D) had to choose
teaching because of the prevailing political context whereby he (Teacher 6D) eventually
opted for teaching because had he selected to take the electrical apprenticeship route he
had to initially undergo military training which he was opposed to. This concurred with
findings from Moreau’s (2014) studies, which reflected that social, economic and
political context influenced the French and English teachers to enter the teaching
profession as a major employment destination. Teacher 6D (Appendix C.6) who has
since remained in teaching for over 30 years expressed his dilemma as follows:
…we grew up during the war time and there were very few opportunities for us
[black] Africans then. I wanted to do something different. I didn’t think I will go
into teaching. I wanted to do an apprenticeship. Something to do with electricity,
but the condition was [that] you have to go under military training and then
national service for six months. I got an apprenticeship position where I had to go
under military training and then I also got an offer at [Named] Teachers’ college.
If you opted for the latter, for teaching, there was no military training. That is why
I took teaching [to specialise in woodwork].
Such was the dilemma that Teacher 6D settled for teaching because of the undesirable
preconditions attached to the apprenticeship training courses at that time of the
liberation struggle of Zimbabwe.
99
Although some teachers claimed they eventually gained an interest in the job, it may
imply that the profession may not be staffed by the right people in the first place. Even
though the teachers entered with the appropriate entry qualification levels, some of the
teachers were getting onto the job without the full knowledge of what it entailed, but
would cling to the job irrespective of the prevailing poor salaries and other frustrations
at the time. This was the only option available to earn a living. Among other teachers,
Teacher 1D also joined teaching as an accidental teacher as he said:
…that was the immediate employment opportunity that I had....
Aware of the difficulties to find other careers, Teacher 1D still thought only a career
change to something other than teaching would improve his situation when asked how
he would improve his situation: …I think by changing the profession…
This appeared to be the case with most teachers including Teacher 3E, who wanted to
be an engineer, but could not afford the financial obligations on such a course; Teacher
3B was motivated by money because at that time she was an accounts clerk and earning
less money than a student teacher:
(laughs)…I can say the time I trained as a teacher I was an accounts clerk at a
teachers’ college. When I compared the salary of a student teacher and an
accounts clerk, student teachers earned more than accounts clerks. That is when I
decided to become a teacher.
Teacher 2A joined the profession because for her love for children as a mother:
…it was because I am partially a mother and very close to kids starting from
home, you teach children from birth as they grow. Furthermore, you tend to like
the job of teaching naturally because of being a mother…
Teacher 5C joined the teaching profession because there was nothing else available at
the time:
…it was more of I did not want to be a teacher. I wanted to be a nurse and would
not just drop teaching now to get into nursing...
Teacher 6C entered teaching because:
…after university I thought I was going to make it into industry as a chemist but
then opportunities were not as I thought, so I end[ed] up as a teacher.
100
These responses show different circumstances and contexts to enter the teaching
profession, but involvement in any chosen career would be more meaningful if it was
something one really wanted to be or do. The prospects of serious engagement in that
career or profession would be higher in that case.
Being in the wrong career/profession and having that constant urge to leave the
profession like Teacher 1D can make the person less committed and hence may apply
themselves less than the inspired teachers and, hence, compromise the education
system. Such teachers were bound to exhibit incompetency and teacher attributes that
reflect poor teaching and learning styles. They may also choose to withhold their
expertise and service to teach, or choose limited participation. On the other hand, it
could be argued that just like Teacher 2B, a person in such a situation could equally
apply themselves in the same manner as the passionate teachers. Teacher 2B seemed to
display attributes that reflected dedication and accountability at a high level. With time,
on the job, she (Teacher 2B) seemed to be committed/accountable, especially when she
offered to teach Mathematics at a time when no one else at the school chose to do so.
This also seemed to confirm claims by Teacher 5D, an inspired teacher that one tends to
develop a liking for teaching once in it. That implied accidental teachers may also
develop a liking for teaching and perform well once they settle on the job. Stakeholder
S2 (a Librarian at School C) and Teacher 2B seemed to think that those teachers with a
‘calling’ may concentrate and exert themselves better to achieve desired outcomes and
hence reducing the chances of compromising the secondary school education system.
Inspired teachers like Teacher 1F (a senior teacher), seemed to enjoy and take up more
responsibilities and appeared to care and have passion for the job. And on return to that
school for classroom observations, a year later, Teacher 1F had been promoted to the
post of deputy headmistress and became more active in performance management and
other monitoring duties meant to improve and maintain the quality of education at her
school. However, the lack of training of appraisers, in performance management, cited
by Teacher 4F could lead to a compromised teacher appraisal and monitoring system as
she said:
…ahh those ones [appraisals], they are some of the things that are implemented
because that work that is done by a person who fills the form and at times they
can’t do it properly. They simply copy [from someone who has done it]. Some
received money [salary increments] and some didn’t. So there is a problem in the
system. It is not functioning as intended…
101
[translated
from…ahh
those
ones,
ndiwo
mamwe
acho
anongoimplementwa…because that is work inongoitwa nemunhu anongopiwa
form angofilla ongozviita pamwe pacho haagoni kuzviita chaizvo izvo…kungoita
zvekungokopa zviya…but some received money but some did not…saka pane
maproblems ari musystem…haasi kufamba zvakanakisisa…]
A poor appraisal system, compounded with the malpractice of protecting incompetent
friends, mentioned by Teacher 4C, further reduces the credibility of this teaching
community of practice with telling effects on professionalism and the quality of the
outputs. It may imply feeding the other beneficiaries of the secondary school education
system with compromised products or [half-baked] school leavers. Having such a large
numbers of accidental teachers with such poor work ethic could continuously
compromise the secondary school education system as such teachers could happily
accommodate and maintain poor quality teaching practices. This means they may have a
lot in common that limits their effective participation to benefit and maintain the
standards of the teaching profession. It would be a lot easier to develop passionate
teachers in this case.
4.2.3 Gaining entry into teaching
Given such a scenario where opportunities were limited, it meant that prospective
teachers may have to understand and learn the recruitment benchmarks and context
through which they would successfully enter the teaching profession. This entailed
knowing some of the pre-requisite attributes expected in a teacher’s identity. These
attributes may include having children at heart and wanting to make a difference to the
lives of children, which appeared to be aligned to the English context (Moreau,
2014:11). The French context was more on the subject expertise (Moreau, 2014:8). The
identity of such teachers may not be solely guided by the aspects of their morality,
accountability and commitment to perform the job effectively. It can be however argued
that identity can be acquired through learning, experiencing and doing. That may
subsequently cultivate and nurture a sense of belonging to the teaching community of
practice as teachers acquire certain characteristics or behaviours associated with
teachers or teaching (Wenger, 1998:5, 152; Timostsuk, and Ugaste, 2010:1564-1565).
This reflects claims by Teacher 5D when asked if she felt the same way when she
entered the career. Teacher 5D had this to say:
102
…as you go on with your career, you get to like it more than being inspired
because you will be dealing with the children directly and there you sort of feel
like helping them other than having inspired.
This shows that even for the inspired, inspiration alone was not enough until one
actually got involved. A tendency to have a sense of belonging and the desire to actually
help children appeared to bring about the idea of serving first as a trait of a servant
leader (Herman and Marlowe, 2005:175-176; Stewart, 2012:234-236). A sense of
obligation and passion seemed to have developed in the process and it appears to show
how professional identity starts to form and manifest itself in the teacher’s actions.
Teacher 5D however seemed to express pride at the accomplishments she made, which
seemed to convince some parents to develop an interest in the learning of their children
when she said:
…and even some of the parents; they say my child is doing fashion and fabrics. I
have bought a sewing machine. Please do much to make use of the knowledge to
make garments [and] some of them say instead of my child doing this other
subject, can you make him or her make use of the machine at home.
This showed how vocational type subjects had an appeal to parents as they noticed the
potential to offer other opportunities that enabled children to apply their knowledge at
home, an observation also made by PR4 in the pilot study. Parents appeared to have
developed an interest and found it necessary to invest in the vocational subjects to
further engage and develop their children’s abilities or vocational skills as they put their
skills to practice.
4.2.4 Teacher (professional) identities through achievement and contributions
Both teachers and stakeholders associated teacher success or (professional) identity to a
teacher’s ability to produce good pass rates, usually at national examinations. This
corroborates observations that it was easier to measure or quantify what teachers do,
(teacher roles), than what teachers are (professional identity) (Mockler, 2011:525). Pass
rate was viewed as the most significant contribution by most teachers. This emerged to
be the measure for success and competence in this particular teaching community of
practice as stated by Teacher 3A, a deputy headmaster when he expressed
dissatisfaction/frustration over teachers who take a casual approach on their job and
said:
103
…it frustrates me when teachers have a casual approach [on their teaching duties]
and has an effect of lowering our pass rates.
Other engagements in the life of the school, such as, extra-curricular activities and
counselling of students, also, helped to mould the development of students. These
activities where perceived to be valuable contributions that bolstered a teacher’s
identity. This may be supported by the notion of the ever-changing identity of teachers,
which Beauchamp and Thomas (2009:175-176) viewed as a way to ‘reinvent’
themselves as the teachers participated in different activities to fulfil other aspects of
education as expressed by Teacher 2C when commenting on her most significant
contributions at her school and/or as a teacher:
…I have done quite a lot, like for example; there are so many clubs in the school
which had faded with time. Take for instance the drama club; I have managed to
resuscitate that and I have also; I have to take the drama club at a national level; I
have gone with them to the British council competitions in Harare and I also
managed to help students with social problems at home. I am the patron for [a]
club [that carry out] clean out campaigns in the school [and] perform plays that
teach people on how to stop or fight against vandalism of school furniture. I have
also created a path between [go between] the students, the student board, and the
teaching staff. Sometimes kids do not know which protocol to follow so I have
managed to bridge that gap and I have also [taken over] a subject which no one
wanted to do [teach]. When I came in since 2005 I have managed to maintain a
pass rate of 100% up to now…
Teachers would reinvent themselves through the provision of other activities such as
extra-curricular activities, self-evaluation and self-improvement in their teaching
communities of practice as they evolve/develop from what Wenger (1998:29) termed
peripheral participation to achieve full membership/participation. This (would) further
enhance competencies through continuous improvement as the teachers change/improve
the teachers’ practices or teaching processes and also as they had the opportunity to see
other attributes of their students in different activities. Through self-improvement
activities (Gilbert, n.d.:10) teachers would self-evaluate and find better approaches,
practices or processes to improve their teaching and learning techniques and styles to
benefit all the students. This could be achieved through a culture of professional
development and accountability, which may require learning from peers and targeted
personal professional development. In the process, the teachers develop a professional
identity and at the same time, according to Beijaard et al. (2004:108) define whom they
want to be. Those in the leadership team, that is, (HoDs, senior teachers and deputy or
104
headteachers), seemed to have strong beliefs and ideas to promote education at their
institutions. This also entailed enforcing accountability, commitment, and upholding
professionalism among their subordinates as expressed by Teacher 2E an English HoD
(Appendix C.7) on monitoring of teachers by heads of department (HoD):
Then there are also HoDs who move around to check [the] teaching process for
teachers and things like were the teacher submit both their exercise books and
notebooks to the HoD and then the HoD write a critique and comments. Because
after all they [teachers] are employed to work so they have to. By the end of the
day you still have to do your duty whether motivated or if you don’t want then
leave the post and give it to others who are willing to take up the post and
prepared to work because they are many. At the end of the day it does not matter
whether we are motivated or incentivised. We just work because we are employed
to work. If you don’t want it stay at home.
This also shows an aspect of how easily dispensable/replaceable teachers were because
of the high unemployment or lack of other opportunities. The fact that Teacher 2E does
not seem to place much value on the significance of motivation provides a clear guide
as to the sense of duty expected/required of the teachers irrespective of whether
motivated or demotivated and also disregarding the teacher’s welfare. This is evident in
Stakeholder S3, an Economic Development Practitioner’s) statement that expresses
teachers’ commitment towards their work:
…I think, ahh, teachers in Zimbabwe just like any other worker in the country,
they are also experiencing economic hardships, but for one thing that I actually
respect them for is their diligence, they are committed in spite of the economic
hardships they are experiencing. And that is one attribute, that’s one attitude I like
about teachers in the country, yah. They are giving their utmost best under very
extreme difficult, you know, circumstances.
This was in agreement to stakeholders’ expectations of teachers that wanted them to
remain motivated and committed on the job.
Teacher 3A, (acting deputy headmaster), appeared to have a strong sense of professional
identity, when he said:
…so I may look at the curriculum; exams; anything which has to do with the
academic life of students. That is the main role at the school. So in other words,
the academic standards control. That is what I am mainly involved in; the quality
of the academic side of the school; look at exam[ination]s, the curriculum. I
mainly work with the heads of department for the different subjects; so that is my
main role.
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Teacher 3A also revealed his role in monitoring and authenticating students’
examination and progress reports to safeguard against cheating by some students when
asked about his activity of stamping reports that morning:
I am checking the reports to make sure they go home because some of them
[students] may cheat. I make sure that the scripts they [parents] will be shown by
the students come from the school.
This monitoring appeared to be a stringent practice in a bid to check on their teachers to
ensure that the teachers adhered to set standards. Teacher 3A said:
…That is what we do. We do a lot of supervision [monitoring] to make sure that
teachers are working to the stipulated standard. Mainly, we monitor, talk to the
teacher and use the HODs so that the teacher improves.
At School D, Teacher 6D (a deputy headmaster) explained how the school effectively
used a monitoring criterion available to each teacher and Teacher 6D. The school
expected consistency in the engagements of their members of the teaching community:
What we have, the subject teacher who teaches, we have a document, the
minimum amounts of work written work and the quality of the work we expect;
every teacher has a copy, right. So, we expect every teacher to abide by that. So at
the end of every month we have what we call a monthly test, it can be cumulative,
for example, say English can have a short test, composition, grammar; then these
are added up to give us the monthly test result that are covered and then we look
at these tests now to see how the student is doing whether he or she is making
progress or the other way round. We encourage the teachers to talk. Take note of
those students who will be declining [underperforming] and have some talk with
them, but if it is serious the school will invite parents and …we also have the
consultation days. Parents come in to consult with teachers and exchange notes.
So, we can also have parents coming in with issues concerning their children’s
performance saying I am not happy can you tell me what is happen now then we
share. And, also we teachers send students to the office either here or the
headmaster’s office; junior school students, they are send here and senior students
are send to the headmaster for a chart…
Teacher 3A put a lot of emphasis on ownership of what goes on at the school. He stated
that:
…a leader is determined by the type of product which he or she produces.
Leadership is not only about imposing of things. Each teacher’s views are taken
into consideration. And that you delegate, you make use of others to make you;
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actually to become more successful because you are using others. You are giving
them a chance; teachers contribute, students contribute and that makes everyone
[to] own the results.
Teacher 3A appears to be promoting the idea of ownership, whereas most participating
teachers at School F appeared to lack that sense of ownership as they saw everything as
an imposition and tended to be detached from the activities or developments at the
school. Teacher 3A appeared to suggest that ownership did not just stop with the
teachers, but appeared to have been extended to students and parents too:
…To maintain the school you need the support. The education system is tripartite
in nature. So, whenever you maintain the success of the school make sure that the
parents are involved in whatever you do; make sure that students are involved in
everything. They are an important stakeholder and also the teachers and the
government…
At School D, Teacher 6D appeared to emphasise the need for collaboration, teamwork
and oneness that expressed shared vision in a supportive environment:
I will say the first strategy is to create a family like environment for our teachers
where we say we are a family and we have team work. It is more than team work
that is why I say a family like set-up. It has helped us a lot. I believe we share one
vision and we all work towards that.
The aspect of both teacher and student discipline seemed to be of paramount importance
to the success of School D:
…we find that discipline [counts] and it is not just about good results. In some
schools that have good results [they] are not successful, if you understand what I
mean. That is only one aspect, order and discipline; the way the teachers conduct
themselves, the way the students respond to various [things]; to the way they
participate in class, the way they do their work, even in the absence of teachers,
the way they [students] walk to and from the corners of the school; that will give
you the picture of the successful school.
Teacher 6D identified being exemplary as a quality of leadership that breeds success
and also shows that teachers may still have that ‘role model’ status in the society:
…you need to be exemplary. There is no point in talking about all these things if
the leader does not do them himself or herself. You need to be responsive to the
needs of both staff and students and respond were they got to meet their needs
ehhe, you also need to be sensitive in every way to how you conduct yourself,
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ehh, within and outside the school because they always look up for guidance and
even the community looks up to you for guidance so I would say a successful
leader should be dedicated, must be hard working you must be effective in
whatever you do and you must lead by example.
Teacher 3A also viewed himself as an agent of modernisation when he expressed the
need to keep up with trends in computer studies and widening the curriculum on offer at
his school:
…like in the area of computer; modernise our school so that they don’t remain
old. Before I came a lot of the subjects were not being offered, computers,
physics; we did not have this for ‘A’ level and economics at ‘A’ level. So when I
came in I made sure [we offer them].
This could be viewed as enrichment or widening of the curriculum by increasing
subjects studied at the school. In the process the school would be in a position to keep
up with the trends in school or curriculum developments and in so doing matching
developments in the world and meet the trends in day to day developments and uptake
of technology. Teacher 6D also expressed an aspect of modernisation:
…I am teaching computer studies. Ahh we have just started…We started last year
but one, but we are offering appreciation [familiarisation and some experience] to
‘A’ level students. Only then we decided it should be turned into an examinable
subject. We started with Form ones, now we have Form ones and Form twos who
are part of that project.
Teacher 3A appeared to have autonomy and made decisions too in most of the things he
did at the school when he said:
…the head[master] does not give recipes most of the time. I am involved in
decision making especially on the academic side.
Teacher 6D was involved in decision making as an individual or as a team. He felt to be
very much a part of the decision making body at his school (D):
To a large extent ahh the major issues, decisions are done at administration level
meetings, consultative meetings, regular meetings and so I have been part of [the]
decision making machinery. I can’t say that I have been left out in crucial decision
making processes of the school, but here and there just like in any organisation
some decisions are made in your absence. You might feel injured [hurt]. That is
normal. By and large the major decisions are made; we do that as a team.
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This appeared to be driven by the ‘moral purpose’ that typify the essence of being a
teacher who exhibits expertise and ethical concerns to safeguard its clients, including
the autonomy to regulate what goes in the teaching practice (Sachs, 2003:13). This was
exemplified by Teacher 3A’s remarks (above), were a show of professionalism and
accountability that put students at the heart of teaching and it was also evident when he
considered himself as the: …academic controller…
This suggests possession of qualities expected of those belonging to a teaching
community of practice. Other members of the school leadership elsewhere displayed a
similar attitude: deputy headteachers (Teachers 6D-male, 4E-female), senior teachers
(Teacher 1F-female and 4C-male) and the headmaster at School F. This display of
professionalism, commitment and accountability that put students at the heart of
teaching was to be tested during observations. Teachers in this study however
encountered various frustrations in the process as Teacher 3A expressed disappointment
over teachers and students for not doing what they were meant to do. Teacher 6D
appeared to show a sense of responsibility by reacting quickly to a situation and
averting disaster early even at times when the education system was in disarray and
when no learning was taking place:
The system had almost come to a halt in 2007, 2008, at the height of that
confusion. There was no learning taking place even here we learn for about two
terms, but we were lucky as a staff, there was no turnover; people going outside
out of the country. We lost about, on the whole, about four teachers, but who were
quickly replaced because being [School D-name provided] school, doing well, the
problem was on the incentives to get teachers back into the classes. We acted
quickly and so we did not have a serious problem like other schools, but out there
things are not well.
This shows that School D had already created a good name and reputation for itself and
seemed to be very easy to market the school to teachers and parents and/or students.
4.2.5 A sense of detachment and a lack of a sense of ownership
A sense of detachment was expressed by some teachers. Teacher 5C in particular
portrayed that a sense of ownership could make her (Teacher 5C) perform in a more
responsible or accountable manner. In her response to the question on strategies in place
to cater for those with 4 to 36 units, Teacher 5C said:
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There are plenty of strategies, this is not my school neither is it anyone’s school. It
is a government school, regulated by policy which comes from very much above.
If it was my school I would have said let’s do that and that.
Here Teacher 5C, however failed to provide the strategies and hence the illpreparedness or unwillingness to fully engage in her teaching duties as this was only
perceived to be a government thing that was imposed on them. Teacher 2F also
expressed deep concerns with this lack of involvement into matters that directly
involved and affected teachers when he said:
…Ehh, as I was saying, it is best we put our heads together. I thought maybe we
have a team moving around schools and taking a sample of schools and ask what
our concerns are and really addressing those concerns. As it is now, people are
paying leap service, no one is really prepared to, uhh, getting into the system and
see to its being revamping. What we are seeing-, just witnessing are people, as I
said, coming up with theories. Theories which are not practical and we are saying
lets come up with theories which are practical. Theories, which are practical, go to
the ground and see where our problems are, mwaona [you see].
Teacher 2F seems to insinuate that the direct involvement of the teachers could help
uncover and identify the real issues affecting teachers and their contributions could be
more informed by what actually happens in practice, which could be more suitable and
appropriate to meet the teachers’ or the schools’ needs. On one hand this could be
motivational to the teachers as they are acknowledged and recognised to be a vital part
of the solution. However, at times an outsider (such as researchers or government
education officials) may also view the issues from a different perspective, which could
have been informed by the events or observations of trends in the education system at
large.
4.2.6 A sense of discrimination and lack of inclusivity
An elitist line of thinking was expressed by Teacher 5C and Teacher 3B, which tended
to discriminate against the non-academic or less able students in preference to teaching
academically gifted students alone or what Teachers 5C referred to as better students.
This showed total disregard to the less academically gifted students by using metaphoric
language providing an impossible scenario (of literally producing cows from a sheep)
when she said:
…I would like this school to be the best in Zimbabwe in the East of Zimbabwe
[named province removed] because [on] infrastructure we are the best, probably
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in Zimbabwe… but now the calibre of students being a government school does
not tally; good classrooms everything; I would have wanted probably to make the
school into a very elite government school only for better students. In terms of
academics, at least we should not take above 16 units, it is like you are given a
sheep and expect us to produce a lot of cows. It is impossible…
Here it shows that Teacher 5C displays a lot of negativity and appeared to have given
up on the less academic students insinuating that the low ability students cannot be
helped to improve their performance in class or raise their pass rates or achievement
levels. In this case the sheep appeared to represent the less academically gifted students
whom she considered to be any students who achieved 17 to 36 units pass rate at their
Grade 7 exams. As a head of department, Teacher 5C should have known better about
inclusion and taken advantage of the Performance Lag Address Programme (PLAP),
which appeared to be student-centred in its approach to teaching and learning.
4.2.7 A sense of self- aggrandisation or self-glorification or overstating
It appears most teachers tended to overstate or exaggerate the goodness or the condition
of their school’s infrastructure and also mostly their average examination pass rates.
This could portray a false sense of achievement and status of affairs or things or issues.
It was also a question of self-aggrandising of the school infrastructure by Teachers 2C,
3C and 5C because some of the school buildings had broken windows, broken floor tiles
and (inside) walls, with broken furniture in the classrooms. The school infrastructure
was in a bad state in comparison to when I attended the school almost thirty years ago.
Teachers’ high sense of achievement displays their positive and high sense of
confidence and pride, but above all it was more a matter of nostalgia, which seemed to
make most teachers overrate themselves as they seemed to reflect to the ‘good old
days’.
4.2.8 Frustrations, constraints and barriers
In this study, frustrations appeared to have an impact on teacher attitudes and that
seemed to limit participation levels and teachers’ performance. The frustrations
included: teacher poor welfare, limited resources and poor infrastructure, work
overload, discontentment and inequalities among school teachers. Stakeholder S5
(Appendix C.10) seemed to acknowledge the inequalities between two different urban
schools in terms of the resource provision and infrastructure:
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At the moment, ehm, because it is not free education, because the resources are
not available to everyone, pupils are not given the opportunity to exercise their
potential. If you look at-, you said you have been a student at School E. If you
look at the resources at School E and you compare to the resources at School C; a
student who would have gone to School C would fare better than the one at
School E by virtue of the resources, by virtue of the place where you would be
staying, the environment which [they stay] would have [had] an impact on the
developmental aspect of these two students or on the other hand the one at School
E has a goal [see he has] a poor background, but [says] I have the brains, let me
explain that, [he] will do far better than the one at School C.
Stakeholder S5 (an Education Officer) pointed out the significance of the school
background, catchment area and its impact on the learning environment. Stakeholder S5
seemed to be making an assumption that School C was better resourced than School E,
hence putting the students at School C at an advantage over those at School E. On the
other hand, Stakeholder S5 also observed that those from School E may have a
motivation to come out of poverty and in a sense strive to perform better so as to give
themselves better chances to perform well at school and in life. There was also an
assumption that students attending School E did not have conducive learning
environments at home in comparison to those attending School C who could be coming
from
affluent
families
with
the
means
to
provide
conducive
learning
facilities/environment at home.
4.2.9 Resources and equipment
Besides receiving textbooks from UNICEF in six subject areas of Mathematics, English,
History, Geography, Science and indigenous languages (UNICEF Zimbabwe, 2011;
UNDP-Zimbabwe, 2012), concerns of sharing a textbook among ten students remained
in the other subject areas not catered for by this programme. This meant the
continuation of work overload in lesson preparation and during class work. Teacher 3A,
however, seemed to hint on the need for teachers to use other resources besides being
good at using them:
…the teacher should know how to use the resources, for example, I have talked
about e-learning. In-service training and resources go hand in hand. Some
teachers are being in-serviced when they are in the profession and a lot of staff
development…
Professional development and in-service training appeared to be critical in the
improvement of teachers’ abilities or competencies. Teacher 1A (Appendix C.3)
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appeared to be conscious of the fact that some teachers find it hard to make use of
available resources when he said:
…Ehh nationally, I think what I noticed there is need to train a teacher who is
innovative first of all. It is very very important. A teacher who is confident to try
out new things, unlike what I think I see in most places where you find equipment
though little in amount gathers dust on the shelves because the teacher does not
have the confidence to handle it. Let alone to try completely new things. If that
could be done it will go a long way to be quite a reasonable step towards
improving our system of education then after that they should have a deliberate
policy also to equip the schools because once you have the school you just have to
bite the bullet face the consequence in terms of the cost; the cost of the education.
Teacher 1A and 3A seemed to have similar perceptions on utilisation of resources. They
both seemed to suggest underutilisation of resources because of a lack of knowhow and
creativity. Training, then, appeared to be important to provide the confidence that
enable teachers to use the resources. Teacher 1A also encouraged improvisation of
resources when he said:
…and some schools are running without any piece of equipment especially in the
science departments. A point in question is one school I taught in 20XX down in
[named location] where I was manning the science department without a single
piece of apparatus and the nearest I got to carrying out an experiment was when I
was using sticks and stones, grass and also string…Ya improvise, without that
otherwise there was nothing, no thermometer.
By improvisation it meant the teacher went out of his way to provide and deliver lessons
that could provide meaning to the learning and understanding of the subject being
taught. Such an effort was also required in the PLAP (Performance Lag Address
Programme) in which teachers had to identify the last point of mastery of students and
then prepare several schemes of work and lesson plans that matched each of the affected
students. This would bring about work overload to the teachers and delivering different
lessons concurrently required skills some teachers may not possess. This could provide
challenges of student indiscipline too. Teacher 3B identified indiscipline as a major
concern at School B when she said:
…even discipline now is difficult because there is this child protection
programme and this child abuse programme; it is difficult to discipline these
children, but if you go to a school where there is proper disciplineka [discipline]
you will be happy and the pupils, they really know what they will be doing. Not
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these ones (a laugh). In rural schools, pupils are wild and even the parents, they do
not even bother about their children.
By labelling students ‘wild’ Teacher 3B appeared to insinuate that the behaviour was
uncontrollable and parents have reached a point beyond caring or being unable to
control their children’s behaviour or attitude towards school. Students’ and to some
extent teachers’ indiscipline was a concern. Teachers 2E (HoD) and 1F (senior teacher)
appeared to have faced challenges with teacher indiscipline as they mentioned
disciplinary measures in their responses. However, reports of indiscipline appeared to
be more prevalent in Schools (B, C, E and F) than in the faith Schools (A and D).
Discipline among students at faith schools was also reported by Sibanda (2013). At
School B, teachers (2B, 3B and 4B) felt they lacked the headmaster’s support to deal
with students’ indiscipline. Indiscipline was blamed on the low calibre of students
enrolled at the four non-faith schools to the extent that some parents were put off
sending their children at this school, which led to a reduced enrolment at School B as
stated by Teacher 2B (Appendix C.4) and also could lead to teacher demotivation and
uncertainty:
…in terms of the pass rate; the pass rate is quite low, two, because of those
weaknesses we have experienced a lot of pupils are transferring to other schools
such that it has become a small school. Because when I came here, about seven
years ago, it was a big school but right now it is a very very small school.
The issue of dealing with student indiscipline appeared to have overwhelmed most of
the teachers participating in this study and it seemed as if they perceived student
indiscipline to be a shared burden or that the head of school had to deal with the issue in
his role as a headteacher.
4.2.10 Concerns and a sense of discontentment and cognitive dissonance
There was a sense of cognitive dissonance among teachers. They seemed to be at crossroads between neglecting and competently performing their duties. Cognitive
dissonance, where individuals hold two or more inconsistent beliefs or values, causes
stress and discomfort. According to Festinger (1957:31), Oxoby (2004:729),
Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai (2006:44) the general reaction would be to reduce the
cognitive dissonance so as to reach consonance. Teacher demotivation, however,
seemed to have overwhelmed and forced some teachers to leave the profession for the
diaspora (or other careers) as reported by Teacher 1C and Teacher 3A. The end of the
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month was a constant reminder of the seriousness of the plight of teachers’ welfare as
Teacher 4C said:
…frustrations always come at the end of the month…but all along the month I
don’t get bogged by anything…a few days after that [month end] I come to enjoy
my job.
This shows that the frustrations could be temporarily suspended until the end of the
month, but the greater part of the month could be a period that could provide an
opportunity for teachers to put effort and perform to an acceptable standard in their
teaching. Teacher 4C also expressed no issues with the job when he said that the:
…social-economic aspect(s) rather than the job itself…was the main demotivator
confronting teachers. Stakeholders appeared to be aware of this issue and seemed to
have sympathised with the teachers, hence the intervention of the School Development
Association or School Development Committee (SDA/SDC) to commit to the payment
of incentives for teachers that supplemented teachers’ monthly salaries. Stakeholder S3
(an Economic Development Practitioner) (see Appendix C.9), however, appeared to be
unimpressed in what he perceived as ‘arm twisting’ parents to pay more on top of the
school fees. This realisation shows the unfairness this practice had on the economically
disadvantaged parents/family, but at the same time the parents realised that teachers will
purposefully waste their children’s time at school if the teachers remained unhappy
because of their poor welfare. However, inequalities in incentive money persisted
between urban and rural school teachers (Zvavahera, 2015) as expressed by Teacher 2B:
…the issue of incentives has produced much difference between the teachers; the
urban teacher, the boarding teacher; they are so different from us. We live
different lives. They would be working on $US800 every month, whilst we are on
very little.
The teachers seemed to have a sense of justification when they failed to put enough
effort into effectively applying themselves to teach students as the teachers continued
blaming their failure to effectively teach students due to the discontent and lack of job
satisfaction. At the same time they appeared to view teaching students as their
contractual duty to be executed at the best of their ability. This dilemma to withhold
(back) a service was in conflict with most teachers’ perceived belief and long standing
teacher responsibility to provide this service unconditionally. Some teachers appeared to
be aware of this conflict within them and to some extent they felt some form of
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discomfort, stress and guilt, similar to Teacher 1C’s (see Appendix C.5) predicament
when he said:
…[I am] happy about my performance, but sometimes there are times when you
feel that you are over using yourself. Sometimes you end up being demotivated to
work, but there are some times when you wake up [saying] I think I am forgetting,
then [you] start to teacher over again.
Teacher 1C seemed to contemplate leaving teaching because of the uncertainty and also
as a form of protest, but a call of duty seemed to win over the downing of tools when he
said:
…the passion is still there, but I don’t know [in] two to three years, because things
are hard.
It appears as if Teacher 1C’s conscience seemed to get the better of him each time he
decided not to work dutifully. Such a scenario shows that some teachers certainly have
the students at heart and would work to the best of their abilities and interests of the
students and try to meet the needs of their students in the most appropriate way
possible. This shows that the dilemma to perform the teaching duty sometimes wins
over the option to withhold effort.
4.2.11 Inability to reduce dissonance and unwillingness to embrace change
Some teachers, however did not seem to have a sense of control over workload,
indiscipline and Performance Lag Address Programme (PLAP). For instance, most
teachers viewed PLAP as extra work, preventing them from performing what they
perceived as their ‘actual job’. Teacher 2F however appeared to be unwilling to embrace
change unless involved. Teacher 2F was also unconvinced about the PLAP programme,
which he seemed to consider burdensome and confusing as teachers were required to be
teaching different things to the same student when he stated:
Someone in form 4 is about to write [sit] their test [examination], you are
supposed to teach them grade 4 [work]. Someone is in grade 5 teaching grade four
staff, then you go in class, you teach ‘O’ level staff. You see what I am looking at.
You see there are those who are coming up with their theories. …They are really
confusing us, this is what we are looking at. They don’t come to the ground even
the CDU [Curriculum Development Unit], when they develop the curriculum. It is
best they move around and ask us our concerns; us as teachers on the ground, but
they don’t do that. I don’t know where they get their information. All I am saying
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is that we need an overhaul of the education system, a complete overhaul of the
system.
Teacher 2F seemed to express why teachers would tend to concentrate their efforts to
completion of syllabi, which could leave students without a firm foundation in
knowledge/understanding to consolidate their intended or newly acquired knowledge.
4.2.12 Failure to separate internal and external grievances
The tenets in the resolution of cognitive dissonance are to reduce or avoid it (ScottKakures, 2009:81). Van Overwale and Jordens (2002:204-205) claimed that the
resultant psychological discomfort emanating from this cognitive inconsistency could
be reduced by a change in beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. When faced with so many
frustrations, teachers may go against Festinger’s outline that predicts actions that lead to
dissonance reduction (Scott-Kakures, 2009:77). As such, teachers may maintain their
position in fear that if they work efficiently, their problems may never be addressed. It
means that teachers could change their attitudes upon removal of the external forces
affecting them. However, when the issue is internal to that particular individual, (that is,
a result of the individual himself/herself), the prospects for one to change their attitudes
are higher. It will be helpful if teachers managed to identify and separate what is
attributed to them (as teachers) and work out how they may change/improve. Issues to
do with the teachers’ professionalism and competence should be identified as internal to
the teachers. These are issues that shape the teacher attributes and something a teacher
has control over. Anything they do not have control over, such as, remuneration would
be viewed as external to the teachers, (that is, not caused by the teacher). It may appear
as if the external demands were overwhelming. As a result, teachers may remain in this
state of cognitive dissonance and continue to compromise students’ learning. Claims by
Teacher 2E that teachers were now available to their students could signal gradual
changes and improvements in the delivery of education. Although, the awarding of
teachers’ salaries below the poverty datum line was better than nothing, it was still not
sufficient to meet the teachers’ needs. Inequalities in the six different schools studied
were also made apparent. Teachers at School A, a boarding school, did not worry about
accommodation and transport whereas those teachers at the five other schools had to
spend more of their money on accommodation and transport. At the time of going for
the classroom observations two teachers, (at School A), who had participated in the
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interview process had also bought cars within a twelve month period, which may show
a sign of improvement in those teachers’ welfare.
4.2.13 Teachers’ sense of unfairness and lack of control on enrolment of students
Most teachers at the four non-faith schools raised concerns over their lack of control
over enrolment of students. They felt the government’s enrolment policy that prohibited
government schools from selecting students was unfair. This entailed enrolment of a
wide spectrum of mixed ability students. It meant some students had the lowest possible
attainment level of 36 units from the four examinable subjects sat at Grade 7.
Disappointment was evident when Teacher 5C said:
…you are expected to perform wonders at the end of the season…when you are
not even given the quality of the students…[we] recruit from 4 units to 36
units…[we] are not supposed to turn away any students…I am just given
students…to teach…but I don’t put an input on how they are recruited
[selected]…
This sentient was also expressed by Teachers 1B, 2B, 3B, 2C, 3C, 1E, 3E, 1F, 4F
among others and was compounded by the fact that all schools were compared on
attainment without due consideration of the make up or ability levels of the students in
these schools. These happened to be non-faith schools who could not select students.
Teacher 2B (see Appendix C.4) implied they were ‘better’ teachers at her school (B)
because they were converting 20 units to a B or A grade (at ‘O’ level). She however,
showed a defeatist attitude when she said:
…we don’t have quality…three quarters (3/4) [of students] is a known fact that
they will fail…
This shows that some teachers seemed to have abdicated to the fact that it’s a student’s
responsibility to either pull through and pass or fail. This kind of attitude seemed to
have been part of the school culture, which was also witnessed by the researcher over 30
years ago and could have been in existence for a long time as some teachers such as
Teachers 2C and 5C, 2B, 3B happily labelled some students ‘dull’ without putting much
thought to it. It appears it would require a lot of effort to educate teachers to realise that
it’s the teachers’ responsibility to inclusively execute their duty to make students work
at their full potential and move away from the labelling culture, which is demeaning and
undignified. Such teachers appeared to be unaware of the impact their behaviour and
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conduct has on the self-esteem, confidence, motivation and well-being of the students
they taught. This could lead to reduced confidence, low self-esteem and demotivation to
learn or attend school, which has a bearing on teacher professionalism and the quality of
education. Teachers would require having awareness that it is their duty to conduct
themselves professionally and to be respectful to students. That implies the use of
inclusive practices that require teachers to treat students as equals and work towards the
founding principles of education for all in a way that extends to achievement for all
rather than for the ‘bright’ students only. In contrast, the two non-government (faith)
schools had the privilege to conduct selection tests and interviews. They were assured
of enrolling the ‘best’ calibre of students, academically and with verbal articulation too.
Such ‘policy’ impositions exacerbated teachers’ lack of control and seemed to permeate
through the system and despised by some teachers, such as, Teacher 2F. This meant
inequalities to access to students’ schools of choice continued to persist in the education
system, were low ability students ended up in low performing schools in terms of
national average pass rate. Recently, the government however announced a ban on form
1 entrance tests (Kakore, 2014), which government viewed as a fundraising exercise.
For example, some schools were reported to have invited 2,500 candidates when they
can only enrol about 100 students for form 1 where they charged administration fees
ranging between US$30 and US$40 per candidate.
4.2.14 A sense of lack of control
Some teachers expressed a sense of lack of control in terms of student-teacher ratios,
student enrolment and the unavailability of resources. These factors, and predominantly
the lack of resources appeared to have a significant negative effect on student pass rates,
which could affect a teacher’s performance and motivational levels. Teacher-pupil ratio
and resources appeared to be a major frustration as identified by Teacher 5C:
…the most important thing that frustrates me is the teacher pupil ratio in
secondary schools and the lack of resources…
A lack of control could possibly influence and bring about that sense of I don’t care and
it is not my fault why things are not working and teachers readily have a scapegoat if
things do not work especially on students’ performance. Teachers have the right to
sufficient resources, but in cases like this one were the teacher is absolutely sure there
are no other means of obtaining resources from the ministry of education it could make
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sense for them to improvise with whatever they can get their hands on in the same way
that one science teacher used card board boxes to make models to aid students’
understanding through visualisation.
4.2.15 Imposition of decisions and a lack of involvement in decision making
Some teachers accused their school leadership and the Ministry of Education for
imposition of decisions. They were unhappy with their non-involvement in decision
making processes at their schools. This appeared to be counterproductive and not living
up to the rhetoric of shared vision coming from teachers in leadership like Teacher 3A
and teacher 1F. The lack of involvement brought about a sense of irrelevance to the
teacher whose ideas were not adopted. According to Wenger (1998:56, 202), a lack of
“mutual engagement” and ownership, could lead to a teacher “identity of nonparticipation that progressively marginalises…” the teacher. This seemed to breed a
sense of rebellion among some teachers (Teachers 1D, 2F, 3F and 4F) and also a sense
of incompetence within those members whose ideas or “…contributions are never
adopted…” (Wenger, 1998:202). Consequently, the sense of mutual ownership of the
vision or meaning eludes that particular school’s community of practice and as such,
could fail to create an effective teaching community of practice.
4.2.16 A sense of a disaffected teacher, disengagement and detachment
Faced with too many frustrations and an inability to have their inequalities/grievances
resolved, most teachers appeared to reveal attitudes of a disaffected and disengaged
teacher and in some cases led to detachment. It appeared as if the more teachers felt
they lacked control of the means to improve their welfare and conditions of work or
working environment, the more they felt hopeless/disaffected. Changes seemed to be
imposed from above. And these changes appeared to happen or to be implemented
without proper consultation or communication with the people on the ground as
Teachers 2F, 3F and 4F appeared to emphasise. Teacher 5C for example, perceived a
teacher as someone whose contributions did not matter and was only obliged to follow
rules and regulations:
…these schools are sort of tailor made, they are just rules and regulations that we
[teachers] should follow from the government…
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In this case teachers appeared not to be involved in decision making and would not
bother to come up with their own initiatives. This appeared to reveal a sense of
disengagement leading to detachment when teachers seemed to resist other ideas or
anything they perceived extra burdens such as PLAP (Performance Lag Address
Programme). Poor communication or lack of consultation with teachers appeared to be a
concern as Teacher 2F pointed out that education authorities appeared to be imposing
ideas and disregarding the input of the teachers thereby missing the opportunity of
instilling a sense of ownership among teachers on these government initiatives. This
failure to consult and the imposition of ideas appeared to be a major hindrance to
engage or fully engage practicing teachers to fulfil their roles and make contributions in
education initiatives aimed at improving the quality or any aspects of quality in
secondary school education. Imposition appeared to breed a culture of disengagement,
rebellion and detachment. There was also a sense of hopelessness in terms of
improvement of teachers’ welfare. Instead of performing their duties for the love of the
profession, Stakeholder S6 (an Education Officer) seemed to have observed a trend
where most teachers expected some form of incentive for the teachers to put effort to
engage with their work:
…in most cases I want to say, most of the teachers that we have are no longer
dedicated as the old horses. Their attitude now is whatever they do, the question
is; what do I get? They are not getting much out of it. They don’t put a lot of
effort…
This seems to point to an emerging school culture synonymous with the corrupt culture
that was affecting and prevalent in some transactions in the daily lives of the greater
population of the country cited by Mapira and Matikiti (2012:97, 99); Sibanda (2013)
and Gweru (2015:). Similarly other cultures on work ethics seemed to be emerging as
observed by Stakeholder S6 who also claimed that those teachers from established
schools who received incentives work hard as opposed to those who did not. The
disaffection also appeared to be a result of teachers’ inability to persuade the
(government) education authorities to improve on resources, infrastructure (particularly
in rural areas) and the working conditions or environment. Whilst it made sense to
expect some form of payment in return for a service, taking incentives as a right
appeared to demonstrate the extent and the desperate nature of teachers’ welfare. The
idea of incentives appeared to be a demotivator and a preoccupation for some teachers
as Stakeholder S6 (an Education Officer) observed in her comments:
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…while it [incentives] was introduced to motivate them [teachers], [it] is actually
demotivating them and teachers are taking this to be a right so they are no longer
doing their work, they spend most of their time discussing incentives…
In response to the statement on the state of the schools, most teachers cited a lack of
improvement in schools. However, Teacher 1E appeared to notice a stagnation in
development or improvement at his school, especially in terms of resources:
…my school hasn’t improved as much from the time I came here in [the late]
1990s [specific year was provided], in terms of the resources, they are still very
very poor. At one time we had some computers and they broke down. The school
is operating with two computers only…
Operating with limited resources could have led to the development of teacher
behavioural patterns typifying school cultures dependent on the situation at a particular
setting. Teacher 1E appeared to notice regression. A lack of replacement or repair of
equipment or resources seemed to be the norm. This has an impact on teaching and
learning in an almost run-down environment depleted of resources. Teacher 3B made
the same revelation at her school when she pointed out at a room full of broken chairs
and desks. However, when repairs were carried out they were mostly completed to a
very poor quality. To prove this point, Teacher 3B also showed the researcher some
badly repaired window burglar bars which were welded to a poor standard.
Stakeholder S3 (an Economic Development Practitioner) (see Appendix C.9) identified
that a lack of funding inhibited school leaders from effectively running their schools.
The education authorities’ or government’s inability to consult or communicate key
issues related to teachers’ job may have deprived most teachers of the satisfaction of
being valued as the people on the ‘ground’. Also, that aspect of being a change agent
appeared to have been taken away from them. Teacher 5C (a head of department)
appeared to be convinced that inputs/ideas on change suggested by teachers were
irrelevant and that such changes could only come from a higher office. Teacher 5C had
this to say:
…even if you are asked for the changes, they are not taken up or your ideas are
not implemented, even if you are right, you do not effect change being a teacher,
even being [a] headmaster, probably, from the permanent secretary onwards,
those are the people who can effect changes.
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Such a feeling creates and/or consolidates that sense of disengagement and
demotivation, which could lead to detachment as the teachers saw no point in making
contributions because they thought their ideas would never be adopted or implemented.
Instead, the teachers concerned could adopt an identity of non-participation identified
by Wenger (1998:203).
4.2.17 A sense of subdued teachers/helplessness
Non-involvement could reduce teacher motivation and dedication. A lack of most forms
of development or improvement of schools appeared to inculcate a sense of
helplessness, hopelessness and ineffectiveness. It subsequently bred attitudes of
subdued teachers as they seemed to put less effort in performing their duties as
Stakeholder S6 (an Education Officer) suggested. Any form of incentives would be
expected to be a morale booster for the teachers, which according to Stakeholder S6
appeared to be more likely to happen at established schools. A key Stakeholder S4 (a
District Education Officer) seemed to be more frustrated, helpless and subdued on his
behalf and that of teachers owing to his failure to provide the necessary resources as
part of the district education officer’s role. Stakeholder S4 acknowledged that:
…some of the schools seem to lack basic infrastructure. That frustrates. You will
want to give as much as you want, but without infrastructure, even if you give
them books they have nowhere to store them…
This concurs with Stakeholder S5 (an Education Officer, see Appendix C.10), who
claimed some children were still being taught under trees and in some cases the schools
were failing to:
…attract suitably qualified teachers to teach there…
He, Stakeholder S4, also appeared to express dismay on the issue of incentives, which
appeared to provide him with problems to resolve:
…the question of incentives…has created some animosity between the admin and
the teachers (uhh), therefore you end up with too many cases to deal with.
Stakeholder S4 stressed the importance of capacity building and the economy when he
acknowledged that:
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…it is difficult to sustain [schools/education] when the economy is not
[performing], when there is nothing to eat [or] drinking water. Everything is
driven by the economy; like the economic meltdown of 2008, there was nothing,
so how could we sustain the schools…(another interruption -pause)…
This shows that there is the need to disentangle issues and establish the source of the
troubles being faced in education. Yes, the economy could be an issue in terms of the
provision of material resources, but what role does the ministry or school play in terms
of capacity building in terms of human resources development to enable the teachers to
work at their highest ability? According to England’s Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael
Wilshaw poor performances of many schools in cities in the North and Midlands of
England which are better funded and resourced in comparison to the six Zimbabwean
secondary schools were “languishing in mediocrity” and have “failed miserably year
after year after year” (Coughlan, 2015). This could be an indication that there is a point
when underperformance becomes an ‘acceptable’ occurrence as the trends of failure
continues in consecutive years over a long period of time regardless of the economic
situation of the country. In this case teachers appeared to have expected and accepted
poor performance and almost seemed to believe nothing can be done to change the
situation. They also happen to have run out of ideas to achieve and sustain better
performances. The Zimbabwean secondary school teachers had an opportunity to
improve their performance and that of students through the Performance Lag Address
Programme (PLAP). The provision of PLAP to reduce the gap of mastery of children
provided an opportunity to enhance teachers’ skills on provision of inclusive education.
Unfortunately most teachers only perceived this as a definitive one-off exercise. This
appeared to be aimed at making students catch up with the syllabus and working at the
same topics with all students in the classroom. But have all the students reached the
same mental capacity or capability of mastery of the subjects being taught? Teachers
seemed to be forgetting that no matter what level students operate even the streamed set
of students they deemed ‘bright’ or ‘dull’ could all have different mental capabilities
and in need of tailored teaching and learning styles or interventions for them to achieve
their full potential. This could also be the case with the teachers who could have
different perceptions of what education entails and only focus on pass rates and not the
acquisition of knowledge and skills that could be used by the students in the future.
Because PLAP appeared to be definitive with a timeframe to which it was to be
completed, this made implementation a challenge as teachers failed to view education as
a transformative process. This could be an area where the education system lacks and
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lags behind other education systems. However recent studies in Zimbabwe including
Dzobo, (2015) and Zvavahera (2015:4-5) seemed to focus on the physical resources and
the teachers’ welfare instead of capacity building.
4.2.18 Capacity building
On capacity building, Stakeholder S4 emphasised the development of the human
resources that could produce a conducive working environment too. Despite the
frustration that teachers were leaving to work in other countries, Stakeholder S4 was
however complementary on the quality of the products of the Zimbabwean education
system when he said:
…that is why when they [school leavers] move out of Zimbabwe, they go to
South Africa; they make a hit because our education makes a person what is
expected [of them]…he goes to the UK…
He (Stakeholder S4) made reference to a South African headteacher leading an
underperforming school:
…why is it your school is not improving in terms of results and he said I am sorry,
I do not have a Zimbabwean teacher. Elsewhere, they give credit to us [referring
to the Zimbabwean education]…
Other aspects of despair identified quality of teachers. Stakeholder S6 (an Education
Officer) seemed to be in agreement with Teacher 1A who perceived the training of
teachers as poor when she (Stakeholder S6) said:
…not only that, the lecturers themselves are not training [or] giving these
[student] teachers the correct information; the correct training and so they tend to
get out of college raw…
This appeared to agree with Teacher 1A’s (a former headmaster), (see Appendix C.3),
suggestion that he wanted to train the trainers. Such views further demonstrated a sense
of a compromised education system, which appeared to be producing unsuitably
qualified teachers. However, Stakeholder S6 appeared to be focusing on the calibre of
student teachers and claimed that:
…students [from] former [Group] A schools are a lot better and they tend to
grasp items much faster…
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This was directed at student teachers’ abilities and their grasp of the English language.
Stakeholder S6 also placed blame on the education officers themselves for not doing
their job properly:
…our supervision also is not really effective, we should be inspectors; should
monitor and advise teachers so that the education becomes better than what it is
now, but the supervision is not that effective. We tend to get into schools; we get
the documents of the teachers and fail to give the teachers the necessary advice.
The teachers themselves don’t seem to know what they are supposed to do. In
fact, it starts from colleges that produces these teachers, they [student teachers]
are not trained properly; the person who is taken in is under qualified; someone
who has a C [Grade] in maths goes to college and specialises in mathematics and
someone who re-sit English several times, specialises in English…
Besides the ineffectiveness of the monitoring system by education inspectors, this
further displayed a sense of a compromised education system in the form of the calibre
of the entrants into the profession. Better qualified candidates could have shunned the
teaching profession because of the poor teacher welfare.
Stakeholder S3 (see Appendix C.9) observed inequalities and better provision of
resources by private schools than the government schools. Stakeholder S5 (see
Appendix C.10), also appeared to be acknowledging inequalities, shortages or
unavailability of resources and its dire impact in rural schools:
…the physical resources are not available. Children taught under trees. You have
lowly qualified teachers and at times, unqualified teachers…
Although Stakeholder S5 acknowledged an improved supply of textbooks, he however,
preferred that any improvements in the provision of infrastructure or resources to be
biased in favour of rural school settings. This could attract suitably qualified teachers to
those areas. Stakeholder S5 also appeared to be sympathetic to the needs and welfare of
rural school teachers, which appeared to be worse off than that of their urban or
boarding school counterparts:
…the rural teacher compared with the urban teacher, they are kilometres apart in
terms of their welfare. The accommodation is poor. The incentives from the
parents are poor as compared to those in urban areas. You have to travel there.
The community just don’t recognise you as a teacher…
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This seems to reflect that rural school teachers were more subdued in comparison to the
urban school teachers. Stakeholder S5 expressed concerns over unemployment of
school leavers and appeared to be critical of the curricula, which he claimed, was still
British and unchanged for more than 30 years. He appeared to be suggesting the need to
restructure it to promote self-reliance so as to reduce unemployment. Fully aware of the
numerous unemployed ‘A’ and ‘O’ level school leavers, Stakeholder S5 appeared to
suggest that the education system was:
…rather broad. Very academic [and ] it does not pave way for self-reliance. It
must be re-shaped…
This also brought to the fore a sense of irrelevance of the curricula that further
compromises the education system hence the need to review the curricula to strengthen
a needs-driven education system announced by Education Minister Dokora
(Nyamanhindi, 2013). Besides this, Stakeholder S5 also identified and blamed this on
the formation of new private schools offering a narrow curriculum and run by
unsuitably qualified teachers:
…a mushrooming of schools, which are not of any use at all, for example, ‘A’
level, they are barely in name. Less than 10 pupils without suitably qualified
teachers. The curriculum is narrow…
Such observations from an education officer demonstrated frustrations and concerns
which may require serious consideration when it comes to capacity building and
strategies to chart the way forward in the provision of quality education. It appeared as
if Stakeholder S5 was powerless to do anything about it, even in his capacity as an
education officer.
4.2.19 Status of schools and school culture
Some schools appeared to have at least one dominant culture. At School A and D, the
more successful schools, there was a ‘can do better’ culture, but mainly led by the
deputy headmasters in collaboration with their headmasters as evidenced by Teacher
3A-deputy head, Teacher 1A-head of department, Teacher 6D-deputy headmaster and
Teacher 4E-deputy headmistress. This may have a direct link to concerns raised about
the lack of involvement of teachers in decision making. The school culture seemed to be
shaped by those in the school leadership. Some claimed to have a shared vision with
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some of the teachers, but some teachers seemed not to be compliant to the school ethos.
In this context, for example, Teacher 1F hinted on teacher insubordination and relying
on disciplinary action:
...well, when you are working with people they refuse to follow instructions. They
disobey especially at this time when pupils are doing [sitting] their exams. You
make follow-ups, someone is absent. It frustrates. At times you solve the issues
amicably because if you are angry every day you age faster, so they say
(laughter).
At School B, leadership was viewed as weak and students were mostly branded as
failures and teachers seemed to portray a defeatist attitude saying students were
hopeless with no chance of passing at ‘O’ level. At School C, Teachers 2C and 5C
seemed to label their mixed and low ability students. Most teachers, however, seemed to
be unaware of ways or initiatives to help such students. It appears to illustrate the lack
of inclusive education in the schools studied.
4.2.20 Teacher (negative) attitudes to low ability students and professionalism or
ethics
Some teachers in the government (non-faith) schools labelled the low ability students.
They seemed to blame the low ability students for the poor pass rates and appeared to
ignore the teacher’s role and input. Teacher 1F, however, seemed to be confusing
student ability to laziness when she blamed the withdrawal of the stick as a contributing
factor leading to the students’ poor performance at school. She believed the stick was
used to force/encourage students to do work and also for discipline. Teacher 1F had this
to say:
…The education system somehow, when I compare with our days it seems there
is a vast difference because when the stick was withdrawn from schools the punch
now has been lessened…
Here, Teacher 1F was failing to accept the developments in education and the society in
general. An adoption of other strategies or teacher actions to provide meaningful
learning would be preferable to encourage students to engage with their education rather
than the use of the stick. Teachers would then cater for every student in an inclusive
manner. In light of the diversity of students’ abilities, many countries have been
reported to have enacted educational policies that encourage inclusion of children
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perceived to have learning disabilities or difficulties (Rouse, n.d.:4). However, Teacher
1F claimed students had lost hope in education as a means to provide them entry into
careers/professions that could improve their lives. She (Teacher 1F) appeared to be
encouraging students of the importance of education when she said:
…One strategy is continuously reminding them [students] of the importance of
education because quite a number have been attracted to Chiadzwa, ya, you know
what happens at Chiadzwa because there was a time, to them education had
become meaningless. Do you know there was this guy; he wasn’t academically
gifted and so when he got money from Chiadzwa he actually threw money at that
gate there saying I can pay all teachers here and that has been ingrained in their
[students’] minds that education was meaningless. Within a week they can buy
cars, this and that. So the dream anyway has been shattered. So they are beginning
to come back and we are conscietising them that things might change one day and
there is no country that will do well without professions. Some are taking the
advice asking for advice and so on and so...
The get rich quick ‘syndrome’ that had been ingrained in people/students’ minds came
to an end when access at the Chiadzwa diamond fields in East Zimbabwe was stopped.
At this point Teacher 1F noticed that some students appeared to have started to take
school seriously. Teacher 4E also had a similar message to students, emphasising the
point that the current situation facing the country at the time was a passing phase in the
history of the country and expected a better future:
…by guiding them [students]. By encouraging them to learn [that] the future
country will be different. It is just a period that we have at the moment, but as
times goes on we are expecting things to be better and we expect at that period [in
the future the country] require people who are actually learned. We also brought
around or asked some students like yourself to talk to them as motivational
speakers…
This foresight and optimism expressed by Teachers 1F and 4E seemed to be one of the
things that could be providing some hope to many teachers in this study to remain in the
profession irrespective of the hardships confronting them.
4.2.21 Compromised professionalism or professional identity
Teacher professionalism should depict the competencies or skills of the profession.
Klotz et al. (2014:8) defined competence as a cognitive disposition that is learnable,
which, according to Wenger (1998:149), expresses identity as a learning trajectory. The
learning trajectory was exemplified by a student teacher, Teacher 3D on teaching
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practice, who felt unfairly treated when she was instructed to do extra work to cover for
an absent qualified teacher and appeared to think the pressure was good for her in the
future:
…we perform at our level as students [student teachers]. You know, as a student
sometimes you are asked to do this. Let me give you an example. We were asked
to set examination papers of which I was given mine to set. Then I marked what
was mine and then the other teacher was not there marking ZIMSEC [national
examinations] and I was asked to mark, also the other paper. So they were about
250 pupils for paper one; I was forced to, because I am a student and if I was to
deny [refuse] you know, I am here, I am working and also I am learning. I have to
learn that even if I finished my diploma I have to go somewhere where there is
that pressure. So I have to adjust and be in that position, but it was hard because
you see now I am still writing [marking and recording marks]. The other
colleagues have finished [because] their teachers [mentors] have helped them and
my mentor just marked form one. It is hard as a student, but you have to adjust
because I want to achieve something.
The fact that Teacher 3D could not say no to the request to mark another (qualified)
teacher’s examination papers demonstrated the power dynamics at play, where the
student teacher feared refusal to mark the papers could jeopardise her chances of
passing her assessment as a student teacher. This also shows that identity is formed
through experience and participation and also how others reify themselves (Wenger,
1998:149). A need to adapt and endure the pressure to work as a teacher seemed to have
registered and Teacher 3D seemed to acknowledge the pressure was good for her and at
the same time have that ability to learn to adapt. In a community of practice this
socialisation process also alerts student teachers to avoid any instructional strategies,
classroom management approaches or student engagement techniques that did not work
for their mentors (Stewart, 2012:249) or through their personal experience. As such, the
student teachers acquire and/or become more confident in their abilities as their
knowledge and awareness of what works and doesn’t increase. This implies avoiding
anything with a negative impact on students’ learning or the classroom environment.
Wenger (1998:152) was of the view that full members in a community of practice
should competently reveal their familiarity with the practice. This manifests in the way
the teacher engages with others and expertly participates accountably in a continuously
developing community of practice. Wenger (1998:152-153) termed this mutuality of
engagement, which seemed to have waned at the height of the economic downturn and
appeared to be gradually coming back at various levels in some schools in this study.
Some participating teachers expressed a sentiment that teachers were doing their job and
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trying their best compared to the period between 2006 and 2008. Teacher 1C (see
Appendix C.5) did not hide his thoughts as he recalled the period between 2006 and
2008 as a time when performance at schools was low when he said:
…we almost had zero performance [pass rate] because the education system had
almost gone to the dogs…
This was in contrast to 2012 when most teachers, including Teacher 2E (see Appendix
C.7) acknowledged that:
…we are now teaching right now I think we are almost there. I cannot really say
that yes, we have reached a point that we have succeeded, but we are trying our
level best and we are really proud of our leader, especially the head. People
cannot just walk in and do whatever they want to do. Effective learning is taking
place, so I think we are trying…
Teacher 2E appeared to be referring to discipline and orderliness and working in silence
as indicators for effective learning since there will be less disruption in classrooms
without actually stating the processes and outcome of learning that qualifies as effective
learning. What Teacher 2E referred to as the ‘best’, could be relative. Although
discipline, orderliness and working in silence provides a calm and conducive
environment to learn, it could however be argued that the ‘best’ could apply if the
teachers were also using the appropriate and effective approaches to teaching and
learning.
4.2.22 Reluctance to accept accountability and commitment
Although frustrations and constraints appeared to be dominant in teachers’ responses,
Teacher 2E (HoD) firmly denounced and did not want underperformers in teaching. She
(Teacher 2E, see Appendix C.7) seemed to believe in commitment and accountability of
teachers when she said teachers:
…are employed to work; do your duty or you leave the post and leave it to the one
who is prepared…
Despite expressing disappointment on pay day, Teacher 4C seemed to agree with
Teacher 2E, when he pledged his commitment and upholding the mandate to perform
his teaching duties throughout the other days of the month. This confirms Teacher 2B’s
(see Appendix C.4) and Stakeholder 1C’s sentiments that only those with a ‘calling’ do
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concentrate on the job. It could also suggest that the lack of opportunities made
uncommitted teachers who are motivated by money or job security to enter the
profession.
4.2.23 Commitment, monitoring and accountability
Participants in all the schools studied appeared to be aware of guidelines for the
monitoring of students, teachers and school leaders. Teachers were expected to check on
students’ progress and invoke necessary interventions or involve parents when required.
This involved heads of department, senior teachers, deputy heads and the headmasters
who checked upon teachers’ work as stated by Teacher 2E (an HoD):
Then there are also HoDs who move around to check [the] teaching process for
teachers and things like whether the teacher submits both their exercise books and
notebooks to the HoD and then the HoD write a critique and comments.
Some of the things checked upon included teacher attendance, lesson planning, written
work, marking, recording of marks, feedback to students and students’ reports. Teacher
1D suggested that monitoring was excessive:
…[we are] heavily monitored. Checking to see whether you are around, checking
to see whether you have attended all the lessons, and checking to see if you are to
go out of the school campus; whether you have lessons and do not have lessons;
they check the time-in [and] time out.
Monitoring entailed holding teachers to account. However, this is not clear whether this
was proactive or reactive, which could depend on the situation. This involved checks
and balances on teaching through observations, quality of students’ work and marking
by the heads of department (HoDs), school leadership and education inspectors. The
education inspectors from the Ministry of Education, Sport, Culture and Arts also
monitored the performance of school headmasters and their schools. Ministry officials
could visit schools unannounced. The monitoring process appeared to be demanding
and that may explain why teachers ranked accountability low in the questionnaires.
However, both stakeholders and teachers seemed to acknowledge and expected school
leaders’ commitment to continuously cater for the teachers’ needs.
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4.2.24 Appraisal and ineffective teacher professional development
Appropriate teacher professional development programmes should be in place if the
teacher appraisal system in the Zimbabwean education system was thorough. The
monitoring exercises must have identified issues that reflected the best or poor teaching
approaches and work within these guidelines to help develop the skills and attitudes to
maximise the capabilities of the teachers. It was clear HoDs and other members of the
school leadership had discussions with teachers after observations and during the
monitoring exercises. However, the outcome and feedback depended on what the
teachers and the leaders perceived as appropriate and what they judged as areas for
professional development or improvement. This could be a question of whether the
appraisers strictly followed the assessment criteria and as Teacher 4C suggested that he
could not fail a friend, which leaves the education system open to abuse. Since teacher
appraisal had been on-going for all these years and still finding that not many changes
to improve teaching had occurred raises questions about effectiveness of this teaching
community of practice. It could imply that the recommendations or feedback identified
some issues, but appraisers could be providing the wrong advice or the wrong feedback.
This seemed to confirm Teacher 4F’s claim that the appraisers were not trained to
effectively conduct or implement the appraisal system. It also concurred with a teacher
representative leader who seemed to question the credibility of the Results Based
Management appraisal system. He (the teacher representative leader) claimed that the
performance based (salary) increment was applied before the conclusion of the
assessment process (Murwira, 2014).
4.2.25 Dissonance between teachers and stakeholders on accountability
Participating teachers, in contrast to other stakeholders, revealed a reluctance to
understand the importance of accountability. That could imply that there was an
existence of underlying issues deemed justifiable to provide most teachers’ credence not
to put effort and exert themselves on their job. The teachers in this study appeared to be
rebellious with little or no conscience as to why it would be important to work
competently to establish accountability and a commitment level that guaranteed a fullyfledged membership in such a community of practice. This may entail full participation
and competently maintaining teacher professionalism and accountability, but some
teachers such as Teacher 1D seemed to despise the monitoring process especially on
attendance. This concurred with Teacher 2E’s claims that the headmaster at School E
goes around the school checking if teachers were at the right places and time. Teacher
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1D, however, would have preferred leadership that was: …not too strict, they [leaders]
should be flexible.
Such a feeling appeared to breed further frustrations that seemed to affect the
monitoring and appraisal system and the relationships between the school leaders and
the teachers. With reference to colleges, Avis (2005:211) identified loss of morale as
one of the ‘unintended consequences’ of the appraisal system (or performance
management). Also, under such circumstances, teachers may not readily take risks to
venture into anything including innovative work, which entails undertaking extra work
that veered off their stipulated main targets intended to fulfil their named areas of
accountability.
4.2.26 Teacher Appraisal
Besides displaying such discontent over accountability, the progress of students,
teachers and the school leaders was monitored. This helped with the appraisal system
aligned to results (the Results Based Management appraisal system, RBM). The Schools
and the Ministry of Education, Sport, Culture and Arts sanctioned the monitoring of
teachers as a step to hold teachers to account. Feedback from supervisors was
instrumental in implementation of staff development of teachers as a vital stage that
identified areas of improvement in aspects of teaching for learning. Documentation and
maintaining records by teachers appeared to help track progress and flag out
underachievers. However, Teacher 2F (senior teacher) found documentation
unnecessary and taking away teacher time to actually teach. He (Teacher 2F see
Appendix C.8) also viewed its implementation as authoritarian when he spoke about
school leaders that:
…emphasise[d] much on documentation than teaching and being authoritarian…
Teacher 2F’s concerns were critical of the imposition and theoretical nature of the
developmental initiatives in secondary schools, and would have preferred evidence
based initiatives that came from the “…ground…”, that is, from the teachers
themselves. He claimed the results based management appraisal system was:
…a lot of theory…emphasising more on documentation and now teachers are
saying these people [referring to headmasters/school leaders and education
officers] want to see documents, we will give them documents…
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Here, Teacher 2F seemed to be referring to a diversion of teachers’ efforts from
classroom teaching towards filling up of appraisal forms or lesson plans to what was
deemed an acceptable standard. This appeared to suggest that the school leadership and
the education officers were more interested in the documentation or paper work rather
than the actual teaching and teachers were expected to produce these documents on
request. Whilst Teacher 2E (HoD) seemed to take a firm stance on underperforming
teachers, surprisingly, Teacher 4C (senior teacher) was prepared to protect and cover-up
for underperforming teachers when he acknowledged that:
…there are loop holes, I cannot give my fellow teacher a poor mark and try to
keep our relations…
In this case Teacher 4C would provide inaccurate information on the Performance Key
Result (PKR) form. Such comradeship/misplaced loyalties and cover up compromises
accountability and professionalism at the expense of the good of the school and
students. Such a practice in the appraisal process seemed to verify Teacher 1C’s (see
Appendix C.5) claim that some of these inadequacies in performance of duty in the
secondary school education could be a lack of effective implementation of initiatives
rather than a lack of knowledge or expertise.
Teacher 4F also expressed her reservations about the appraisal system when she claimed
that some appraisals were simply submitted because the appraisers were not fully
trained. This meant some appraisees’ performance could be misrepresented and unfairly
or incorrectly receive or be denied rewards at the end of the year. Teacher 4F had this to
say:
…not many teachers responsible for the appraisal system knew how it actually
worked…
4.2.27 Commitment and accountability of the school leaders
Most teachers and stakeholders thought the school leadership showed commitment and
accountability in school development including the professional development of
teachers. In-service training of teachers was encouraged by school heads as confirmed
by Teacher 1F when she said:
…we are doing our best here because the head encourages the people [teachers at
School F] to further their education…
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This meant studying for higher teaching qualifications above what the teachers
currently possessed such as moving from diploma to a degree qualification.
The School Development Association/Committee (SDA/SDC) in conjunction with the
school leadership seemed to have a collaborative mandate and commitment to cater for
the needs of the teachers and school at large. It meant that relationships among the
different parties were very important and to be maintained in a way that facilitated
constructive and good working relationships between schools and parents/guardians.
This was pointed out by Teacher 1F whose school seemed to enjoy a healthy working
relationship with the parents:
…We are doing very well. We call annual general meetings they [parents] are
coming in large numbers. The response was generally not good, but this time they
are coming in dozens because we have sold ourselves out. So they come with their
suggestions and you know if you establish a good relation with the parents you
will be trading on safe ground because the money comes from them. They can
withdraw their money. So each time we call for an annual general meeting we put
everything-our income expenditure on manila sheets [so that] everyone can read.
They just want transparency, yes. They actually ask for advice concerning their
kids, ehh, when they are giving problems at home they actually bring the
problems here at school. That partnership is very very important. If the kids are
giving us problems here we also involve the parents. In that way we are helping
the kid out…
She, Teacher 1F went on to mention the significance of the SDC (School Development
committee) and the qualities of the SDC members and the leadership:
…ya, the good relationship is sustained through the SDC, which plays a vital role.
If members are former teachers or say professionals rather, I think that will do.
Ya, it will sustain the relationship…
Perhaps this shows the advantage of working with likeminded people who could
provide shared vision and a better understanding of the situation including strategies to
meet the general requirements to sustain the running of a school. It also shows that
transparency is vital to get the trust of the parents and direct involvement provides the
idea of ownership and pushes the parents to cooperate fully to meet the targets that
enable the school to develop and prosper.
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4.2.28 Relevance or quality of the curriculum
There were some concerns on the relevance and quality of the secondary school
education and the calibre of ‘O’ level school leavers. Most teachers and stakeholders
thought the curriculum was too academic. This was contrary to two practical (home
economics) subject teachers, (2A and 5D), who thought the curriculum was appropriate.
The two teachers also thought their schools fulfilled government directives to expose
students to practical subjects. Some teachers seemed to be unaware that it was part of
government policy that schools should offer practical subjects to students as directed by
policy Circular Number P77 of 2006 (Mandiudza et al., 2013:128; UNDP-Zimbabwe,
2012:27). Teacher 5D seemed to be confirming the Circular Number 77 directives when
she stated that:
…practical subjects have been taken to be pre-requirements before you register
[examinations] even if the candidate may not have registered but during school
time he or she should have been doing [attending] at least one practical subject…
At School C, Teacher 4C claimed they offered six practical subjects and seemed to
think that the industry was not contributing towards the development of the curriculum
and should not blame schools for the curriculum’s failure to meet the industry’s needs
when he said:
...they [industry] are not justified; they [industry] must chip in…
Potentially, the industry could help provide the necessary resources to shape and
develop the school curriculum.
4.2.29 Leadership styles, performance and disciplinary issues
Teacher 1F seemed to be facing some resistance/uncooperative behaviour at her school
(School F) as she appeared to hint on use of disciplinary action against teachers who did
not comply with school procedures/rules. Enforcement of rules suggests what Teacher
2F perceived as an authoritarian type of leadership at his school. Leadership styles may,
however, match what was happening on the ground. In this case, a firm approach
synonymous with the transactional leadership could be necessary to such Zimbabwean
school settings. The autocratic nature of this leadership style (Jogulu, 2010:706) could
force teachers to comply with rules and regulations as failure to do so would invoke
punitive measures from the leadership or relevant authorities. Hadebe (2013:74) seemed
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to insinuate that ineffective leadership could result in failure and/or underperformance
of subordinates. A lack of accountability at this level could compromise the quality of
the secondary school education with little hope of improving. A focus to identify the
deficiencies and areas of improvement or staff development through in-service training
from the Ministry of Education or school based training focused on shared practice
could help and foster accountability or responsibility.
4.2.30 Deficiencies in the education examination board and the curriculum
Some teachers and stakeholders seemed to have lost faith in the Zimbabwe Secondary
Examination Council (ZIMSEC), which is responsible for national examinations. There
were reports of inefficiency at ZIMSEC as Teacher 2C thought:
…Cambridge used to mould; nurture our pupils in a way that was acceptable;
ZIMSEC, too many discrepancies; too many flaws…
Teacher 2C appeared be unaware that the Cambridge based examination curriculum had
also been criticised for being too academic (Nziramasanga Commission Report,
1999:302). Teacher 2C seemed to be comfortable with the established brand, (the
University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate), which she experienced.
Similar sentiments were also put across by Stakeholder S1. This demonstrates
reluctance to change and at the same time reveals a sense of inferiority complex that
demonstrates that some teachers and stakeholders appeared to think they are worthless
with no ability to develop their own examination board and preferred outsourcing
externally set examinations in preference to the local ZimSEC examination board. The
ZimSEC localisation of the examination board was intended to reduce costs and also to
cater for the local people better. Teachers 3A, 4C and 2E, however, showed further
interest by seeking my opinion on what I thought about what I had seen at their schools.
This demonstrated that the study could have generated relevant conversations that
offered opportunities to receive feedback from an outsider, which, according to Wenger
(1998:48) affords participants a chance to explore opinions and reflect. These teachers
appeared to be opening up to a new way of looking at education. This seemed to have
made them reflect on their practice and also to solicit for advice.
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4.2.31 Appropriate implementation of actions to improve a community of practice
The Ministry of Education had ongoing in-service training programmes cited by most
teachers, including Teacher 1B. These training programmes also appeared to be
misdirected or poorly implemented as Teacher 1C claimed that there were ideas, but
what lacked was their implementation. According to Wenger (1998:125-6), appraisers
would have been expected to have the ability to assess the appropriateness of actions
and outcomes that reflected the membership of the teaching community of practice. In
this case there was an expectation for appraisers to uphold professionalism or
professional standards of teaching that expressed their competencies or accountability
(Wenger, 1998:57). Although the appraisal system was meant to identify areas of
improvement, Avis (2005:212) notes this could be marred by the distrust and ‘blame
culture’ associated with performance management. Those who embarked on networking
like Teacher 3A were bound to benefit from teachers in other settings. This may require
those willing to acknowledge, share and learn from mistakes (Avis, 2005:213). It also
provides platforms to examine and derive meaning, moulded around learning and
experiences of members whose aim was to sustain and also engage in necessary actions
that may enable the community of practice to continue to improve (Wenger, 1998:3-5,
125-126). This may be aimed at optimisation and sustaining the community of practice
and maximising its relevance to the beneficiaries of services provided. For teachers to
keep up, they have to be creative and focus on knowledge-based innovations (Craft and
Jeffery, 2008). This was in keeping with the business world culture, where an enterprise
that was knowledgeable and abreast with “…prevailing business conditions
outperformed their counterparts in several ways…” (Deal and Peterson, 1994:4). It
appears as if those teachers who were engaged in networking, like Teachers 3A, 6D and
1F, seemed to be informed and better placed to have some understanding of appropriate
strategies and approaches required to achieve effective teaching and learning.
4.2.32 Summary
Interviewees revealed the accidental and the inspired teacher identity. Also a lack of
confidence in the secondary education system that was blamed on the neglect of
capacity building practices and sufficient funding by government emerged. Lack of
control and frustrations expressed by teachers appeared to be the main reasons of
discontentment and justification not to accept accountability. Teachers appeared to view
(commitment and) accountability as an unnecessary burden to their daily working life
when remuneration and welfare were still poor. This brought a sense of cognitive
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dissonance, conditionality and lack of professionalism in this community of practice. A
failure to implement learning and teaching improvement strategies uncovered during
teacher monitoring exercises or feedback from lesson observations appeared to be one
of the drawbacks or flaws holding back the development and improvement of an
effective teaching community of practice. Imposition and the inability to fully involve
teachers to formulate and implement transformative initiatives seemed to take away
prospects of teachers from taking ownership of these initiatives to improve the quality
of the secondary school education system. There was also an incapability to view
initiatives such as the Performance Lag Address Programme (PLAP) as transformative
exercises to build on teacher effectiveness on inclusive student-centred education.
Instead, teachers viewed these exercises as burdensome and definitive in nature and
missed the opportunity to continuously explore best practice in the process.
Observations were conducted to have an understanding of this community of practice as
they offered an opportunity to witness first-hand what actually happens in the
classrooms. This includes interactions between teachers and students, and the processes
of teaching and learning.
4.3 Analysis of observations
4.3.1 Introduction
Observations were conducted to further understand teacher attitudes in the context of
teaching and interactions inside and outside the classrooms. In this process, Malderez
(2003:179) claimed that observers sought to understand the effectiveness of educational
practices and identify areas for improvements. Most teachers displayed similar teachercentred approaches that have been criticised by Mufanechiya (2013:326) for promoting
rote learning and also unreflective in nature. The teaching was more examination
oriented as teachers were under pressure to produce better examination results. This was
however a time for the national and end of year examinations with most lessons
predominantly revision oriented. Some teachers appeared to have done little preparation
for the lessons. A few teachers were very keen to display their teaching skills whether
that was their normal way of teaching or simply performativity. Performativity may
refer to a teacher displaying what was expected of them during classroom observations
and may revert to their normal ways of doing things after that event. This was also
expressed by PR2 during the pilot interviews.
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4.3.2 Themes from observations
Themes from observations (see Theme Map 5 page 141) focused on a careful
consideration of the effectiveness of teaching and learning. Appropriateness of teaching
and learning styles, commitment and accountability through monitoring or feedback
will be considered.
Theme Map 5 - Classroom Observations
Synopsis Theme Map 5:
The classroom observations uncovered teacher incompetence and deficiencies in their
professional conduct and in terms of teaching and learning styles. The observations
also confirmed some of the issues raised during questionnaires and interviews, which
included limited resources.
4.3.3 Effective monitoring – teacher attendance
On the days classroom observations were conducted, all teachers rushed to log-in at the
beginning and at the end of the school day. This seemed to reflect an effective, but strict
monitoring regime to curb absenteeism, which also demonstrated teacher accountability.
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At school B, the researcher witnessed first-hand two teachers logging-in and explained
their reasons for absence to their headmaster. Attendance happened to have been an
issue (Shizha and Kariwo, 2011:66) when teachers absconded from work to attend to
personal issues to raise money to cater for their daily survival and hence the use of this
organised attendance logging system. By attending, teachers also demonstrated a sense
of commitment as part of their teacher identity/professionalism in a community of
practice. Although a common practice in most work places, logging-in reflects a loss of
trust from leaders and the employer. Hassan et al. (2012:34) reported that high
productivity and organisational commitment was predicted where trust-building
practices exist between managers and workers irrespective of whether it was a private or
public enterprise. Interpersonal trust helps to establish and maintain social order within
the organisation.
4.3.4 Teacher identities and teaching approaches, limited or lack of planningTeacher-centred approach
Most teachers at all the observed schools predominantly employed a seemingly
entrenched teacher-centred approach with a few (one or two) teachers, per school, using
student-centred methods of teaching. Note taking from the chalkboard and from
textbooks characterised the teacher-centred approach to teaching and learning. A few
teachers dictated notes and in one session at School C, an accounts teacher assigned a
student to dictate the notes to other students (word for word from a text book including
balance sheets), whilst the student wrote his own notes in the process. Teachers
provided explanations now and again, but there was not much interaction between
teachers and the students. It however, appeared as if students relied on reading their
notes afterwards. Teaching, also, appeared to be examination oriented and this was
perhaps justified, because of the ongoing national (ZJC, ‘O’ and ‘A’ level) and also end
of year examinations during that time. Teachers accepted to help students prepare for
examinations on request, which showed informal, but good relationships between
students and teachers. Teachers appeared to be committed and under pressure to
complete the syllabus with sufficient revision too.
4.3.5 Concentrating on teaching and ineffective superficial/surface learning
Most teachers dictated notes from textbooks or from an exercise book or wrote the notes
on a chalkboard. The students listened intently as they wrote or copied notes from the
chalkboard. Students appeared to learn by memorisation without an understanding of
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the concepts. These teachers appeared to concentrate on dissemination of notes instead
of focusing on the students and their learning. The drive to achieve high test scores
seemed to have promoted this style of learning in an examination driven Zimbabwean
curricula where teachers were accountable for the completion of the syllabus as a
priority. Completion of the syllabus ensured that students had all the notes required to
cover a topic/subject. It was then left to the students to read to prepare for the
examinations. High standards of education seemed to have been equated to high test
scores (Smith and Colby, 2007:205) especially with the recently introduced practice of
publicising the national ‘O’ and ‘A’ level examination results (or league tables)
(Mufanechiya, 2013:326). Students appeared to lack a deeper understanding of the
concepts or principles with no room for analysis and reflection.
According to Smith and Colby (2007:205-206), superficial learning involves rote
learning by reproducing information or replication of a simple procedure. Such
superficial learning, leads to minimum engagement with the task, which does not allow
a reflective approach to learning of facts and concepts. This was apparent when a maths
teacher, Teacher ObSA2 (at School A), concentrated on demonstrating how to construct
a polygon on the chalkboard to a Form 1 group of fifty six (56) students. The teacher
used both English and Shona languages in the process. She however used the Shona
vernacular language to clarify some points in a bid to ensure all students understood
what she was talking about, but even with that some did not understand. Use of the
vernacular or local language was found to be an effective way to reach out to most
students in a study conducted in Tanzania (EdQual, nd.:13, 14). Most of the students in
this study, although quiet, did not seem to understand or follow the teacher’s
explanations. This seemed to show limited or a lack of planning by the mathmatics
teacher and an over reliance on the teacher by the students. Adoption of the Structure of
the Observed Learning Outcome (or SOLO’s taxonomy) would be perceived as an
effective approach that identifies a progression from basic to a deeper understanding of
a task/topic (Smith and Colby, 2007:206-207). This alternative method of learning was
not observed apart from instances were a few teachers used some form of studentcentred approach mainly group based work.
4.3.6 Teacher expertise – or a lack of it
All the teachers seemed to rely on their expertise and textbooks. Although, lady Teacher
ObSB4 (see brief lesson details in section 4.3.7.3 below), used a student-centred
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teaching approach, she implicitly seemed to be encouraging rote learning, when she
failed to provide a convincing answer to an inquisitive student. The student sought
clarification and understanding of why chalk powder did not (fully) dissolve in water
just like the salt after an experiment on dissolution of solutes during that lesson. The
student was instead told she had to learn and understand as she had been told (without
any further explanation from the teacher). This may imply the teacher lacked the full
knowledge of the topic/concept. The science teacher however risked to lose or reduce
her ‘expert power’ among students for not providing an answer (McCroskey and
Richmond, 1983:177). The teacher perceived to have expert power is revered/respected
by their students. The students would view such a teacher as competent and
knowledgeable in their subject specialism and what they teach (McCroskey and
Richard, 1983:177; Smith, 2005:177, 182) and viewed as an expert educator with an
ability and special skills to help the students to learn (Schrodt et al., 2007:310). Students
normally do as the teacher wishes. In a way the students submit to their teachers and do
not question the teacher’s authority. However good communication skills are required
to effectively exercise any form of power a teacher possesses (McCroskey and Richard,
1983:177-178; Schrodt et al., 2007:310). In general, teacher power exists when the
“teacher communicates in ways that influence students to achieve desired individual and
class goals” (Schrodt et al., 2007:308). The professional competence of teacher
educators include an expectation to be model teachers “in an empathetically and
supportive environment” (Smith, 2005:182) instead the teacher educators in Zimbabwe
were reported to be practicing some unethical abusive actions to student teachers
including corruption by asking for sexual favours (Zireva and Makura, 2013:314, 317).
4.3.7 An effective student-centred learning approach
A significant minority number of teachers (7 out of 25) - ObSA5 (Home economics at
School A), ObSA6 (Computers at School A), ObSB3 (Geography at School B), ObSB4
(Science at School B), ObSC4 (English at School C), ObSF2 (Shona at School F) and
ObSF3 (Maths at School F), however, focused more on students and used different
effective methods of teaching. This included discussion and group work, showing clear
preparation of lessons, which enabled students not to just recall knowledge, but to
become analytical, as they had to compare, describe and explain findings from their
group work. This also encouraged debate and development of critical thinking among
the students as they had to support their responses. These lessons were paced, engaging
and provided opportunities to monitor students’ progress and a few (but similar)
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examples of lessons are outlined below. These approaches to learning appeared to be
partially fulfilling the notion of creating a student-led learning environment through
feedback (suggested in a study by Teater (2011: 580 - on students’ feedback on learning
outcomes)), which makes students take responsibility of their own learning and
subsequently enhancing teaching practices.
4.3.7.1 ObSA5 (Home economics lesson at School A-Form 3 class)
Most of the students for this lesson had various duties to attend to soon after lunchtime
and it meant a lot of them were late for the lesson. The teacher insisted on waiting until
all students arrived before starting the lesson. Those students who came after the teacher
had started, simply went to their groups and joined in the task showing the existence of
routines. The teacher’s insistence to wait for other students illustrated a determination to
make sure no one missed out on the initial introduction and it was clear it meant a lot to
her to have all students present from the start. The topic of the lesson was on special
meals: for instance children’s meals, meals on the aeroplanes or travel packages. After a
recap on the previous lesson the lady teacher ObSA5 introduced the lesson and engaged
the students in a question and answer session to find out what students knew about
special meals. Soon after this students were asked to go into their groups. Each group
was assigned a special meal from a list on the chalkboard. The task was to find more
about the types of food, meal sizes, calorific values and how healthy it was, packaging,
food preparation methods or target market. Each group had two or three textbooks to
research from. This meant five or six students, a clear indication of limited or lack of
resources, which the students effectively utilised and managed in their groups. There
was a lot of passion on this topic and meaningful discussions throughout the lesson.
Students showed enthusiasm and determination to get through their task and feedback to
the whole group. Students wrote notes in their exercise books. Group work seemed to
go on smoothly with all students participating and sharing ideas. The students displayed
positive working relationships throughout the exercise. Among the students there were
obvious leaders who did most of the initial compilation of notes. An interactive session
(between teacher and students) was witnessed when students fed back their findings to
the whole group. Feedback and discussion time was given enough time per group to
allow other students to write notes from the other students’ input or feedback. As the
students made their feedback the teacher wrote a few points on the chalkboard. Students
displayed collaboration and respect to each other by sharing their findings, listening and
contributed to the discussions during the feedback time and taking notes at the same
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time. The notes were short and focused. Teacher ObSA5 had a lot of care for the
students and spoke about healthy eating and at the same time focusing on why some
special foods were prepared in such a way. She made reference to how things were in
the rural home or an ordinary Zimbabwean homestead and made reference to myths and
beliefs among Zimbabweans on this topic. One of them was that if you eat chocolate
you developed pimples/reactions/spots. This showed a determination to get through to
students and making sure they understood the topic. During the research phase (of the
group work) Teacher ObSA5 moved around and spoke to the group members and this in
a way was a monitoring and reinforcement of facts exercise which again displayed a
passion to see students do well and also to check if students understood the task and
doing the correct things. On one or two occasions I was asked to make contributions,
which put me in an awkward position because I did not want to affect any interactions
in the room.
4.3.7.2 ObSB3 (Geography lesson at School B-Form 1 class)
On entering the classroom the students stood up to greet the researcher as this was a
standard practice as a sign of respect to any senior member of staff, visitor or adult who
entered the classroom. The researcher greeted, thanked and asked the students to sit
down. The lady geography teacher (ObSB3) introduced the topic which was on the
topic of coal: sources, origins, uses, advantages and disadvantages. Lady Teacher
ObSB3 used four (4) work cards with different topics and questions for each group of
students. There appeared to be a clear structure to the lesson with established routines.
For every correct answer to questions there was clapping of hands in unison in praise
for the ones who gave correct answers. Soon after the introduction and a brief questionanswer session, the students were asked to go into their groups and to get on with their
tasks on the work cards. The issue of limited resources became apparent because each
group had one or two textbooks to use to find the necessary information and to complete
the task on their work card. The students effectively used the limited resources and
completed their tasks in their notebooks. The students and teacher appeared to have very
good working relationships. Students seemed meaningfully engaged and interdependent
as they helped each other along to complete their task. The teacher went around and
engaged in discussions with the students and at the same time the teacher marked the
students’ work and gave immediate feedback to them. This was effective monitoring of
students’ progress and at the same time reinforcing on certain parts of the topic or points
raised by the students. After ten (10) minutes the students were asked to feedback their
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information to the whole group. The presentations were carried out in the logical
sequence so that students could record notes in a way that would make them understand
the topic from the origins of coal to its uses. At this stage the teacher would write brief,
but clear notes on the chalkboard. The teacher constantly obtained information from the
students from questions on the work cards. Issues on pollution and uses, thermal power
plants, advantages and disadvantages of coal were also addressed to the assigned group,
but whole group members could also respond to any questions on any work card. It was
a lively lesson filled with energy and no interruptions. Clapping and praise to those
students who made relevant contributions continued and this made the lesson very
lively and at the same time very pacey. Most students appeared to be listening and
writing notes into their note books too. This appeared to be an efficient way to make full
use of the students’ efforts to create notes for the whole group and in a way overcome
the challenge of lack or limited resources. Towards the end of the lesson, the teacher
recapped, but it appeared some of the (slow) students did not complete copying or
writing notes in their exercise books and were asked to copy from their peers or the
teacher’s note book during break, lunch time or after school. This appeared to be a
normal practice at the school.
4.3.7.3 ObSB4 (Science lesson at School B-Form 1 class)
Lady Teacher ObSB4, a science teacher’s lesson was on dissolution and distillation, but
she mostly covered the dissolution section. The teacher had already prepared the
materials for the mini experiments demonstrating dissolution of common salt and chalk.
First, the teacher started with definitions of key words, such as dissolution, substances,
solvents, solutes, solutions including examples of solvents and solutes and checked for
understanding through a question and answer session. Teacher ObSB4 asked one
student to stop fidgeting. Apart from that there was no issue with behaviour. This was
followed by experimental work which appeared to concretise the theory on dissolution,
solvents and solutes. Each group had cold water, salt and chalk to enable them to make
comparisons on how these substances/solutes behaved in water as the solvent. The
teacher went around to each group and appeared to be asking and at the same time
answering questions to reinforce the facts on this topic. The students displayed a good
work ethic throughout the task and seemed to have very good relationships among
themselves and with their teacher. Students fed back their findings to the whole group.
However, all the groups seemed to be unsure of why chalk did not completely dissolve
in the same way as the salt and they posed the questions to the teacher. This required the
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teacher’s expertise and to some point the teacher appeared not to have a clear cut
answer to this question and simply said the students had to accept the point that salt
dissolves better than chalk as it is and in a way Teacher ObSB4 was encouraging rote
learning (see 4.3.6 above).
4.3.8 Monitoring students and effective feedback
Group work, predominant in student-centred lessons, seemed to enable better
monitoring of students’ progress. Teachers ObSA5, ObSA6, ObSB3, ObSB4, ObSC3,
ObSF2 and ObSF3 went around to the different groups of students and checked for
understanding among students. At this stage, these teachers appeared to be learning
facilitators as students seemed to be engaged in a relatively ‘deep’ effective learning
process. Students seemed to have taken ownership of their own learning as they
enthusiastically researched and compiled relevant information to feedback to the rest of
the class. The majority of the teachers mostly stayed at the front of the classroom and
focused on teaching and examination questions.
4.3.9 School culture(s), ethics and professionalism
Encouragement and a ‘can do’ attitude or culture was portrayed during a morning
assembly at School A. Both the national and end of year examination candidates
received very positive and supportive messages from some parents, teachers and the
headmaster. These were read out during assembly. This appeared to reflect and
substantiate Teacher 3A’s claims and aspirations for success built on collaboration and
involvement of parents in whatever they do at the school to support students. Although
most teachers at the four schools used the teacher-centred teaching approach, it
appeared they mostly adopted a positive attitude and acknowledged effort put by
teachers and students. However, a number of teachers, ObSB7 (School B) and ObSC1
(School C) presented an unprofessional and negative attitude to students. Teacher
ObSB7 thought students were hopeless while ObSC1 maintained her seemingly
demeaning, insulting and unprofessional conduct when she introduced her class as
…there are the worst and the best…
This seemed to strike a chord with the headmaster’s comments when he was shown the
list of the teachers to be observed he said:
148
…you will see the worst and the best…
Such views from a head of department and her headmaster suggested in a way that they
did understand and/or were aware of the abilities and limitations of their students and
teachers but at the same time seemed not to have a solution to address these problems
by failing to come up with ways to tackle these problems in the first place. It appeared
labelling of students and teachers as the ‘worst’ and the ‘best’ was an acceptable
practice. Instead of coming up with some strategies of dealing with these limitations to
improve students’ and teachers’ performance the school seemed to have chosen not to
act accordingly and hence maintaining a culture of labelling. It appeared to be a matter
of accepting that there were ‘dull’ and ‘bright’ students (using the actual words of the
teachers) and more-or-less saying there was nothing that could be done to improve these
students and teachers to elevate their performance to another acceptable level. The
school could have devised strategies to reduce and eliminate poor performance by both
students and teachers by fully implementing recommendations from feedback given
during monitoring and class observations or in-service training by education officers.
However, high levels of accountability appeared to be strong among school heads. After
delegating a senior teacher to make arrangements for the classroom observations, the
headmaster at School F, appeared to insinuate that failure was not an option. He seemed
inclined to blame and emphasised the issue of holding the teacher to account for any
failure or inefficiency. This shows that the headmaster at School F takes accountability
seriously and hence why he appeared to be unpopular by some of the teachers. This
links to responses to the questionnaire in which participating teachers expressed their
dislike for school headteachers that held the teachers accountable.
4.3.10 Ineffectiveness/deficiencies or limited learning styles and failure to cater for
low ability students
In the observed lessons, students mainly relied on visual and auditory learning styles to
receive information. They were preoccupied with note taking and had very little
opportunities to have notes clarified. Only a few students seemed to ask or answer
questions during these lessons. Teachers answered the majority of the questions asked
by students without much involvement of the other students. Throughout these lessons,
there was no evidence of the implementation of the Performance Lag Address
Programme (PLAP) by the teachers in this study. Observed lessons appeared to be a
‘one-jacket’ fit all, with no evidence of differentiated work or special consideration to
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effectively cater for the needs of the low ability students. This may be unprofessional
because by adopting appropriate and effective learning styles reveals a deep
understanding of the students’ learning needs by teachers. Beck (2001:2) stated that this
enables the teacher to reach out to and motivate the students. The student-centred
approach has been reported to be beneficial to effective students’ learning. However, the
problems associated with this learning style include inadequate resources and large class
sizes (Lumadi and Awino, 2009:96). Teachers were recommended to be flexible in their
teaching/learning styles. Classroom observations at Schools A, B, C, and F bore
similarities to a study in Botswana by Lumadi and Awino (2009:97, 100), which
revealed that teachers appeared to be more comfortable with teacher-centred and
authoritarian teaching to passive students. In this case, students were mostly engaged in
recall learning/memorisation type learning. It may also appear that this could not
necessarily be limited engagement, but an actual deficiency in teacher competencies that
may be inherent in this teaching community of practice. The entrenched teacher-centred
approach of teaching observed in the majority of the observed lessons was a stark
reminder of the researcher’s experience as a student in the same education system more
than thirty years ago. This showed that little or not much had changed in terms of
teaching and learning styles and hence the assertion that this may not necessarily be
blamed on teacher frustrations, but simply teacher incompetence or limited
professionalism that must be dealt with head long. Ridiculing of students by some
teachers was a common practice and this did not provide a safe and conducive working
or learning environment for them and this led students to feel unaccepted by their
teachers. Such ill-treatment of students in front of their peers was demeaning and could
have deleterious effects that could have led the student to lose self-esteem, confidence,
motivation and interest in education. The students could stop putting any effort and
dread the prospect of attending school. Affected students would most likely spend more
time and effort to find ways to cope with the ridiculing instead of investing their time
and effort to concentrate to complete class work and their studies.
4.3.11 Resources
The issue of insufficient resources, during lessons, became apparent as students usually
ended up sharing textbooks or desks and other resources. Most of the lessons were
relatively overcrowded with up to 56 students in a Maths lesson at School A, especially
the Form 1 to 4 groups in comparison to the ‘A’ level class sizes, (less than 20 students
in most cases). This also had an impact on the infrastructure in terms of student
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numbers and in some cases health and safety because of lack of room to move around,
which could create evacuation problems in case of an emergency.
4.3.12 Interruptions
At schools B and F, interruptions to teaching appeared to be inevitable and primarily
due to the design of the infrastructure. Some teachers’ offices were only accessible via
the main classroom door. The students appeared to be used to these interruptions. They
were momentarily distracted, but seemed to recover and return quickly and focus on the
activities at hand. This could be listening to their teacher or on task. At School F
interruptions of lessons by the School Development Association (SDA) chairperson and
the school bursar’s secretary characterised the morning of that day. Students with
outstanding fees were pulled out of lessons and this meant disrupting the flow of the
lessons. In this situation, both teachers and students understood what and why such
interruptions took place. Because of this mutual understanding it appeared as if both the
teachers and students responded calmly (Anonymous, n.d.) and ready to move on with
their lessons.
4.3.13 Summary
The predominant themes during observations appeared to be centred on teacher
attributes and teacher professional identity in a teaching community of practice. These
also involved what a teacher could control, such as their duty to teach for learning and
those things they were unable to control like infrastructure and resources. There was
limited or lack of accountability and commitment to competently teach all students for
learning. The majority of teachers concentrated on teaching, which led to surface and
rote learning. There was no evidence of Performance Lag Address Programme (PLAP)
and an inability to adapt this strategy to cater for low ability students in an inclusive
way. The education authorities and the teachers seemed not to view education as a
transformative process, but took it simply to say that interventions were one-off
exercises and once ‘completed’ that is definitive and yet interventions like the PLAP
were only initial stages of introducing long term solutions that could be used
continuously and implemented or adapted to suit the situation at hand.
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Chapter 5 Conclusion and recommendations
5.1 Conclusion
5.1.1 Introduction
The study acknowledged that the attitudes teachers expressed about welfare, conditions
of service and their working environment attributed to a negative impact on teachers’
attitudes and the subsequent inability to deliver quality education in the six secondary
schools. Analysis of the participants’ contributions in this study however, identified,
aspects of quality of education with a focus on teachers’ professionalism and their
conduct. Many teachers participating in this study appeared to be accidental teachers
and some of these teachers appeared to have a sense of a lack of professional identity.
Some of the teachers and those supposedly experienced teachers in this study were not
participating as fully-fledged members of a teaching community of practice. This
seemed to allude to a compromised education system that lacked teaching quality and a
sense of a lack of accountability and commitment. These findings could be transferable
with adaptions to other schools in Zimbabwe and some low income developing
countries with a similar teacher culture, economic conditions and also at school settings
that have similar experiences like those in the six schools. Further studies may be
necessary to make comparisons to ascertain the similarities and differences among the
different schools. There appeared to be a lack of commitment and failure to implement
learning and teaching strategies gained during teacher monitoring exercises and/or
feedback from lesson observations to improve both students’ and teachers’
performance. This could be enhanced through capacity building exercises. If such
feedback had been obtained and offered, why has the quality of teaching remained poor
and underdeveloped? Such feedback could have been adopted and adapted to enhance
students’ learning and help them to achieve their full potential. Failure to identify
improvement strategies and implementation of the recommendations appears to be a
drawback that holds back the development and improvement of an effective teaching
community of practice in these six schools. The tendency to create a definitive and cutoff point in initiatives such as Performance Lag Address Programme (PLAP) disregards
the fact that education was potentially a transformative process which required
continuous improvement of existing or new practices and adapting them to inclusively
teach and reach out to mixed ability students. Some teachers seemed to have abdicated
from their duty to cater for all students and appeared to have accepted the notion of
labelling students as either ‘dull’ or ‘bright’ and insinuating that nothing could be done
152
to help improve the performance of the dull student. The researcher witnessed such
tendencies during his time as a student more than thirty years ago and if this is still
happening now it could entail a need for a significant overhaul of the education system.
5.2 A sense of a compromised teaching community of practice and professionalism
A sense of a compromised secondary school education system appeared to be in
evidence from the time people were selected for entry to the profession. A significant
number of teachers appeared to be accidental teachers, who mostly entered the
profession as this was the only available opportunity at the time because of a lack of
other career opportunities. This appeared to be contextual, as most entrants to the
profession were school leavers forced to do so because of the high unemployment in
Zimbabwe (that was reported above 60% among the 15-24 year age groups (AfDB,
OECD, UNDP and UNECA, 2012:2)). As accidental teachers, it was inevitable that
some teachers may lack commitment and would leave at the earliest opportunity
whenever other prospects arose. This would further destabilise and compromise the
education system at the affected schools/settings. Such teachers may lack the passion to
fully engage/participate to gain full membership of the teaching community of practice,
which Wenger (1998:152) associated with competence, accountability and commitment.
Accidental teachers may not carry out duties in a similar way as those who have always
wanted to be teachers. As such, candidates appeared to lack the values expected of
them. It, in turn, means that these teachers and their schools do not constitute a fullyfledged teaching community of practice, but a pseudo-community of practice according
to Grossman et al. (2001:20-21) and Tam (2014:15-16). This appeared to reveal that
there must be some form of universally acceptable qualities of teachers or teaching
(practice). It also revealed that some of the teachers in this study were still at a
developing stage of their career and professional socialisation and seemed not to have
reached their full potential within the teaching community of practice, with some also
appearing to be uncommitted on the job. However, those in leadership positions seemed
to be operating within some of the guidelines and expectations of a teaching community
of practice. In so doing, those in leadership roles could articulate their position on the
learning trajectory as characterised by Lave and Wenger (1991:29) in their discussion
on teachers’ progression from legitimate peripheral membership towards the full
participatory stage. It could therefore be concluded that teachers have an understanding
of their responsibilities in the context of servant leadership.
153
Classroom observations happened to reveal many teachers’ ineffectiveness in teaching
for learning as they appeared to employ a ‘one jacket fit all’ type of teaching. Most
teachers in this study demonstrated an inability to adopt and adapt different methods of
teaching and learning styles, which were, however, successfully demonstrated by a few
teachers (7 out 25). These teachers also did not show the inclusive type of teaching and
reaching out to all students. It also revealed the challenges and benefits of collegiality,
commitment and accountability to promote self-improvement of teachers would have
potentially improved the teachers’ performance as the teachers acquired certain levels of
competence and professionalism. These would mould professional identities expected
of a perceived universal teaching community of practice. Teachers would engage in
reflective practices and employ teaching strategies that would enable students to receive
the best possible and effective teaching for learning that demonstrates teacher
competencies that focused on students. This would essentially exhibit the level of
participation from peripheral to full participation and a flourishing professional identity
as the competencies and effectiveness to teach improved. Student-focused teaching for
learning required planning and was demonstrated by the few teachers who practiced
some form of student-centred teaching which was in evidence during the classroom
observations. It would be expected that competence and the level of participation
increased with position and length of service. This was not always the case as a Shona
subject student teacher on teaching practice demonstrated effective student-centred
approaches. Such a display of teaching may be linked to a teacher training thrust that
focuses on student-centred methods. However, the fact that a few teachers actually used
student-centred teaching and learning styles could be testimony that the majority of the
teachers may be performing to their full capabilities, but demonstrating deficiencies and
levels of incompetence. Most teachers appeared to have failed to provide variety in
learning styles to cater for the needs of all students of different abilities.
5.2.1 Reluctance to understand the need for accountability and commitment
Most teachers seemed reluctant to understand the need for accountability and
commitment on the job, which could be viewed as deliberate withholding of effort. This
seemed to imply a sense of rebellion and conditionality leading to most teachers’ failure
to engage students and achieve good learning outcomes. Teachers seemed to have little
or no conscience of the need to be accountable because of the failure to separate their
ineffectiveness or deficiencies from those grievances that were affecting them. Teachers
had an obligation to teach, which comes with commitment and accountability as the
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basis for entering into such a profession under the principle of serving first (Herman and
Marlowe, 2005:175-176; Washington et al., 2006:701; Stewart, 2012:234-236). The
teachers’ competence and professionalism were significant in the delivery and
meaningful engagement of students to achieve their full potential without withholding
the teaching’s efforts/service. This amounts to intentional reduction of one’s convictions
and contributions to perform their duties (Kidwell and Valentine, 2009:16). Despite
numerous frustrations those in the secondary school leadership including Heads of
Department (HoDs) seemed to believe in the commitment and accountability of
teachers. This was exemplified by Teacher 2E who saw no need for a teacher to remain
in teaching if the teacher lacked a sense of accountability and commitment. Those
teachers in leadership seemed to denounce underperforming teachers. That was in
agreement with stakeholders who were clear in their expectations to hold teachers to
account. This could only work if the teachers’ monitoring processes were professionally
done and not open to abuse or misplaced loyalty expressed by Teacher 4C, who seemed
prepared to protect underperforming friends during the monitoring process. By
accepting accountability and commitment, teachers would be working towards a goal to
achieve quality education and increased participation levels within the community of
practice. It was also aimed at attaining full membership or achieving full participation.
In so doing teachers would continuously improve on their competence and teacher
professionalism. Monitoring seemed to be a key aspect of achieving accountability. It
also appeared as if the leadership including HoDs seemed to have increased the
frustration levels of teachers by implementing what was perceived to be an onerous
monitoring system of teachers. This led to loss of morale. Under these circumstances,
teachers may not readily engage into innovative or extra work as they concentrate on
achieving personal targets of the appraisal system. The higher a teacher was in the
school hierarchy seemed to come with an increased sense of responsibility and
accountability among some teachers such as senior teachers and heads of department
regardless of the hardships and frustrations. It was not always the case that a higher
level in the hierarchy and responsibility automatically meant higher levels of
accountability. A disgruntled senior teacher was very much in disagreement and bitter
about the imposition of programmes or initiatives in which teachers were not consulted
in the first. The senior teacher appeared to be in rebellious mode as he threatened to quit
his senior teacher roles. This appears to show that failure to recognise the teachers’
views or contributions only demoralised and demotivated teachers further leading to
withdrawal of effort and responsibility.
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5.3 Concerns and a sense of discontentment and cognitive dissonance
5.3.1 Concerns and discontentment
Discontentment owing to many frustrations appeared to have led to cognitive
dissonance. The welfare of teachers and provision of resources seemed to be central to
the concerns of teachers. These frustrations appeared to have driven most teachers into
neglecting their moral and ethical obligation to effectively teach their students. They
appeared to be torn between neglect of duty and the expected obligation to competently
perform their duties. This withholding of effort, revealed cognitive dissonance, as
teachers’ beliefs conflicted with their duty to teach (Festinger, 1957:31; Oxoby,
2004:729). The fact that the teachers viewed most of their grievances as external to
them seemed to have strengthened their resolve not to fully participate or engage with
their duties. Some teachers left the profession altogether, whilst the majority engaged in
other activities to improve their wellbeing. Resources and working conditions also had a
negative effect on the teachers’ attitudes. The uncertainties of when the economic
hardships could end remained. Most teachers, however, stayed within teaching hoping
for changes and improvement of the situation in terms of welfare. But the more they
stayed with no prospects of improvement, the more they justified their reasons for not
performing to expectations. The paying of incentives or retention allowances by schools
and School Development Associations (SDAs) seemed to have eased some of the
welfare issues, but this was not equitable because teachers in rural schools, other than
the boarding schools, appeared to have very little incentives compared to their urban
counterparts. Classroom observations also revealed that receipt of incentives did not
necessarily translate into effectiveness, improved professionalism or competence as
most of the observed teachers failed to demonstrate effective and inclusive teaching
methods. The limited engagement may also be perceived as an actual deficiency in
teacher competencies, which was inherent and reflected in most teachers during
classroom observations. In a way, this displayed an ineffective teaching community of
practice.
5.3.2 Discontent beyond or within the teachers’ control-Resources and decisionmaking
Improvements on salaries or provision of resources appeared to be impossible and
limited because of the deteriorating economy. The poor performing economy meant the
reduction in revenue collection in the form of taxes, a source of revenue for the
government of Zimbabwe, which happened to be the main employer of teachers. This
156
meant reduced funding for other resources other than human resources. Another key
aspect was a lack of involvement in decision-making and imposition of ideas from the
education authorities. Some teachers complained about a lack of control and support
over indiscipline and classroom management. Other teachers required support on class
management from the school’s senior leadership to maintain a conducive learning
environment. These classroom management skills or abilities were, however, viewed as
direct responsibilities of the teachers and the school leadership expected the teachers to
have full control over their classrooms and students’ behaviour.
5.4 A sense of lack of control in the context of enrolment
Most teachers at the non-faith schools seemed to have a sense of powerlessness or lack
of control over calibre and enrolment of Form 1 students. There was a sense of
unfairness especially when all schools were compared (in some forms of league tables)
on attainment without any consideration of the calibre of students. The sentiment was
that the faith schools enrolled more able students than at the non-faith schools since the
faith schools selected the best attaining Grade 7 students to enter Form 1. Most teachers
at the non-faith schools seemed to use this as an excuse for the low ‘O’ level results at
their schools. This provided evidence of teacher ineffectiveness and reflected on their
professional conduct and competences as the teachers appeared to forget that it was
their moral duty to effectively engage and help these students to learn and achieve
higher ‘O’ level results. This had a negative bearing on teacher work ethics. It also
seemed to create a defeatist culture and a sense of hopelessness which appeared to
suggest that the low ability students cannot be helped. Despite this failure to reach out
to all students, teachers compounded the problem by concentrating on examinationcentred teaching. This was also unsuitably pitched for less able students who continued
to be left behind. This was against the Zimbabwean education system’s founding
principles aimed at providing equitable education for all citizens.
5.5 Subdued teachers and helplessness
The numerous frustrations experienced by teachers seemed to have been experienced at
the top level by Stakeholder S4 (a District Education Officer) and Education officers,
Stakeholders S5 and S6. This showed evidence of a subdued workforce at the highest
level in the East of Zimbabwe. Stakeholders S4, S5 and S6 seemed to be sympathetic,
but at the same time appeared to be helpless to provide the necessary resources to
motivate their teachers to work to their full potential with limited or no means to carry
157
out capacity building exercises. Teachers and stakeholders alike also shared the same
sentiments of helplessness in terms of the poor availability of resources. Teachers
appeared to be most affected as they faced these frustrations on a day to day basis, with
no prospect of improvements in sight. Many teachers appeared to have given up and
were putting little or no effort to get themselves ready for lessons. They perceived
putting little or no effort as a befitting action for as long as the frustrations existed.
Many also did not put any creativeness in their teaching styles.
5.6 Summary
The study achieved its purpose to establish teachers’, school leaders’ and stakeholders’
attitudes to teaching. It also identified the extent of the effectiveness of teachers’
provision of quality education in the six secondary schools in the East of Zimbabwe.
This appeared to reveal a troubled, partially formed and developing, but to some extent
a retrogressive teaching community of practice failing to adapt a transformative
approach that continuously improved initiatives such as PLAP that many teachers in the
study found burdensome and definitive as they failed to see its benefits in inclusive
education. This reflected subdued teachers and a limited sense of achievement for both
teachers and students. The study identified the lack of or the limited extent to which
teachers and stakeholders were accountable and committed to the provision of quality
secondary school education. This appeared to be attributed to the frustrations, which
affected teachers’ morale and motivation to enhance teachers’ performance. It also
revealed that by and large, teachers seemed to be unhappy and demotivated. That, in
turn, facilitated negative attitudes to teaching and tended to compromise the secondary
school education system, which seemed to have started at the teachers’ point of entry
into the profession. To some extent, this was attributed to the large number of accidental
teachers in this study. The focus on quality of education and teaching seemed to be
isolated within some leadership circles (that involved headmasters, their deputies, and
some HoDs or senior teachers) and a few number of teachers who engaged in studentcentred teaching methods in some schools. An inability to engage low ability students, a
reluctance to understand the need for accountability and the low pass rates also reflected
ineffectiveness and deficiencies in the quality of teaching and the secondary school
education system. This had a bearing on the teacher competencies, effectiveness to
teach for learning, their professionalism or professional identity and their participation
in a teaching community of practice. Most of the teachers involved in this study
appeared to be withholding and matching their efforts to their remuneration and most
158
did not execute their duties as required for the teachers to effectively cater for all
students to achieve meaningful learning. By achieving certain standards, teachers would
increase their chances to generate expertise that sustains the growth and efficient
functionality of fully-fledged teaching communities of practice. Those teachers involved
in such a practice would continuously develop their professional skills and
competencies that focus on provision of best practice. Within such practices teachers
tend to achieve and sustain their full potential and that of their students to produce well
rounded citizens ready to participate in the developmental needs of their country.
5.7 Recommendations/further research
5.7.1 Teacher accountability, competence, quality and quality of education
To encourage an understanding and the importance of accountability, and also the
competence of the teachers by avoiding misplaced loyalty among teachers and their
leaders so as to encourage professionalism among teachers. Assessments and
monitoring of teacher colleagues could be done by two different members within the
leadership team to control and curb comradeship/corrupt tendencies to avoid the
awarding of false monitoring grades allocation to teachers or any forms of favouritism.
To promote quality education collaboration among teachers and use of student-centred
teaching methods would be encouraged and led by those teachers who practiced these
methods during lesson observations. Evidence of using student-centred methods
suggested that this must have been part of teacher training in the teacher training
colleges and universities. To encourage good practice at the different schools those
teachers who practiced student-centred teaching methods must lead and share good
practice with teachers at their school or neighbouring schools. Sustaining teacher
quality would be made possible through continuous in-service training/continuous
professional development that promotes good practice and meet or exceed set standards.
This could be backed by the implementation of effective teaching practices that promote
inclusive education.
5.7.2 Professional identity
Entrants into teaching should possess a variation of characteristics and behaviours that
shape and form a teacher professional identity acceptable in a teaching community of
practice. To mould an appropriate professional identity of trainee teachers (or serving
teachers), the trainee teachers should not be exposed to bad/corrupt practices/tendencies
such as sexual harassment identified/reported by Zireva and Makura (2013:314, 317). A
159
way to identify the perpetrators and also to protect victims should be put in place.
Teachers should be made aware of the consequences in the form of proportionate
punitive measures, which could also act as deterrents to would be perpetrators. This
avoids compromising development of the teacher identity at this initial stage of teacher
training and hence affords achievement of an ‘uncontaminated’ formation of a teacher
identity at this crucial early phase of a teacher’s professional development and
socialisation. A focus on improving the teacher trainers themselves could inculcate the
ethos of teaching for learning without abusing or exposing the trainee teachers to any
forms of unprofessional tendencies.
5.7.3 Development of a teaching community of practice
Teachers would be expected to possess the caring, self-evaluating and self-improvement
attitude, through educative and awareness programmes. Such programmes could include
refresher or awareness courses on factors that cause low self-esteem and its impact on
the students’ emotional and cognitive development, and their well-being. Teachers must
know and respect their students to meet their individual needs. This must encourage
teachers to be sensitive and avoid labelling of students and instil a sense of belonging
and a safe/conducive working environment that encourages students to get involved and
work to their full potential without any fear of being ridiculed
5.7.4 Teaching practice/processes and inclusive education
All teachers would be expected to diversify and use inclusive alternative teaching and
learning methods/styles, which would be an extension and continuous implementation
of the Performance Lag Address Programme (PLAP). This will help to cater for all
students at various stages of their development and a wider range of learning abilities.
In the process teachers must encourage the students to take responsibility for their own
learning and work independently to achieve expected outcomes as recommended in the
Structure of the Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO).
160
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Appendices
Appendix A.1 Letter to The Secretary for Education, Sport and Culture
The Secretary for Education Sport and Culture
Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture
P.O. Box CY 121
Causeway
Zimbabwe
4 June 2012
The Secretary for Education, Sport and Culture
RE: Application for permission to carry out research in Zimbabwean secondary schools
I am a student at the University of Huddersfield (UK) on the part-time Doctor of
Education (EdD) programme. The purpose of this letter is to seek your permission to
carry out research in secondary schools. The attached questionnaires and interview
schedules will be used for data collection.
The title of my research is:
Achieving sustained recovery and a robust sustainability of secondary schools in the
educational system of Zimbabwe.
As part of my data collection, I am requesting your permission to interview school
heads of school, teachers and other stakeholders.
All information will be treated in confidence and all those taking part will remain
anonymous during and after the study.
I am looking forward to your favourable response at your earliest convenience.
Yours sincerely
Name provided (EdD student)
186
Appendix A.1.1 Permission to carry out research from The Secretary for Education,
Sport and Culture
187
Appendix A.2 Letter to the Regional Director
The Regional Director
Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture (Zimbabwe)
4 June 2012
The Regional Director
RE: Application for permission to carry out research in Zimbabwean secondary schools
I am a student at the University of Huddersfield (UK) on the part-time Doctor of
Education (EdD) programme. The purpose of this letter is to seek your permission to
carry out research in secondary schools. The attached questionnaires and interview
schedules will be used for data collection.
The title of my research is:
Achieving sustained recovery and a robust sustainability of secondary schools in the
educational system of Zimbabwe.
As part of my data collection, I am requesting your permission to interview school
heads of school, teachers and other stakeholders.
All information will be treated in confidence and all those taking part will remain
anonymous during and after the study.
I am looking forward to your favourable response at your earliest convenience.
Yours sincerely
Name provided (EdD student)
188
Appendix A.2.1 Permission granted by the Regional Director
189
Appendix A.3 Letters to the heads of school
The Head of School/Principal
Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture (Zimbabwe)
4 June 2012
Dear Head of School/Principal
RE: Application for permission to carry out research in Zimbabwean secondary schools
I am a student at the University of Huddersfield (UK) on the part-time Doctor of
Education (EdD) programme. The purpose of this letter is to seek your permission to
carry out research at your secondary school. The attached questionnaires and interview
schedules will be used for data collection.
The title of my research is:
Achieving sustained recovery and a robust sustainability of secondary schools in the
educational system of Zimbabwe.
As part of my data collection, I am requesting your permission to interview the head of
school, teachers and other stakeholders.
All information will be treated in confidence and all those taking part will remain
anonymous during and after the study.
I am looking forward to your favourable response at your earliest convenience.
Yours sincerely
Name provided (EdD student)
190
Appendix A.3.1 Approval/permission to carry out research granted by the head of
school
191
Appendix A.4 Letter to headteachers on administering of questionnaires and interviews
For the attention of: The Headteacher/Deputy Headteacher
Dear Headteacher/Principal/Deputy Headteacher
Thank you for granting me the permission to carry out research at your school. I am
very grateful for the welcome and the time and opportunity you have offered me. I will
be coming to Zimbabwe towards the end of July 2012 to proceed with the study. With
the fast approaching August holiday and with six schools to visit, I am conscious time is
a pressing issue.
I will come to administer the questionnaires on [day and date appropriate to school July
2012] and interviews on [day, date July 2012]. Please provide suitable times. If these
dates do not fit with your school schedules please advise on what is suitable.
After some expert advice on how to benefit sufficiently from the study:
- I will have to conduct the questionnaires first and follow them with interviews a day
later. This will allow me time to analyse and use findings during the interviews to make
them relevant to the study.
- For the questionnaires I have realised I need a representative number of at least 25
teachers evenly represented across the subjects studied at your school. I will be grateful
if all heads or deputy heads of departments and members of the leadership/admin team
respond to the questionnaires.
- For interviews 3 to 4 teachers from different subject areas and 1 or 2 members of the
leadership/admin team will suffice. Those to be interviewed/interviewees should have
responded to the questionnaires. Interviews will be audio recorded.
If it is possible, I could administer the questionnaires at one go, with all teachers
involved at one place during a break or lunch time or after school so that all are there to
see me take the questionnaires away. This, however, depends on what works for your
school.
Anonymity and confidentiality are central and to be strictly observed during and after
the study.
Thank you
Yours sincerely
Name provided
192
Appendix A.5 Participant Information sheet
University of Huddersfield
Title of Study
Achieving sustained recovery and a robust sustainability of secondary schools in the
educational system of Zimbabwe.
Information Sheet
You are being invited to take part in this study. Before you decide to take part it is
important that you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve.
Please take time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with me if
you wish. Please do not hesitate to ask if there is anything that is not clear or if you
would like more information.
What is the study about?
The purpose of this study is to establish:
1. teachers’ attitudes to teaching in secondary schools in Zimbabwe
2. the effectiveness of schools and services
Why I have been approached?
You have been asked to participate because of your direct or indirect involvement in the
secondary school education system of Zimbabwe.
Do I have to take part?
It is your decision whether or not you take part. If you decide to take part you will be
asked to sign a consent form, and you will be free to withdraw at any time and without
giving a reason.
What will I need to do?
If you agree to take part in the research you will complete a questionnaire which should
not take more than 20 minutes. A recorded interview lasting upto 25 minutes involving
a few participants will be conducted thereafter.
Will my identity be disclosed?
All information disclosed within the interview will be kept confidential, except where
legal obligations necessitate disclosure by the researcher to appropriate personnel.
What will happen to the information?
All information collected from you during this research will be kept secure and any
identifying material, such as names will be removed in order to ensure anonymity. It is
anticipated that the research may, at some point, be published in a journal or report.
However, should this happen, your anonymity will be ensured, although it may be
necessary to use your words in the presentation of the findings and your permission for
this is included in the consent form.
Who can I contact for further information?
If you require any further information about the research, please contact me on:
Name: Name provided
E-mail: details provided
Telephone: details provided
193
Appendix A.6 Participant questionnaire consent form
University of Huddersfield
Title of study
Achieving sustained recovery and a robust sustainability of secondary schools in the
educational system of Zimbabwe.
Name of Researcher:
Questionnaire consent form
Please initial in Box
I have read the information sheet and understand what is involved in the research and
why it is being done
I understand the aims of this study and consent to taking part in it
I understand that I have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without giving
any reason, and a right to withdraw my data if I wish
I give my permission for my questionnaire responses to be used in the study
I understand that the responses I provide on this questionnaire will be secure and that
no person other than the researcher will have access to the questionnaire responses
I understand that my identity will remain anonymous
Name of participant:
Signature:
Date:
Name of researcher:
Signature:
Date:
Name provided
Signed
Date provided
Two copies of this consent form should be completed:
One copy to be retained by the participant and one copy to be retained by the
researcher
194
Appendix A.6.1 Signed participant questionnaire consent form
195
Appendix A.7 Participant interview consent form
University of Huddersfield
Title of study
Achieving sustained recovery and a robust sustainability of secondary schools in the
educational system of Zimbabwe.
Name of Researcher:
Interview consent form
Please initial in Box
I have been fully informed of the nature and aims of this research and consent to taking
part in it
I understand that I have the right to withdraw from the interview at any time without
giving any reason, and a right to withdraw my data if I wish
I give my permission for my interview to be audio recorded
I give permission to be quoted (by use of pseudonym)
I understand that the recorded data will be kept in secure conditions
I understand that no person other than the interviewer will have access to the recording
I understand that my identity will be protected by the use of pseudonym in the research
report and that no information that could lead to me being identified will be included in
any report or publication resulting from this research
Name of participant:
Signature:
Date:
Name of researcher:
Signature:
Date:
Name provided
Signed
Date provided
Two copies of this consent from should be completed:
One copy to be retained by the participant and one copy to be retained by the researcher
196
Appendix A.7.1 Signed participant interview consent form
197
Appendix A.8 Questionnaire for secondary school teachers and
leadership/headteachers
The purpose of this questionnaire is to establish:
1. teachers’ attitudes to teaching in secondary schools in Zimbabwe
2. the effectiveness of schools and services
The questionnaire should last not more than 20 minutes to complete. All the information
will be treated in confidence and all those taking part will remain anonymous during
and after the study.
You will be required to circle appropriate answers in most cases using the following:
1 = Strongly disagree 2 = Disagree 3 = Neutral 4 = Agree 5 = Strongly agree, or
write down or rank information in provided spaces. Please answer all questions. Thank
you for taking part.
A. Personal data
1. I am (please circle the appropriate gender)
Male
Female
2. What is your current age (in years)? (please circle the appropriate age group)
Less than 20
21-29
30-39
40-49
50 or above
3. I have been teaching for (please write down the number of months/years in teaching)
4. I currently teach in the (please circle the appropriate answer)
Urban areas of Zimbabwe
Rural areas of Zimbabwe
5. I used to teach in the (please circle the appropriate answer)
Urban areas of Zimbabwe
Rural areas of
Zimbabwe
Not applicable
6. I am a (please circle the appropriate answer)
Qualified
Unqualified
Headteacher/D/Headteacher
teacher
teacher
Other (please
specify)
7. Subjects I teach or used to teach (please write down your specialist and non specialist subjects)
7.1. Specialist subjects
7.2. Non specialist
subjects
Using the following: 1 = Strongly disagree 2 = Disagree 3 = Neutral 4 = Agree 5 =
Strongly agree – respond to each of the statements from B to G
B. The education system (teachers and the system itself)
8. An effective secondary school education system in Zimbabwe is important (please
circle the appropriate number)
1
2
3
4
5
198
C. State/condition of the secondary education system and attitudes of
teachers/headteachers
9. I am happy in my present teaching post
1
2
3
4
5
10. I would like to stay in teaching until I retire
1
2
3
4
5
11. Please use each number once to rank the importance of the following qualities in
school leaders (please fill in your rank order in the spaces provided using the numbers 1 through 6; 6=
most important quality and 1 the lowest)
A school leader should support the professional development of teachers/team
A school leader should prioritise obtaining resources for the teachers/team
A school leader should share the school’s vision with the teachers and all stakeholders
A school leader should hold teachers/team to account
A school leader should be a good motivator
A school leader should be committed to high achievement of students
Resources/Accountability
12. The secondary school education standards have improved in Zimbabwe in the past
10 years
1
2
3
4
5
13. The ‘O’ level examination pass rate is very high at my school (i.e. those with 5 or more
subjects including English and Maths)
1
2
3
4
5
14. The resources at my school have improved over the past 10 years
1
2
3
4
5
15. I think that the resources at my school are always used efficiently
1
2
3
4
5
16. My school has a shortage of qualified secondary school teachers
1
2
3
4
5
D. Leadership/teacher and accountability (attitudes and levels of responsibility)
17. I think the school leadership at my school is committed to the development of the
school
1
2
3
4
5
E. Managing funding or finances in secondary schools
18. Sufficient funding alone does not bring about improvements in the secondary
education system
1
2
3
4
5
18.1. What could bring about improvements in the education system (please write down in
space below)
F. Leadership/teacher and school improvement
199
Please turn over
19. My school always works in collaboration with outside agencies/schools and other
stake holders
1
2
3
4
5
G. Leadership/teacher and sustenance
20. I can say that the Zimbabwean secondary school education system is adapting to the
development needs of the country
1
2
3
4
5
20.1. Please list the development needs of the country in the space below
21. My school has clear performance indicators to measure the success of the teachers,
headteachers and the school
1
2
3
4
5
21.1. Please list performance indicators to measure success at your school in the space
below
22. My school continuously improves on gained success
1
2
3
4
5
23. Please use each number once to rank the importance of the following qualities in a
secondary school teacher in Zimbabwe (please fill in your rank order in the spaces provided using
the numbers 1 through 5; 5= most important quality and 1 the lowest)
Very high accountability
Positive role model
Pride in students’ accomplishments
Fully knowledgeable in their subject area
Committed and passionate about teaching
24. I am aware of the school improvement plans/strategies at my school
1
2
3
4
5
25. Please write down any comments or additional information relevant to the study in
the space below
200
Appendix A.9 Questionnaire for stakeholders on secondary schools
The purpose of this questionnaire is to establish respondents' attitudes to secondary
schools in Zimbabwe
The questionnaire should last not more than 20 minutes to complete. All the information
will be treated in confidence and all those taking part will remain anonymous during
and after the study.
You will be required to circle appropriate answers in most cases using the following:
1 = Strongly disagree 2 = Disagree 3 = Neutral 4 = Agree 5 = Strongly agree, or
write down or rank information in provided spaces. Please answer all questions. Thank
you for taking part.
A. Personal data
1. I am (please circle the appropriate gender)
Male
Female
2. What is your current age (in years)? (please circle the appropriate age group)
Less than 20
21-29
30-39
40-49
50 or above
3. I am a (please circle all the appropriate responses)
Professional
Employed
Unemployed
Self-employed
Parent
Using the following: 1 = Strongly disagree 2 = Disagree 3 = Neutral 4 = Agree 5 =
Strongly agree – respond to each of the statements from B to G
B. The education system (teachers and the system itself)
4. An effective secondary school education system in Zimbabwe is important (please
circle the appropriate number)
1
2
3
4
5
C. Secondary education system and school leaders
5. I am happy with the secondary school education system of Zimbabwe
1
2
3
4
5
6. Please use each number once to rank the importance of the following qualities in
school leaders (please fill in your rank order in the spaces provided using the numbers 1 through 6; 6=
most important quality and 1 the lowest)
A school leader should support the professional development of teachers/team
A school leader should prioritise obtaining resources for the teachers/team
A school leader should share the school’s vision with the teachers and all stakeholders
A school leader should hold teachers/team to account
A school leader should be a good motivator
A school leader should be committed to high achievement of students
Resources/Accountability
7. The secondary school education standards have improved in Zimbabwe in the past 10
years
1
2
3
4
5
8. The resources at schools have improved over the past 10 years
1
2
3
4
5
201
Please turn over
9. I think that the resources at school are always used efficiently
1
2
3
4
5
D. Leadership/teacher and accountability (attitudes and levels of responsibility)
10. I think the school leadership at schools is committed to the development of the
school
1
2
3
4
5
E. Managing funding or finances in secondary schools
11. Sufficient funding alone does not bring about improvements in the secondary
education system
1
2
3
4
5
11.1. What could bring about improvements in the education system (please write down in
space below)
F. Leadership/teacher and school improvement
12. Schools always work in collaboration with outside agencies/schools and other stake
holders
1
2
3
4
5
G. Leadership/teacher and sustenance
13. I can say that the Zimbabwean secondary school education system is adapting to the
development needs of the country
1
2
3
4
5
13.1. Please list the development needs of the country in the space below
14. Schools continuously improve on gained success
1
2
3
4
5
15. Please use each number once to rank the importance of the following qualities in
a secondary school teacher in Zimbabwe (please fill in your rank order in the spaces provided
using the numbers 1 through 5; 5= most important quality and 1 the lowest)
Accountability
Positive role model
Pride in students’ accomplishments
Fully knowledgeable in their subject area
Committed and passionate about teaching
16. I am aware of the school improvement plans/strategies at local/in schools
1
2
3
4
5
17. Please write down any comments or additional information relevant to the study in
the space below
202
Appendix A.10 Interview schedule for secondary school teachers and leadership
Thank you for taking part in this study.
The purpose of this interview is to establish teachers’ attitudes to teaching in secondary
schools in Zimbabwe
The interview should last not more than 25 minutes. You have the right to pause or
suspend or stop the interview(s) at any point during the interviews. Subsequent
questionnaires and interviews to clarify some points raised at any stage of the study may
follow. All information will be treated in confidence and all those taking part will
remain anonymous during and after the study. You have the right to pull out of (or reenter) the study whenever you find fit.
Thank you for taking part.
Personal – What is your role at this secondary school?
1. Teachers’ attitudes or views on their teaching job/career
What made you get into secondary school education –teacher /leader? Do you still feel
the same now and what makes you say that?
What do you consider as your most significant/important contribution to teaching or at
your school? Why do you say that? What frustrates you in your job? Why do you say
that?
2. Investigating the state of school/the secondary school education system
Please comment on the current state of your school /the secondary school education
system of Zimbabwe. What makes you say that?
Why do you think your school/system is in this condition?
What strategies do you think should be used to continuously improve your
school/system?
3. Standards and quality of teaching
How do you describe a successful school, student, teacher, and school leader?
Where do you think: (a) you (b) your students (c) your leadership (d) your school (e) the
secondary education system of Zimbabwe is according to what you have just said?
What do you think should be done to maintain/sustain a successful school/the education
system?
4. Resources and working environment
What factors influence the way that you operate or perform your duties at your school?
To what extent are you involved in the decision making process at your school?
5. Level of commitment and accountability
Please comment on the system to monitor students’ progress, teachers’ and heads of
school’s accountability at your school?
What can you say about comments made about the secondary school education system
that suggest that ‘O’ level graduands/ school leavers do not meet the quality required by
industry?
What do you think about comments made by the industry and other beneficiaries of the
secondary school education system that suggest that ‘O’ level graduands/ school leavers
do not meet the quality required by industry
203
Appendix A.11 Interview schedule for stakeholders on secondary schools
Thank you for taking part in this study.
The purpose of this interview is to establish stakeholders’ attitudes to secondary schools
in Zimbabwe
The interview should last not more than 25 minutes. You have the right to pause or
suspend or stop the interview(s) at any point during the interviews. Subsequent
questionnaires and interviews to clarify some points raised at any stage of the study may
follow. All information will be treated in confidence and all those taking part will
remain anonymous during and after the study. You have the right to pull out of (or reenter) the study whenever you find fit.
Thank you for taking part.
Personal – What is your profession and involvement with secondary schools?
1. Attitudes to teachers
What do you consider as the most significant/important contribution of teachers in
schools? What makes you say that?
To what extent are teachers' contributions matching what you have said?
2. Investigating the state of school/the secondary school education system
Please comment on the current state of the secondary schools or the education system of
Zimbabwe. Why do you say that?
Why do you think the secondary schools/system is in this condition?
What frustrates you about secondary schools or the education system? Why do you say
that?
What strategies do you think should be used to continuously improve the secondary
schools/system? What makes you say that?
3. Standards and quality of teaching
How do you describe a successful school, student, teacher, and school leader?
Where do you think: (a) teachers (b) students (c) the leadership (d) local school(s) (e)
the secondary education system of Zimbabwe is according to what you have just said?
What do you think should be done to maintain/sustain a successful school/the education
system?
4. Resources and working environment
Please comment on the resources available in the schools with which you are familiar.
Why do you say that?
5. Level of commitment and accountability
What can you say about comments made about the secondary school education system
that suggest that ‘O’ level graduands/ school leavers do not meet the quality required by
industry?
What do you think about comments made about the secondary school education system
that suggest that ‘O’ level graduands/ school leavers do not meet the quality required by
industry. Why do you say that?
204
Appendix A.12
School details
University of Huddersfield
Title of study
Achieving sustained recovery and a robust sustainability of secondary schools in the
educational system of Zimbabwe.
Name of Researcher:
School details
Identification code
Name of school
Classification of school
Number of teachers
Number of students
‘O’ Level % pass rate
‘A’ Level % pass rate
Subjects studied at the school
Other information
205
Appendix B1. Using the hermeneutic circle
After reading/re-reading, writing/re-writing, and interpretation - some analysis related to
teacher experiences and that of the researcher
What made teachers get into teaching
Teacher 1A-love of teaching and influencing the minds of pupils, -seemed to be
discontented and thought that something was lacking in the secondary education
system, -wanted to influence the teacher trainers themselves to make
improvements and thought that will trickle through to the students, -initiative and
improvisation-card models for visual aids/activities that helped the community-e.g.
construction of the blair toilets in the rural areas around one (or some) his former
school(s)
Teacher 2A- liked teaching naturally because of her love for children as a mother, associated her warden and mother role to the teacher one as it all entailed assisting
children to grow, achieve and to handle situations and be better people. Still feels
the same way even under the hardships faced by the education system
Teacher 3A-high academic achievements in science linked to ‘A’ levels, -identified
hardships faced by teachers (2005, 6, 7 & 8) and whilst other teachers left, he showed
resilience and stayed on (or a lack of options), thought there were improvements and
changes for the better (from 2009), appreciation of parents’ role with reference to
retention allowance known as incentives in most schools-enabling teachers to focus on
the job, teacher morale, slow response of government to improve salaries,
remuneration issues, acknowledges government was facing challenges and also slow
to address these issues, change for the better
Teacher 4A –wanted to work (“deal") with children (“kids”), -during the economic
hardships, Teacher 4A to quit, but the idea of helping children made him stay on the job
(for 22 years). –does this show passion
All teachers at School A wanted to be teachers and had a clearly defined motive or
motives to enter the teaching profession (but teacher 3A did not express that love for
teaching in the first place the passion for the job does show in what he does). Teacher
1A wanted to influence the minds of the pupils, but seemed to be discontented with the
secondary education system. He (Teacher 1A) thought that something was lacking in
the education system and an input from teachers like himself will help rejuvenate or
make the system move on the right direction by influencing teacher trainers themselves
to make improvements. This was felt will trickle to through to the students. Teacher 2A
thought she was naturally a teacher and equated her parenthood and roles as a warden as
exemplary in the way these roles help shape and influence the minds of students or
prepare them for the world by acquiring knowledge and learning about different issues
or topics. Teacher 3Aassociated his university academic achievements as suitable
‘tools’ to teach at ‘A’ level
What made teachers get into teaching
Teacher 1C-inspired by others-working conditions have deteriorated (standards,
remuneration, the teaching environment);
Teacher 2C-motivation/attitudes-more of a passion and prefers to work with boys
who do not have many complications than girls; Discipline/control/behaviour-chose a
boys schools because she felt it is difficult to control girls than boys; despite
remuneration-“I just love teaching”
206
Teacher 3C-deliberate contribution in the socio-economic development of the
country; demoralised--let down by the poor remuneration-contemplating joining
other sectors with better salaries
Teacher 4C-passion and inspired/role models (former teachers as role models) and still
feels the same
Teacher 5C-accidental teacher/no options/unemployment-there was nothing else
available at the time, opportunities-did not want to be a teacher, but a nurse instead,
age groups of students-preferred secondary school because she thought she could not
cope with primary kids, impatient-“I don’t have patience” (this was reflected in the
interview-wanted to have the shortest possible interview with very short answers and
did not want to explain points further)
Teacher 6C-accidental teacher/opportunities-wanted to get into industry as a chemist
after university but there were no opportunities
Teachers at School C joined the teaching profession because of various reasons.
Teacher 1C was inspired by his teachers and became passionate about the job. Teacher
2C had the passion to teach and preference for teaching boys with the idea that boys
would be easier to control than girls. Teacher 4C had the passion to teach and was
inspired by former teachers which were role models to him and still feels the same way.
Teachers 5C and 6C were accidental teachers who only joined the teaching profession
because they failed to enter their preferred career options or industry. Teacher 6C
wanted to go into industry and Teacher 5C wanted to join nursing.
What made teachers get into teaching
Teacher 1B-accidental teacher/opportunities-took the available opportunity leading to
a permanent job/motivation to teach still as it was in (abundance) - entered the
profession by ‘chance’ because he was initially a primary school temporary teacher,
but did not get a training place as a primary school, that is when he applied for
secondary school training and says it was by ‘choice’ --after a leading question from
researcher--. He still feels the same appetite to teach since joining.
Teacher 2B-accidental teacher/teaching as an opportunity that arose-had to grab
it/views teaching as ‘inferior’ to something in the medical sector she wanted to do/
is a science teacher who joined the teaching profession by chance “it was just an
opportunity that came my way, then I had to grab it but that is not what I wanted
to do in life I couldn’t let it go, but I couldn’t let it go”. Teacher 2B “I wanted
something better, something in the medical sector, that is what I wanted to do”
Teacher 3B-calculated move from accounts clerk to teacher-remuneration driven/the
times she trained/ She was driven by the salary earned by student teachers, which
was higher than hers. “laughs ahh, ahh it is because of, I can say the time I trained
as teacher I was an accounts clerk at a teachers college when I compared the salary of
a student teacher and accounts clerk by then they were the Zim dollars student
teachers earned more than accounts clerks that is when I decided to become a
teacher”.
Teachers at School B mostly accidental teachers and the other also made a calculated
move driven by money as she moved from the account clerk carrier to teaching. The
only opportunities available for the other two teachers.
Initial analysis –and interpretation
Inspiration and passion from role models or those around them
207
Accidental teachers-taking the first opportunity-unemployment or inability to
enter chosen field after their higher education studies
Entering teaching professiongroups-Passionate teachers-‘a calling or
commitment’ and the love of teaching to influence the minds of pupils
discontented-to make a difference and influence the teacher trainers
accidental teachers-opportunities or unemployment
(passion and) inspiration
from teacher role models
Entering the teaching profession
 Passionate teachers--Love of teaching and influencing the minds of pupils
 Discontented -something lacking in the secondary education system and wanted
to influence the teacher trainers themselves to make improvements
 Initiative and improvisation-card models for visual aids/helping the community
 Inspiration and passion from role models or those around them
 Accidental teachers-taking the first opportunity-unemployment or inability to
enter chosen field after their higher education studies
208
Appendix C.1 Results from study-Teacher questionnaire responses at a school
209
210
211
Appendix C.2 Results from study-Stakeholder questionnaire responses
212
213
Appendix C.3-Interviews - Teacher 1A School A
Teacher 1A Head of science department at School A
I – Ok. Thank you for accepting to be interviewed on the study. And I think from the initial questionnaire
I am assuming now you have read and understood the purpose of the interview.
1A – Yes
I - So is it ok if we start straight away
1A – It’s ok
I – Ok thank you; so I will start of with a personal question. What is your role at this secondary school?
1A – I am here as a physics teacher. I teach physics Form 4, Form 5, and Form 6. I am also an HoD (head
of department) of the science department. That’s my role.
I – Thank you (interruption); moving on to the next one here to do with attitudes of teachers and their
views on the job. What made you get into secondary education?
1A – Uuhh just the love of teaching and influencing the minds of a pupil is really the driving factor for
Passionate about
teaching
joining the profession.
A sense of a
compromised
education system
A sense of lack
effectiveness in
teachers or the
education system
1A – Ya in fact right now I really feel that I should go even a step further to look at the trainers
I – Do you still feel the same now
themselves, the people who teach teachers because if you influence the teachers you influence down the
line you also influence the children.
I – So what is the most significant contribution you have made at this school
1A – Aahhh, I am not very old in this school I came in November last year, 20XX and ehh and my
contribution so far is just to make sure that the science department is ticking, it’s going; they did not have
Inspirational
teacher
the students enrolling for physics in good numbers as you just seen the [up to five] from upper sixth, but
we now have [above 10] students for lower sixth doing physics showing that they have been influenced
by my presence in this place. My contribution, enabling the school to take part in production of physicists
and people like future technologists/technocrats.
I – And also you mentioned about the school, what about in your teaching career what is the most
important thing [contribution] that you have done?
1A – Aahh my teaching career spans a number of years. I have been ahh-, I also had the opportunity to
Development
oriented leader
attributes
Relevant curricula
and inclusive: nonacademic practical
subjects
become school head and during that time I have put up libraries, I have put up administration blocks,
classroom blocks; different places where I have been to, I have also introduced practical subjects. And all
the schools I have been to, I have made it a point that they do building, woodwork wherever possible
metal work just to produce people who had with the hands on ability.
I – And moving on from your achievements, what frustrates you most in your job?
1A – The lack of recognition and motivation by the system. Let me talk about the ministry of education,
Unappreciated
for example, I think it should be able to recognise its own employees and probably motivate them. Find
Discontentment
ways of deliberately, uhh-; finding ways of motivating the teacher because you see in the past the teacher
Frustration
A sense of decline was somebody regarded as somebody in this community and will be teaching by example because of the
in teachers’ status
way the kind of the regard he was regarded with, but right now the attitude towards teachers has really
plummeted gone down right down to the bottom.
I – Ok, moving on to the next one; looking at the state of the school, your secondary school or the
education system. So this one is in different parts, but I am going to read them first I think this one is ok.
214
Please comment on the current state of your current school or current state of the education system of
Zimbabwe
1A – The state of my school
I – Ya to start with
1A – To start with, the school that I find myself at the moment I think it is doing quite well, it is doing
quite well except that probably they are having problems with resources in equipping their various
A sense of
achievement at ‘A’
departments, like this department, the science department, it requires a lot of funding, but as it is, it is
level
Lack of resources moving really well because the school is number X [in the top ten] nationally in terms of pass rate at ‘A’
Level. So I think that speaks volumes about the state, which I think it is quite commendable.
I – Can you please elaborate; when you said the word well; you mentioned results, can you say anything
more.
1A – Concerning the performance of the school as compared to other schools in Zimbabwe, it is number
X [in top ten] nationally, so you can see it is in the top ten in the nation; which means the state is quite
reasonably.
I – And the system itself; the education system
1A – Within the country
I – Aahha
1A – Well, the education system within the country, ehhh, I think it was quite a good response to the
Increased access
Recent trends of
deteriorating
education system
A sense of
compromised
quality of
education
A lack of
resourcesimprovising in the
rural school setting
needs of the majority of the people. Looking at the number of secondary schools it shows that there is
this deliberate move to make education available to a wide, you know, ehh, group of people but
unfortunately right now we have seen a deterioration of -, may I call them standards as far as materials are
concerned, the infrastructure, materials and the actual materials in education has been a deterioration in
the supply itself and some schools are running without any piece of equipment especially in the science
departments. A point in question is one school I taught in 20XX down in [named location] where I was
manning the science department without a single piece of apparatus and the nearest I got to carrying out
an experiment was when I was using sticks and stones, grass and also string.
I – Improvise
1A – Ya improvise, without that otherwise there was nothing, no thermometer.
I – What strategies do you think should be improve this school or the system?
1A – For this school I think there is need to open, ehh, communication with the organisations that could
Seeking help
Attributes of an
ineffective teacher
Underutilisation
and lack of
confidence of to
use equipment
be of help. Here I am thinking of international NGOs and I am also thinking of such newly established
mining giants like Mbada Diamonds. Make a deliberate policy and to try approach such people in search
of assistance. I think that will go a long way to improve the things that are going on in the school in terms
of education. Ehh nationally, I think what I noticed there is need to train a teacher who is innovative first
of all. It is very very important. A teacher who is confident to try out new things, unlike what I think I see
in most places where you find equipment though little in amount gathers dust on the shelves because the
teacher does not have the confidence to handle it. Let alone to try completely new things if that could be
done it will go a long way to be quite a reasonable step towards improving our system of education then
after that they should have a deliberate policy also to equip the schools because once you have the school
you just have to bite the bullet face the consequence in terms of the cost the cost of the education.
215
I – thank you, before I move on to that is it I think you mentioned policies on and industrial giants like [X
company]
1A – Yes
I – Have you approached them before
1A - When I came to this school it was one of the things that crossed my mind that being [a] high school
Initiative and
proactive
Approachable
school leaders
Communication
between school and
other organisations
Collaboration at its
infancy
in the area where [such companies] operating. I approached the school authorities, the heads to say isn’t it
possible to talk to these people so I am told that the people have been to have been made aware of our
needs already and they approached the school and asked to give them what our requirements are, which I
did as department head. I listed a number of things we need in the physics department, chemistry
department, biology and food science; so we have done that already, yeh.
I – Moving on to one on standards and quality of teaching; how do you describe a successful school,
student, teacher and school leader; so don’t worry I will repeat them.
1A – A successful school, I think a successful school is one which churns out students that have the
Achievementsacademic
necessary qualifications to go wherever they want to go; a situation of high percentage pass rates at ‘O’
level or making sure that those schools or making sure that those who do not go to high school qualify to
go to college and at ‘A’ level a school that produces as many students as possible who go to university,
right, that what I say, as a successful school, it is really doing what it is established for.
I – And a successful student
1A – A successful student I think is one who has a thirst for knowledge. Somebody who wants-, who is
Attributes of a
student-motivated
to learn
developed in him the desire to build as much as possible-, you know, from a wide range of subjects and
that will be a successful student. One who is willing to learn.
I – And a successful teacher
1A – A successful teacher is one who teaches by example, who is quite exemplary, and also one who
MotivationAttributes of
teachers
Inspire students to
learn
Effectiveness
motivates because for children or students to enjoy their learning or their search for knowledge I think
that is more successful than just being loaded with knowledge and one who motivates that causes them to
enjoy the subject that’s how I will look at a successful teacher
I – A successful leader
1A – A successful leader is one who, would, I think ehh cause the people he leads to bite into whatever
MotivationAttributes of a
school leader
Shared vision
Effectiveness
project or programme, right, one who motivates the people he leads to really whole heartedly take part in
what they are doing and feel they own the thing it is theirs and not his. That’s a successful leader.
I – Now after what you have said, where doing you are in all those terms, where do you do you think you
are?
Motivator
Promoting
independent
learning
1A – Personally, I am a motivator. I call myself a successful teacher because I really like causing people
to get to grab whatever we are talking about, to like the-; as a head many times we see the staff being
able to build themselves enjoying in what is happening like what is happening now. I just introduce the
topics then I say this is what you are going to do, this is part of the syllabus and the part of the student I
just come in when the concept requires need for clarification and greater depth required, but the technique
initially they were quite hesitant, but right now they enjoy it.
I – You talked about yourself your students also what do you say where are they now from what you
have said earlier about your students
216
1A – I think my students ahh ehh they appear to enjoy themselves. What I see in them is that they are
Motivational
Students engaging now enjoying because if they don’t have their periods [free]; if it is not time for physics, they are always
in learning
there and now when the lab is opened and now they are competing; Form five and Form six, they are now
competing to do something because I have given the kind of motivation that I see is necessary.
I – It appears to show that they are more engaged in what they are doing.
1A – Yes
I – And also you mentioned a leader; what do you think about the leadership in your school?
1A – For the short time that I have been here, I have observed lot of devolution of responsibilities were
Good leadership
they seem to have powers; is not really in one place. You find that the power has devolved throughout. I
am not fully used to what is happening right now. I have seen that the administration
are in their
proper place and proper responsibilities to make decisions, you see, and so I think given that situation the
kind of leadership I have here; that is what I think this is what I will call a good leader.
I - And about in general, what is the state of your school
Progress –
improving and
room for
improvement
1A – Our school is ehh by comparison with those I have been to, been to many places, I think it’s a fairly
alright although much could be done and I think it is on its way it is on an upward trend.
I – Now coming to the big one, the education system.
1A - Within the country. Yeh, that one, it touched my heart. I may end up becoming prejudiced or
emotional and not become intellectual [objective] and fair but what I have observed over the years that I
have been a teacher is that, I started teaching immediately after independence [immediately] after
independence in 19XX that is when I started teaching. I have noticed a lot of excitement and there was a
Progress –
improving
Increased access to
education
Appropriate
science kit
lot of euphoria where, ehh, the ministry itself was restructuring things and I remember at college we were
Resources –
effective
Effective teaching
Recent
deterioration of
school
ZimScience kit, right, that one I remember we would be using very simple materials but it was quite
talking about the types of education, you see, that they should actually be more relevant to a
socialist
state or an independent country, right, making education available to all people and you see I was part
of the first cadres after graduation seeing things on the ground. My very first stint was at a rural
secondary school were there was this simple, but very effective science kit which they called the
effective in terms of getting the concepts, but over the years I think over the years starting around 1998
then we started to see the waning away of these materials because of the life span there was no
replacement of that material to the extent that right now there is nothing called a science kit the students,
ehh, I taught in 1983 in 1984 my first graduates; Form 4 ‘O’ level 1984 I remember they really enjoyed
there science, it was in the countryside, but it was enjoyable because there was a lot of experiments that
were going on. A lot of excitement you know, the things that were happening then it was proved by the
Lack of resources pass rate. The students who had passed so now we have seen a deterioration, a real deterioration to the
UNICEF assistance
extent, as I have said some schools have nothing, they don’t have anything in terms of equipment; I am
Signs of
improvement
talking about science now concerning other areas also I have noticed it has recently improved as a result
of the UNICEF, intervention as a general improvement because all subject areas are now catered for.
There was a time when there was one book for 30, 20 people in a class so where are we now; can I say
things are improving after having a nose dive things are now seeming to be coming up in terms of supply
of books, but in terms of equipment and materials I think we are still at a low point.
I - What do you think should be done to maintain or sustain a successful school?
217
1A – A successful school first, what should be done, I think for a school to be successful, ehh, all efforts
Discipline
Motivation
Shared vision and
ownership
Exemplary teachers
and leadership
by, probably, the leadership of the school must be made to make sure, right, to have the right
the
discipline in the student and the motivation and also the motivation of the teacher, right, there are many
ways besides money, monetary, you know, eehh, motivation, we can also have other forms of motivation.
So I think to improve schools you need the teachers to feel that they are part of the school I think that is
the most important thing and also the students should be proud of their school and the relationship
between the teachers and the students is one of the guides and people who being guided and the guide
naturally must be exemplary.
I - So you mention maybe one example on the other forms of motivation; do you have any other?
Feel valued –
acknowledging
teachers’ efforts
Incentives
Sensitivity to
teachers’ needs
1A - I looking at a situation where appreciation-, when there is appreciation-, verbal appreciation is quite
a lot apart form that you can talk of accommodation and like also here they make sure that at ten o’clock
[am] teachers, they are supplied with tea; at lunch hour they are provided with food, such things I think it
is very important, just being sensitive to the needs of the individual, accommodation is one of them
[laughs].
I – Thank you so much. This is one is on resources and working environment, I think you have talked
about it; I might skip it-you can add on to it; what factors affect the way you operate or perform your
duties, apart from resources? You mentioned resources.
1A – Apart from resources, ehh, can you come again with that question.
I – It was- what factors affect the way you operate or perform duties at your school? I might just remind
you talked about appreciation, you talked about resources and many other things, is there anything else or
in summary.
Relationships
A sense of
belonging
1A – Human relations, they are very important; because when people are new people just come together;
they live together as brothers and sister rather than looking down at each other or feeling that they
belong, they don’t belong, they are new, they are old or something like that, you know, human relations.
I – So also looking at working environment, which is in relations-let us go to the next one-, to what extent
are you involved in decision making processes at your school?
1A – Aahh, as an HoD, yaa, it’s quite large, ehh, it’s quite some extent; I don’t know whether to call it to
a large extent, yes; because why I am saying that is when I came here there was very little equipment,
Involvement in
decision-making on because the lab was not properly equipped, but when I said what I needed I got it with a bit of negotiation,
matters to do with
but at the end of the of day you find we have ordered some equipment that was not ordered before or that
resources
was deemed too expensive.
I – Thank you so much on that one. The next one is on level of accountability and commitment I think we
have touched here and there, but this one is becoming quite specific. Please comment on the system to
monitor students’ progress, teachers’ progress and heads of school’s progress at your school.
Monitoring –clear
on the teachers’ side
Difficulty in keeping
up and maintaining
the standards
Effects on quality
and effectiveness
A sense of
compromised
education system
1A – I don’t know about the heads of school and probably who monitors them, but I know with teachers
it is quite reasonable. We are informed in advance that we are going to do observations, ehh, books are
asked for, because on Friday he was asking for books, a sample of books from every teacher. Subject
teachers submit some books for just assessment. Eehh, students’ progress, well, these are departmental
requirements. The department has got its requirements where the students are expected to meet those
standards, right. However the monitoring to what extent to tell truthfully, there are times when things are
left; there is laxity here and there, where there is no real follow-up, you see. The standards are set, but
218
then following them up, a number of factors probably militate against the falling through of these
standards.
I – So you said you do not know much about the heads, heads of school accountability
Monitoring and
accountability
1A – Yes [no], I don’t know, but I think they are answerable to the board of education probably the board
of the mission school because it is a faith school so they should-, I think they have an input, they have got
their own education board. I am told the auditors come to check on them, ya.
I – Now moving on to another part; what can you say about comments made about that suggest that ‘O’
level graduands or school leavers do not meet the quality required by industry?
1A - Now what can I say, what word can I use; it’s correct, that comment seems to be drawn from the fact
that the-; truly most of our graduates or graduands can get into industry and get trained, apparently
Schools providing
the basics
Industry takes over
from their
showing that the education system itself is not equipping them, clearly, to be immediately functional. In
as far as they are trained to be receptive of the basics that they need more knowledge from the very
industries, they do help in terms of preparing the student to be a receptacle of whatever information that
they need, but not to make them skilled when they get into industry. I think that comment, it seems is
quite true.
I - So what role should industry do [take] to address that? Who should address that?
1A – Right, who should address that, I think, since within a country such as ours, the Ministry of
Responsibility
Commitment to
prepare students for
the development of a
nation
Links between
schools and industry
A sense of a lack of
collaboration
education is set up to prepare citizens, right, for the development I believe of their nation and the
industries themselves are a result of the development of a particular nation. So I think the industry should
be some kind of feedback into the education system, right. There should be a link where the industry
should plough in [and identifying its or] these requirements, so that they are produced so that it benefits,
but as it is there seems to be a cut-off there is a lack of-, a state or a vacuum a gap, I don’t know, a gap.
Because when a student leaves school, there have to-, there is this gap somehow. They have to be helped
to jump onto the next steps, the industry step, you see. If they don’t, that is why probably we do not have
students establishing their own industry, thereby creating employment to the nation. They wait to be sort
of pulled across by industry because there is no continuity in terms of skills.
I – You mentioned earlier you were starting practical subjects, was that your aim?
Application of
knowledge
Links between
schools and
community-see
relevance of
acquired skills
Relevant nonacademic practical
curricula
1A - Yes the idea was-, you see when-, the very first school which I headed, I started as a deputy head in
some secondary school in X [named rural area]. When I left to start to head my own school I started to
exercise my own mental capacities. So when I got there, I looked around the community, so you could see
there was no real link between the community and the school. So what does the school do that benefits
the community? These people are coming from the community they get to the school, ‘processed’ by the
school, send back to the community and then improve that particular community. That was my purpose.
The first practical subject was building because when I looked around there were no-, not even blair
toilets, nothing, in the vicinity of the school. If these people go back and build, and they did. So this is the
kind of thing were the idea is secondary schools produce graduates who can improve, right, it might be
the industrial community or their residential community, whatever. They need to be people who are
relevant and they are the leaders in terms of taking their people a step further and not to just go there to
sink and disappear, only to be rescued. Oh, my brother is a manager at a certain industry; what have you
done at ‘O’ level, you can bring your papers and then they are forced to fit into that. It might take much
longer to train because it is not down to the industry itself. When you look at things like nepotism, you
219
see. That is when it becomes detrimental because the people who are taken there, they are just taken there
because they know someone.
I – Now one last comment from me. Looking at the industry, do you think they should do what you were
doing at your school, the industry itself?
More input from
industry required
1A – Yes, I think so. I think the industry itself must have a lot of-, must not necessarily train the people,
but coming in. Their input must be felt more than it is right now and I think they must be given enough
platform within the education system to determine or to decide the sort of skills that must be parted, the
requisite skills. I think they must be given a platform, as it is I don’t think they are.
I – Thank you so much. Thank you very much for participating in the interview. I think you got a vast
amount of experienced as well and I think from what you said, you gained a lot from what you achieved
throughout your career, thank you very much.
1A – My pleasure
220
Appendix C.4-Interviews-Teacher 2B School B
Teacher 2B Head of the science department at School B
I – Thank you for taking part in this study that I am carrying out. Have you read the whole purpose of the
study?
2B – Ya
I – Thank you first I will start with a personal question, what is your role at this secondary school?
2B – I am a science teacher.
I –I move onto the attitudes, what made you get into secondary school?
Accidental
/circumstantial
teacher; life time
opportunity
Teaching inferior
job or low status
Discontentment –
monetary benefits
and incentives
2B – It was just an opportunity that came my way, then I had to grab it, but that is not what I wanted to do
in life. I couldn’t let it go, but I couldn’t let it go.
I – It was circumstantial. What did you want to do?
2B – I wanted something better, something in the medical sector; that is what I wanted to do.
I – So, now looking at the education system and the work here; what frustrates you here?
2B – The incentive issue, our school is a poor school, very poor such that it can’t give us anything
meaningful.
Awareness of the
inequalities in
incentives
I – When you say meaningful, what do you mean?
2B – We are being given $40 a month, which is not enough whereas some other schools bigger schools
with at least $100 a month, so that discrepancy it frustrates me
I – Moving on to something else, please comment on the current state of your school and move on to the
bigger picture of the education system.
A sense of poor
leadership
A sense of a lack
of commitment or
dedication and
accountability
2B – Our school has got one weakness, which is administrative, such that only those with a calling are the
Demotivated-poor
salaries
Justification for
any deficiencies
on the job
Sense of
compromised
system emerging
atmosphere
A sense of poor
infrastructure
improve.
ones who concentrate on their work. That is the problem so far. However, the working conditions are
quite good because of the weakness it makes because there is minimum supervision.
I – And you mentioned the leadership [administration/supervision], so it appears you prefer that relaxed
2B – Yeh, because of the little salary, remuneration, because you do not work under pressure.
I – So, what strategies are there in school to improve the school itself in terms of students, teachers,
leadership?
2B – They are trying to improve the infrastructure, there is provision of textbooks, they are trying to
improve the infrastructure by painting the school, trying to, yes some little developments trying to
I – And moving on to something on standards and quality of the school, how do you describe a successful
school?
Resources
Motivation
Accountability
2B - Successful school; firstly, enough resources, secondly, a teacher should be motivated to work to their
fullest, then there should be maximum supervision to ensure that the goals are achieved and the objectives
I – And how will you describe a successful student?
Achievement
Citizenship
2B – A student who can explain that learning has taken place and achieved high results and also besides
the academics, in terms of character should be of good personality because learning involves a number of
things; it is not only about academic. It is about nurturing a pupil to be a citizen.
I – And a successful teacher?
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Passion and
motivated
2B – A successful teacher, should have passion as well, should work not because you want to be paid but
because you want to see your pupils making it.
I – And a successful leader in the school?
Effective
leadership and
achievement
2B - A leader should ensure that the goals and objectives of the ministry as well as the school are
achieved.
I – Do you know some of the goals of the ministry and the school that you can state?
Desirable products 2B – Our goals, first of all we need to-, we used to produce better citizens because we are the ones who
Beneficial to the
produce the leaders of tomorrow and they can be useful students. They have to be useful so that our
country
country will benefit economically and socially and whatever. We are the ones who should nurture them.
I – I think you have mentioned a bit about where your school is, from what you have just said what can
your school is?
2B – Its quite-, in terms of the pass rate the pass rate is quite low, two, because of those weaknesses we
Low pass rate
School losing
appeal or
popularity
Effects on school
size
have experienced a lot of pupils are transferring to other schools such that it has become a small school.
Because of those weaknesses it has become a very very small school because when I came here, about
seven years ago, it was a big school but right now it is a very very small school.
I – So you mentioned and improvement how you as a school sustain and maintain those improvement
those improvements
Minor
improvements
2B – The improvements are quite minor that the even do any change to current situation because they
are minor just like painting the building what has that got to do with what is happening inside; the
improvements are not that significant.
I – So you think that they [improvements] should be more?
2B – Yah, the major improvement should be that of the administration part of it. That would-, will bring
A need for
much impact. We need pupils to come back. There is need for the marketing of our school. The reputation
effective leadership
Marketing strategy is just going to the drain. So there is need of the improvements.
to attract students I - You have already talked about resources, but besides resources and remuneration what else influences
the way you operate in the school?
Very critical of the 2B - The way we operate, we enjoy what we are doing because there is this, aahh, the laissez-faire that we
leadership style
have [here] laissez-faire that we have, you know, there is a lot of freedom.
I – To what extent are you involved in decision making processes?
2B – Ya, I am quite involved a lot besides being the head of department (HOD), when things are wrong,
Participation in
decision-making
Ineffective
leadership
because of those weaknesses, I am one of those people who is called to iron out things because people
who are up there [referring to the school leadership] are quite weak. So there are times when things are
not well, especially hostile parents when they come, they can’t manage them, so at times I am involved.
At times I am even consulted for advice on crucial matters even though I am not part of the admin, but
there are times when I am just called.
I – So, won’t you consider this as an opportunity to go into admin [leadership]
No leadership
aspirations, but
willing to
participate
2B - I am too junior, those who are up there are my seniors. They have been here for a long time, but
whenever there is an opportunity I am always called in, especially when one of them goes on leave. Those
who go on leave, they always opt for me, but I am still a junior, those up there are my seniors.
I – What I am trying to say is for you to move from here [this school] to another place.
222
Prefer other roles
e.g. lecturer
clear sense of
career direction
2B – I don’t like to do that me. I don’t like it. I prefer to be-, to specialise in an area and become a
lecturer. I don’t want to be an administrator [referring to school leadership].
I – So you have a goal?
2B – Ya, that is what I want.
I – Please comment on the system to monitor students’ progress, teachers’ progress and school leaders’
progress.
2B – At our school?
I – Yes at your school
2B - The monitoring of pupils of course it is done, however the problem that we have here is because
Monitoring
Poor calibre of
students
Lack of quality
most of the pupils that we enrol they would have failed their grade seven, because most of them, they
would have failed we don’t have better students in terms of quality. When we talk of the grade, most of
the students that we enrol would have failed the grade seven. Three quarters of them we know they will
fail definitely.
I – What is the school doing about it to make sure that the school enrols better students who pass?
Writing students
off and forgetting
it’s the teacher’s
responsibility to
help students to
achieve. Defeatist
attitude and
compromised
education system
or incompetence
A sense of
achievement
A sense of
commitment or
responsibility and
involvement in the
life of the school.
Guilt conscience
2B – The school cannot do anything because we take what is there. If someone passes at lower primary or
elementary school; those who pass are said to go to better schools or town and those ones which parents
know they can’t achieve anything; those are the ones who are put to our school, so you can’t do much.
However, regardless of those obstacles, we have managed to make pupils to pass, they maybe 4 or 5,
which is quite a lot because we will be changing 20 units into an a B; 20 units into an A.
I – So in your case, what is the most significant contribution that you have made in teaching or at this
school?
2B – Yaa, since I got into the field I have not produced a zero percent pass rate; yaa, I have done a lot of
counselling to pupils and even to other workmates I have done quite a lot in my department because
currently I have opted to teach mathematics because there was a crisis because there was no maths
teacher, but I volunteered because of the nature of the degree I am doing. I can’t lie before God that I can
sit back and watch pupils without a teacher whilst I can assist.
I – What can you say about comments made about the secondary education system that suggest that ‘O’
level graduands or school-leavers do not meet the quality of industry?
Nostalgia and a
reference point to 2B –Uhm, if you are to view it from the situation in Zimbabwe, which used to prevail, yes, because some
compare and
of the pupils; some of the students were half-baked, because of low remuneration, uhhm, a number of
contrast
Teacher attitudes- economic factors which affected our country, the political situation; it led to producing half-baked
justification for
ineffective teaching [graduands] because even currently right now the teachers that we were producing between 2000 and
Compromised
2009 they are half-baked they are not professionals most of the time, even their behaviour. Because
education-concerns
during that era there wasn’t anyone at EO’s office, so those people were half-baked.
over products of
the education
I – So when you look at that then, can you comment on the monitoring system of such teachers.
system.
Lack of effective 2B – The monitoring, yes, they are actually putting some effort. The education officers, inspectors, but
monitoring and
however, they [newly trained teachers] are not groomed as professionals they were not nurtured. So there
accountability
is this wild behaviour that they have so at times. They won’t understand what you mean by
Effects of
professionalism because they were not groomed to be one. There is actually a difference between the
economic and
political situation behaviour of the old teachers and the new teachers, which we recruited during that period because of that.
on teacher
professionalism
223
I – Ok. You can make any comment you want to make; any comment you want to make about your
Frustrations:
Inequalities
between rural
teachers and other
teachers
Poor welfare
Lack of motivation
Frustrations:
Negative effects on
Inequalities
students
Do away with
incentives and get
paid enough by
government
school or about the system?
2B – Ya, there is need of equal-, the issue of incentives has produced much difference between the
teachers; the urban teacher, the boarding teacher; they are so different from us. We live different lives.
They would be working on $US800 every month, whilst we are on very little. ‘Saka’ [so] that
discrepancy, the rural pupils, it has affected the pupils as well because there is no motivation. The rural
teacher is not motivated at all, whilst the urban teacher, they are enjoying. Everyday they will be making
money. It’s either they having or teaching extra lessons, they are getting incentives whilst for us we can’t
do extra lessons after work because the [rural] parents can’t afford; saka [so] that is a serious problem
and government should [address] make sure that they pay teachers and remove incentive issue.
I – Thank you so much. To sum up I think it goes back to the way the teacher is remunerated and then
motivation comes from within. I think you also mentioned passion as well
2B – Yaa
I – Thank you so much for taking part.
224
Appendix C.5-Interviews-Teacher 1C School C
Teacher 1C –a science classroom at School C
I - Thank you for agreeing to take part in the study. I think you have read the whole purpose of the
interview or study?
1C – Yes I did.
I – Thank you very much. So I will just start off with a personal question. What is your role at this
secondary school?
1C – I am just a teacher.
I – Which subject?
1C – Science.
I – Science.
1C - Teaching science up to ‘O’ level.
I – Now looking at your views into teaching; what made you get into secondary school education?
Attracted by the
1C – I just admired the then prevailing [working] conditions, by then when I joined the profession in
working conditions
19XX, uhh, (interruption - kwanzi ndinoda kubuda [a request to meet the headmaster who wanted to go
somewhere])
I – [after meeting the headmaster] We just carry on now. I was asking what made you get into teaching; I
think you said you admired the prevailing conditions.
1C – It was lucrative then when I joined the profession.
I- uhhm, And do you still feel the same?
1C – No.
I – No. Why?
Aware of declined 1C – The standards have gone down, the remuneration and also the teaching environment is no longer as
standards and that
conducive as it used to be.
of th e working
environment
I – And apart from-, that is ok; can you just tell me or what you consider as your most significant or
important contribution at this school and somewhere else you have taught.
1C – Yaa I am [have] gone through the ranks so far being a teacher, being a simple teacher, been an
Varied experience
in education
Resilient- coped
through tough
times
Poor resources
HoD, a senior teacher. I have also acted as a head and I believe that is has contributed immensely in the
education system, I have-, I think I am a very ardent contributor to the education system as it were but it
was a tough time. The resources the resources were meagre if I may say that, but [are] we still thriving
through.
I – So when you say you contributed a lot what exactly; give me an example of contributions.
A sense of
achievement-pass
rate
Involved in the life
of the school
e.g. non-academic
Concernsfrustrations:
inadequate
resources, large
class sizes
1C – I can give you an example, when I was teaching in the rural areas I managed to increase the pass rate
in my science and my non/other specialist subject which is geography, which was commendable. I was
also once a trainer and I, behind me I have got ten students who at one time were participating in
international sporting activities from the rural areas, in athletics.
I – We move on to another question; what frustrates you in your job besides remuneration?
1C – Aahh resources; it is just inadequate and also the sizes of the classes, they are too big, you see
yourself teaching up to 60 students. That is too big a class. I would be appreciative where we have maybe
a class that is about 30 to 40. That will make it easier to teach.
I – That again links to resources that you mentioned.
225
Concernsunderfunding
Overstretched
teacher-in large
class sizes
1C – Again resources, we see that when we have plenty of students in class you tend to fragment the
resources, such that, you discover that resources are becoming inadequate when you try to provide the
best you can. You as a teacher you are a resource that is divided among the 60 students in a class. That is
inadequate human resource if I may say and also the availability of the materials and resources in the
education system is underfunded.
I – Looking at the state of the schools, I think you already mentioned resourcing and yah mostly
resourcing, can you please comment on the current state of the school, this school and also in general.
1C – Ok, I am privileged to be an old boy in this school, I understand to be what it is to be a student in the
Changes –observed
and experienced
changes
School had a high
status
Deterioration of
school
Underfunding
Accountability
required
school and I also understand what it is to be a teacher in the school and (interruption); so I was saying as
an old boy this school used to be a beacon of the city, it used to be ehh more like a tourist attraction,
…but as of now things have changed. It has deteriorated. The infrastructure, like, for example, I teach
science; you get to the lab; there is no gas that is needed for the experiments to be done. You also find a
lot of things have been broken and they are not being replaced because of the of the [shortages of]
resources. That is why I say the resources are being underfunded. I might not [be sure], but somewhere,
somehow, someone should be responsible for the [provision of resources]
I – Now looking at what you have said; you say someone should be responsible, as a school here; what
strategies do you think should be implemented to make sure the school is going to improve?
Dependent on fees
1C – Yaa, as a school sometimes we tend to look towards the parents for the payment of school fees and
for funding and
collaboration with so forth, but that is not adequate and so forth. This is a big institution. It needs some external funding of
parents
some sort for it to be sustainable, but then those external funds are not available. We are trying by all
means to mobilise the parents so that we can be able to, but when it comes to external funds of some sort
in Zimbabwe it is just dry.
I – Looking at the standards and quality of the school can you please describe a successful school should
be like.
R – The standards and …?
I - Looking at the standards and quality, you may not use those words. I want you to describe a successful
school? How do you describe a successful school?
1C – A successful school is one that has staff that are highly motivated, that wants to work and that has
Effective attributes
passion for their work. This is when it transcend into the success of the students because a highly
of a teacher
Concerns with
motivated teacher will teach very well or will actually communicate very well with his students as it were
large class sizes
and this increases the pass rate of the students and you also discover that if the teacher is happy, the
students are also happy, as it were and the parents are also happy. Right, the other factor that also helps in
a highly successful school is the one that I have mentioned about pupil teacher ratio. In fact in itself, when
the class is very large it is very demotivating, but when we have an acceptable teacher pupil ratio you
discover that the teacher becomes highly motivated again and he or she is adequate as to his/her teaching
profession.
I – One thing you have been talking about…1C carried on
Facilities, resources
1C – …and also the infrastructure also should be conducive, infrastructure and resource provision and if
and learning
environment
you are adequately provided with resources. So the apex, this success of the school is in the motivation of
Teacher motivation
the personnel. [If the] personnel are motivated everything is fine.
I – And, also, the same for students; how will you describe a successful student?
226
Motivation
Education lost its
meaning
1C – A successful student, I will describe a successful student in the same ways as I described the
teacher; [successful student] is motivated- has the attitude of achievement. Sometimes you find students
who have lost [hope]; they no longer have that passion for being educated. Maybe when they try to [look]
far [–farther –ahead in life after school] they see nothing. When we had cut our visions, we were seeing
successful doctors, engineers in the far reaching end, but now our students are not seeing that. We have a
lot of successful students loitering around the streets and that is demotivating on the part of the student.
So a highly successful student is one who is highly motivated to achieve much.
I – When you say you have seen successful students who are loitering around can you please clarify what
you mean by successful?
Academic
achievements
1C – I mean they have been successful academically.
I – Academically
1C – But then they would have been absorbed by the system making that success.
I – Thank you. Coming to the same thing again how can you describe successful leaders? How will you
describe a successful leader in a school?
1C – A successful leader is one who mobilises, ahh, resources for his subordinates, he provides for his
Attributes of a
school leader:
provision of
resources and
motivational
subordinates, adequate resources, and one on the most that I will say is motivation, it is a resource. If you
adequately motivate your staff, then you are a successful leader. If you adequately provide resources to
your subordinates, then you are a successful leader.
I – Moving on now; from what you have said now, where are you now?
R – You mean I for one?
I – Yaa, as a teacher, your students, your school and your school leaders (interruption-some more teachers
Motivating
students
Reach a point of
giving up
A sense of
cognitive
dissonance
Subdued
Conscients
A sense of
commitment
Uncertainty
Contemplating
leaving
coming for the questionnaires).
1C – What I can say myself, I have tried my best, under trying situations. Tried to motivate students, tried
my best to support my subordinates. I am happy about my performance, but ahh sometimes there are
times when you feel that you are over using yourself; as I said the classes are too big and sometimes you
end up ahh being demotivated to work, but there are sometimes when you wake up; I think I am
forgetting; then [I] start to teacher over again.
I – Exactly
1C – I have tried.
I - The passion is there.
1C – The passion is still there, but I don’t know, two to three years, because things are hard.
I – What about the school compared to the successes you mentioned earlier? Where do you think [you
A sense of
deteriorated school
or education
Poorly resourced
Ineffective
teaching
A sense of
underachievement
and compromised
education system
Subdued
achievement
Some effort and a
sense of
commitment
are] as a school, where is School C?
1C – The school is trying, it was shattered especially around the years 2007, 2008, 2009 when teachers
were skipping out of the country to the diaspora. We are trying, but under trying times, anywhere when
we are being inadequately provided for, but we are trying. In fact our teaching has become more of mouth
teaching than practical teaching, but with that we are trying.
I – And the students themselves, how do you find them, being a single gender school how are they
performing?
R – Yahh being…School C, where people have a never die spirit; the students themselves are trying their
part. Yes there was a time when we almost had zero performance because the education system had
227
almost gone to the dogs, but with the effort that the staff members are putting right now, the students are
taking a leaf out of that effort.
I – Thank you for that before I move on to the next one so its looking at this again; what you have said
about the resources, motivation, remuneration, besides all those other things how else can you make sure
you maintain or sustain all these successes that you mentioned in school? You said you tried by all means
under those conditions; really dire, those dire conditions, near zero resources; how can you now sustain
that success and improvement you have been talking about?
A sense of hope
keeping teachers
going
1C – We just hope one day everything will be fine; that [we] will push through, that can push us. We just
have to hope for better, a brighter day one day in the future and that is what is pushing us through.
I – It is that which is there
1C – Uuhm
I – Thank you; uhum, you have talked a lot about resources, remuneration and class sizes; is there
anything else apart from resources, remuneration and class sizes or something else that affect the way you
operate?
Major concerns and
frustrations:
1C – Haa, I don’t think there is anything else apart from that.
remuneration,
I – To what extent are you involved in the decision making in the school?
resources, class
1C – Aahh, being just a teacher who doesn’t have any other responsibility except for standing in front of
sizes
the students as a classroom practitioner, I am not very much involved in the administration of the school.
I – Eehh if you make request [for resources] are they honoured?
Taking a realistic
position or
environment
Subdued
1C – Sometimes they are, sometimes they are not, you may, that is understandable. The other factors that
I have mentioned about resources, if it is not there it is not there. You have to understand the kind of
environment you are operating under.
I – And now on the next one, please comment on the student progress, the teachers
and also school
leaders progress in the school.
1C– Right, I believe the system is quite ok, but the implementation; the system is planned, but the
Poor
implementation of implementation is what is lacking?
initiatives
I – How is it lacking?
1C – Zimbabwe or should I say my country is very good at drafting policies, which are never well
implemented. Like the system makes a lot of follow-ups as to gauge success with the system. Like, for
example, if I were to take the lowest level; how to measure the pupil success; ehh, I feel it has been solely
Lack of
collaboration
Inconsistency in
assessments and
monitoring
left out to the teacher, to see how the student is performing, when it could have been made the
responsibility of the whole system, the teacher, the administration, the parents and also the whole
education system. So; but, the policy is supposed to be the responsibility whole system, but at the end of
the day resources are inadequate and the system is not implemented. You see variation if you compare
Lack of supervision two schools; one school, students are just writing revision tests within a term and another school a teacher
Impact on
is just having one revision test. So you discover that there is something that is lacking. There is lack of
accountability
supervision within the system and yet the system calls for a lot of supervision.
I – Will it be down to the school to what they need to do?
or…[1C interjected]
1C – The school what they need to do
I – The school
1C – The higher level above the school should be
228
I – So, where do you think there is a break down?
1C – At all levels.
I – At all levels.
Subdued teacher
A sense of
discontentmentgiving up
A sense of
compromised
education system –
negative attitude
1C – The people are demotivated. In Shona we say, ndinofirei (In Shona- a Zimbabwean vernacular
language- we say, why bother or see no point in doing something)
I – Ndinofireyi (why bother) (laughter) ok, so does that apply to the teachers and then to the school
leaders? Does that apply to school heads? Does that apply across?
1C – It applies across, at every level; teachers, heads almost everyone is demotivated. It only calls for
someone who still has the passion.
I - What can you say about comments that suggest that ‘O’ level school leavers or graduands do not meet
the quality required by industry. Here, when I say industry, it could be colleges, ehh, Form six [those
proceeding to ‘A’ level] or anyone who ones to engage/take any ‘O’ levels or the job market.
1C – I do agree. They don’t really meet the quality. I agree. Why? If you look maybe it’s the system,
Failure to meet
which is exam oriented. Teachers are teaching for pupils to pass exams, not to fit into the world. There
quality required in
are some other subjects, which you can leave all other things and teach materials towards exams and such
industry
Exam oriented
a student will come up with an A grade at the end of this teaching process, but when that student gets to
curricula
the world he is not prepared because he was taught for the exam. That is the reason why I have said our
Talk show
Lack of exposure teaching is becoming to be a talk show. The teacher, for example, I teach science I want a situation where
and links between
theory and practical I take my students to Sable chemical industry so that they really see what exactly is happening, and we
aspects of learning also look at the economics as it stand. I might want to take my students to Mutare Board and Paper Mills;
there is no Mutare Board and Paper Mills where we used to produce our paper and so in other ways we
are teaching in a situation ( interruption- were we do not have [the industry]; it is not around). I was
saying the reason why teaching has become a talk show is because we hardly visit anywhere that is
functional, where students appreciate that this is related to [or] in this industry. So, the blame should go to
both sides. The school has become a talk show, why? Because the industry is non-functional. So this
student is taught and is just taught verbally and he goes away, when he goes into industry he is going to
start a new industry [area of speciality]; starting in something new.
I – ok thank so much. Thank you very much. I think it was insightful.
1C – It’s ok.
I – Thank you
229
Appendix C.6-Interviews-Teacher 6D School D
Teacher 6D –Deputy Headmaster and computer studies teacher at School D
I – Ok. Thank you for taking part in this study and I can say after looking at the information sheet I can
say you understood the purpose of the study.
6D – Yee, I do. I think I do, though maybe, ehh, some clarification on the second part; the effectiveness
of the schools and services.
I – It is for the effectiveness of teaching. We are looking at the success, the outputs; those people who are
coming out of the system, whether we are meeting the needs of the country, when they come out
wherever they are going; their destinations, wherever. Also whether the parents are also happy and also
the students; the whole [education] system and the teachers; it will become clearer as we go through.
6D – I think I understand.
I - I shall start with a simple, personal question; what is your role at this school?
Emphasis on
teaching
Leadership role:
organisation and
operations of
school
6D – Well I can say my role first and foremost is to teach, to teach assigned classes, ehh, but there is
more to teaching than just to (interruption ) so besides that I am also part of the administration so I do
admin work; ahh, so I help in the running of the school.
I – Running of the school
6D – Yes
I- You mentioned you teach, which subject do you teach?
6D – I am teaching computer studies.
I – At what level
6D - Ahh we have just started. We are just starting. We started last year but one, but we are offering
appreciation [familiarisation and some experience] to ‘A’ level students. Only then we decided it should
be turned into an examinable subject. We started with Form ones, now we have Form ones and Form
twos who are part of that project.
I – What made you get into secondary school education or just education?
6D – ahh ehhh
(interruption) the-, I am sure, to go back a bit; so the time that we grew up was during
the war time and there were very few opportunities for us Africans then. I would have wanted to do
Accidental teacher something different. In fact, initially, I didn’t think I will go into teaching. I wanted to do an
apprenticeship in one of the areas, particularly something to do with electricity, but the condition was if
you were successful with your application, first you have to go under military training and then national
service for six months. So I had two options. I got an apprenticeship position
where I had go under
military training and then I also got an offer at [a named] Teachers college. If you opted for the later, for
teaching, there was no military training,that is why I took teaching.
Developed a
passion for
teaching
I – So, you were forced.
6D – In a way, yes, although maybe I did not know it was my calling. I later enjoyed teaching as I am still
doing now.
I – And since you entered the teaching profession, what would you was your most significant contribution
to teaching?
6D – Ahh, it is difficult to say the most significant contribution and cite probably a single achievement or
so, but I can say when you are a teacher you always want to measure yourself; how effective you are in
230
terms of assisting the students in passing so I will say my high point was when I recorded a 100% pass
rate at ‘O’ level. That was an achievement that was recognised by the school.
Identified the
significance of a
teacher’s
effectiveness to
teach students to
pass; recognitionpride-satisfaction
Achievement
Collaboration
Progress
Success
I – Which subject was it?
6D – That was woodwork, which I was teaching. So that was a great achievement for me.
I – Anything else, which has [nothing] to do with academics, anything else, you are in the admin now,
could there be anything else?
6D – Yes, as part of the administration I participated in the establishing of ‘A’ level, which has been on
the cards for quite a long time, but eventually we did. It was a small team of administrators [school
leadership] and the parents teachers association (PTA). Then we worked flat out as a team to make sure
that the dream was realised, and I am happy that I was part of that. Ehh, 20XX we had our first intake of
‘A’ level students. Since then we have not looked back. It has been a success story all the way.
I – What frustrates you in this job?
6D – There a number of things, ahh, on the part of our employer, it is the conditions of service, in
particular salaries. Ahhha, they have not been in keeping with, ahhh, the standard of living that’s expected
of a person in the teaching profession. Generally, the salaries have been low quite low and, ehh, I am sure
Poor teacher
welfare
Victimised
Poor resources and
funding
Considerate-on
fees
Lack of funding
you are aware of the politics of the country. People go to rallies and they castigate teachers for no other
reason so that, you know, it is; ehh, has been a frustration and also the lack of resources across the board
because of low capital or low fees are charged to parents. Ahh, the reason being that we take a realistic
position; say if you charge fees, you can charge high fees, but will the parents be able to pay? So you
have to be realistic and then charge realistic fees, but by so doing sometimes you don’t achieve your
targets and if you are an HoD [head of department] and you want things to move to a certain level, that
can be quite frustrating and yet probably one of the most frustrating things that I have experienced. You
go with some requests and they are not met. You get; say get these things here, I should be able to move
from this point here to the next high point. Often it is not that case and also in the past we didn’t have
properly streamlined account systems, such that, you will say the budget of the department [was fulfilled].
To say kids are being charged $5 per subject; I have so many in terms of my budget; is this [too] much;
you will just be told that there is no money, things are changing. So such things are frustrating.
I – You mentioned the employer, is this a faith school? Are you employed by the church?
6D – In this country, whether you are in church, council school, your employer is the same; the public
Government
employees with
low salaries
service commission, except some private schools like [a named private school] some of the teachers are
paid directly by the school, but they are very few. Most teachers are employed by the public service
commission. So all teachers are employed by the public service commission; know it is difficult, it is like
we have two employers. The responsible authority as well as the public services commission and it is true
both can fire you. And if the case is serious you can be fired from the system because of their
recommendation.
I – Thank you for the clarification
6D – ok
I - You have mentioned a bit about the school, can you comment on the current state of the school?
Sense of pride and
6D – Let me say that to begin with I am very proud to be in this school. In some instances, I have been
achievement
Attached to the
given; offered some elevated positions, but I have declined in order to remain here. You know the school
school
was started in 19XX and ever since it, ehh, it has been doing very well and I have been part of that
High pass rate
attributed to
231
discipline
Progressive school
Competitive
success and quite proud of it. So far at both ‘O’ and ‘A’ level in XPlace [name withheld] this [Y-name
withheld] distract; let me begin with ‘A’ level, ‘O’ level, first, we have been on pole position, number one
in terms of our pass rate. The reasoning being that we have very good discipline, maybe assisted by our
values as a church institution, but really that is our corner stone of our success. So everybody envies us
here at School D. I am sure you have seen around; yes, so the school is doing quite well and I am quite
happy to be here and things are, you know, brightening up because our trend is showing an upward trend
in our pass rate to the extent that the ministry has just realised how well we are doing and they have
decided to confer on us an award. That is why there is so much activity outside because of our
achievements; in recognition for this achievement. So the school is doing well; so even at ‘A’ level we
don’t compete with day schools most people in the country do not know about us. So we compete with
Rural schools
appear to have
more challenges
The peak of the
economic troubles2007/2008
No learning
Small turnover –
teachers leaving
Responded fast to
situation and
replaced teachers
Good infrastructure
compared to other
schools
Poor welfare of
rural school
teachers
Sense of a subdued
teacher and
helplessness
High pass rate
compared to the
national average
the likes of [a number of named high performing schools]. So, these are the brand names in education.
I – What about the entire system?
6D – The education system; I am not well versed to give a general comment of what is happening
because, ehh, I have not been travelling out in the rural areas there. That is where they have so many
challenges. The system had almost come to a holt in 2007, 2008, at the height of that confusion. There
was no learning taking place even here we learn for about two terms, but we were lucky as a staff, there
was no turnover; people going outside out of the country. We lost about, on the whole about four
teachers, but who were quickly replaced because being […] school, doing well the problem was on the
incentive to get teachers back into the classes. We acted quickly and so we did not have a serious problem
like other schools, but out there things are not well. Infrastructure; teachers in the rural areas do not have
much. Look, at the end of the month when you look at them, their health, the way they dress, it is pathetic
from such a scenario. Unless the welfare of the teachers changes, that situation changes, I can’t see us
making headway. Just to give you a picture, the general [average national] pass rate, I think from last
year, was it 19 % or 20 % at ‘O’ level, but here it was above 70%. I am just trying to show you the gap, to
show you the picture. What are we saying? We should be talking of 80% to say the system is working
well.
I – Because you say your school is on the upward trend, so, what strategies do you have to make sure it
keeps going and sustain that trend? Do you have strategies?
6D – I will say the first strategy is to create a family like environment for our teachers where we say we
Conducive
working
environment
Shared vision and
team effort/work
Keeping high
standards-quality
Sufficient
resources provision
are a family and we have team work. It is more than team work that is why I say a family like set-up. It
has helped us a lot. I believe we share one vision and we all work towards that. The other thing is we are
consistent in our awarding of incentives and at the appointed time and date. We have not varied. Yes, this
is a challenge in the country, so in our case we have managed to-, you know, maintain as normal as
possible, ehh, we have also tried to keep standards high and to provide as much as we can in terms of
resources for both teachers and students. One of the secrets is that in terms of textbook-student ratio for
the major subjects we have almost have a student having his or her own copy and for science and
technical subjects, one textbook being shared by two students. So we are one of the few schools with that
kind of textbook ratio. It is a great help in boosting our pass rate
and you are aware now that UNICEF
has provided textbooks and I am sure that will improve pass rate in other schools.
I - I am going to ask something simple here whether simple or hard can you please describe a successful
school? How will you describe a successful school?
Discipline and
achievements
Keen and
cooperative
students
232
6D – Obviously a successful school, is one-, we find that discipline [counts] and it is not just about good
results. In some schools that have good results are not successful, if you understand what I mean. That is
only one aspect, order and discipline; the way the teachers conduct themselves, the way the students
respond to various to the way they participate in class, the way they do their work, even in the absence of
teachers, the way they walk to and from the corners of the school; that will give you the picture of the
successful school.
I – And how will you describe successful teacher.
Clear success
criteria
6D – A successful teacher I am sure is a dedicated teacher. A teacher who has love of the kids, a teacher
who is responsive to their needs, to meet, if you meet that criteria you are a successful teacher.
I – And the same for a successful student.
6D – Ya in the same vain; one who is self-disciplined, one who does work on time and responses to
Keen and will to
achieve
authority positively that and of course one who works hard. That is a successful student.
I – And now coming into your sort of position as a leader, how will you describe successful leader?
6D – (Laughs) A successful leader, ehh, again, you need to be exemplary. There is no point in talking
Role modelexemplary leader,
sensitive
Commited to the
needs of the
teachers and
students
Respond to the
needs
Effective ness
about all these things if the leader does not do them himself or herself. You need to be responsive to the
needs of both staff and students and respond were there got to meet their needs ehhe, you also need to be
sensitive in every way to how you conduct yourself, ehh, within and outside the school because they
always look up for guidance and even the community looks up to you for guidance so I would say a
successful leader should be dedicated, must be hard working you must be effective in whatever you do
and you must lead by example.
I – So based on what you have just said where do you think School D is
6D - I think we are there without any doubt
I – You have already mentioned resources and I think the working environment besides resources,
environment and discipline what other factors could influence the way you operate in this school
6D – General welfare it has affected the way we operate we have lost some very good teachers because
Poor teacher
welfare
we do not offer accommodation and if they are not well out there where they stay so that one is a
challenging area and you find that some quite a number of teachers are lodgers and they lodge where their
students stay and the relationship between lodger and the landload there you know what it is like
in
Zimbabwe and you want to teach a kid who is master at home, transport is a challenge at times but it has
improved of late but about 2 or 3 years ago it was quite a challenge for teachers; teachers were tired and
stressed out before work begins those are some of the things that affected teachers so accommodation is a
challenge a critical issue.
I - So you the welfare of the people you work for
6D – Yes
I - You are in a position to be making decisions it might not necessary be to what extent are you involved
in decision making process
Involved in
decision making to 6D – To a large extent ahh the major issues, decisions are done at administration level meetings,
a large extent
consultative meeting, regular meetings and so I have been part of decision making machinery. I can’t say
that I have been left out in crucial decision making processes of the school, but here and there just like in
any organisation some decisions are made in your absence. You might feel injured [hurt] that is normal.
By and large the major decisions are made; we do that as a team.
233
I - Can you please comment on the process to monitor student progress
6D – In our school
I – Yes, in your school
Monitoring
Accountability
Monitoring and set
criteria in a
document
Expectations of
teachers/students
Accountability
Effectiveness
Feedback
Interventions to
improve on
progress and
performance
Commitment
6D - What we have, the subject teacher who teaches, we have a document, the minimum amounts of work
written work and the quality of the work we expect; every teacher has a copy, right. So, we expect every
teacher to abide by that so at the end of every month we have what we call a monthly test, it can be
cumulative, for example, say English can have a short test, composition, grammar
then these are added
up to give us the monthly test result are covered and then we look at these tests now to see how the
students is doing whether he or she is making progress or the other way round
we encourage the
teachers to talk not of those students who will be declining and have some talk with them but if it is
serious the school to invite parents and have done that we also have the consultation days. Parents come
in to consult with teachers and exchange notes. So, we can also have parents to coming in with issues
concerning their children’s performance say I am not happy can you tell me what is happen now then we
share so and also we teachers send students to the office either here or the headmaster’s office junior
school students they are send here and senior students are send to the headmaster for a chart were
performance if decline
I – In worst case scenario, what sort of interventions do you have in place?
Collaboration
And shared
responsibility
Sense of
commitment
accountability and
effectiveness
6D - First of all we establish why the student is declining; between the student and the subject teacher the
class teacher/home teachers and the administrators be it the ‘form councillor’ or the deputy head or the
head- then we invite the parents; from that position now we discuss with the parents and then we tell the
parent our own ehh strategies and then we ask the parents what are you going to do and the parents may
ask for our help and then. We share.
I - And how are teachers-, how do you monitor the progress of teachers?
6D – TheI - The progress of teachers
6D - We make class visits; we conduct lesson visits or observe and then usually we encourage the use of
Monitoring
Teacher
performance and
effectiveness in
teaching
Feedback
Interventions
Staff development
Collaboration
clinical supervision where we go in, we can just, before we go in tell the teacher maybe a day or two
before or we say to the teachers can you invite me or sometimes team work for what you think is your
best lesson. Go and prepare. You go and after that we share with the teacher and write reports or we go
without prior warning or we tell the teachers we are coming to your lesson tomorrow. Approaches vary,
but we have said in this school we want to use of clinical supervision, which is developmental growth
oriented on the part of the teacher. So that it is particularly diagnostic because we want to establish the
weaknesses as well as to recognise the strength and we highlight both and then the teacher we agree next
time maybe these ones should be a thing of the past so now we are working at a high level and were the
teacher now continues to perform poorly or below expectation we invite the teachers the HOD a member
of the admin to establish were the problem lies and also to advise the teacher because we also have
external supervisors from the ministry and they want to look at those reports staff development strategies
that we will have done or have used so those are the things we do.
I - So do you have external or internal development
Monitoring and
6D – It is both education officers who come and they conduct their own supervision hold seminars they
assessment from
education officers hold they can also invite the teachers for seminars where they are in-service
and church
234
authorities
In-service training
Continuous
professional
development
I – How are about the leadership, how is it monitored? The leadership
6D – Leadership like here at the school they are also supervised by inspectors from the ministry as well as
our own, ehh, responsible authority that is the church we have the secretariat that runs our schools; they
also have their own standards they come to inspect and write reports
I – Coming to the last one here it is a comment that what can you say about comments made about
secondary school education system that suggest that ‘O’ level school leavers do not meet the quality
required by industry
6D – That has been often said and I think is partly I agree with it to a large extent I think like our
education system that is my personal view not responding to the needs of industry and society at large
Changes and rate
of response Tradition and new
technologies
Little collaboration
between schools
and industry
because it has largely remained traditional if you get my meaning there we have the new subjects
new
things are coming up. Some schools are very slow to respond. You find students coming from a school
like this one without computer skills and also we don’t really know what is taking place in industry
because there is very little interaction between schools and industry. Industry is doing its own thing and
schools our own thing. In the syllabuses there is no cooperation in coming up with syllabi that recognise
and take in the needs of industry. It is like our syllabi are centred on the education and we expect our
industry to receive these graduates and accept them as they are. You find those youngster, most of them
receive a culture shock when they go there because this is what you expect to find and I think by and
large this is true. I think there is a need to overhaul our [education] system (interruption) I agree with it.
I – I have been speaking to others who teach practical subjects who have a different view on that.
6D – It is my area, even where you are offering practical subjects, the way that we teach and the syllabus
are no longer in tandem with what industry is doing. Some process and machinery there, they are ahead
A need to adapt
and move with the you see. So, it is like a student leaving with a certificate coming from a prehistoric age. I think we need to
times
bridge the gap.
I - Thank for taking part, there are so many issues and things that will be used in the study
6D – I hope so.
I- Thank you so much
6D – You are welcome
235
Appendix C.7-Interviews-Teacher 2E School E
Teacher 2E - English Head of Department (HoD) at School E
Teacher 2E –HoD (and two other HoD colleagues who made inputs towards the end)
I - (setting up recorder in preparation to start)
2E- Ho, ok matotange? [you have started or have you started?]
I - Hatisati [not yet or we have not started]
2E - The moment you start speaking mwawakuto recorda? (Does recording start the moment you start
speaking?).
I – Thank you for accepting to take part in this study. Did you understand the purpose of the interview or
study?
2E – ehe, (yes)
I – I will just start with a personal question, what is your role in this secondary school?
2E – HoD (head of department) English language.
I – Do you teach anything else apart from English?
2E – English literature.
Chosen career, (but
a bit defensive)
Wanted to be in the
teaching field
I – Ok, what made you enter or get into secondary school education?
2E – (laughs for some time) it was just the love of teaching because when I finished my academic levels,
it was that when you had choice I cannot say it was no jobs or whatever, I just like the field the teaching
field.
I – Do you still feel the same now?
2E – No.
I – What is the reason?
Teacher welfare
Reduced incentive
money
Discontentment
Frustrated
2E - One of them is what we have been discussing. We were supposed to be given $250 incentive and
then, right, the SDA is coming up with a solution. The SDA is saying they want to cut it from $250 to $
200 and not only that, that is the immediate thing, if you want to look back the economic hardships it has
made us, we are now paupers the only thing that maybe we are not happy
I – You are not happy?
2E – We are not happy, ya.
Classroom
management
issues-indiscipline
Teacher
competences on
classroom
management
Other rolesinvolvement in the
life of the schools
I – So, besides the remuneration you have mentioned, what else frustrates you in this job?
2E - The type of pupils that we have now, there is a lot of indiscipline because of technology. It is
difficult to discipline [students]. It is so difficult now to impart discipline in the classrooms.
I – And since you joined the profession, what is the most significant thing that you have done or
contribution you have made into teaching?
2E - I think counselling of students.
I – Can you please comment on the current state of your school and you can also go into the bigger
picture of the education system.
2E – The current situation.
I – Can you please comment on the current state of your school, that is, School E
2E – I can say right now in 2012 things have improved a little better compared to the 2008, 2007 years,
ya, with the introduction of the [US] dollar. Even though the money is not all that [much], but at least you
look forward and because of that we are now teaching; a bit of motivation like I said. The question was
236
‘how are you feeling’ and I said there has been a lot of frustration and I think we are trying. Things have
Motivation
Some commitment
Effort to instil
discipline, but
entirely successful
Frustrations
improved, even in terms of pupils because ahhm, ya people are now (laughs), ok, if I want to comment in
terms of pupils at least we are now able to instil discipline even though it is not all that-; we are not
really succeeding because of the technology, but we are now there for them unlike the previous time
[when it was] one man for himself because of the frustration.
I – You referred to technology, in what way is technology affecting discipline?
Frustrations
Helplessness
Discontentment
2E – Things like the facebook. It is changing [students] always on the facebook and in terms of -; since
Zimbabwe is zero tolerance to things like homosexuality, pornography, but we see that we are having
problems of pupils coming with phones. Even showing each other pornographic pictures.
I – Ok.
2E - You can tell the results of such things.
I – So, comparing your school to the bigger [picture] of the nation, what do you think is happening now
or what do you think could be done to improve the situation?
2E – So far we have said no to these mobile phones to pupils and we also tried our best to instil discipline
Dealing with some
especially to boys. I don’t know how to put it-zvematrouser zviyazviya we always make sure they wear
of the problems
Collaboration with their trouser [properly]; put their belts. [We] really asked our perfects to assist us. [zvematrouser
prefects
zviyazviya-the issue with trousers/pants pulled down very low at the back].
I – Now looking at specific schools or talking about school in general, how do you describe a successful
school?
Emphasis on
academic success 2E – A successful school, it should be one that excels academically and also in terms of discipline.
or achievement and
I – And how will you describe a successful student?
discipline
2E – A successful student, the same, a hard working student and normally we have discovered that a
All-rounder
hardworking student is an overall student [all-rounder], for an example, we have one boy, he is an athlete,
students in both
academic and non- last year [he] obtained [achieved] 8 As and he is the vice head boy and last time I saw him, he is also a
academic
footballer; we have such students.
achievements
I – Involved in the academic and extra-curricular
2E – Extra curricular
I – And how will you describe a successful teacher?
2E – In terms of what?
I – In general.
2E – Successful being a good teacher
I – A successful teacher
2E - Is that what you [asked]?
I -Could be anything whatever you call a successful teacher.
2E – it is a tricky question I thought my colleague is going to say something
Job satisfaction
A sense of
achievement
2E HoD –colleague 1- self-motivation, self [starter], initiative; somebody, when they look back at life
they end up with an ahha kind of feeling. At the end of the day they get satisfaction from what they are
involved in, what they will be doing; satisfaction in teaching. Teachers, the moment they get satisfaction
you are successful. It does not matter the [about] remuneration, but ultimately that teacher is successful.
They won’t be frustrated. They won’t have high blood pressure.
I - And how will you describe a successful school leader?
237
2E – School leader in terms of the head
I – Yes, school head, but could involve those involved in other leadership roles.
2E – Yeh, I think one who is able to be in full control in terms of both the teachers and students; you walk
Leadership styles – in where there is total silence; you can see that business is going on. Everyone is where they should be.
control of the
You can tell because the moment you walk in to school you can tell that the teachers are doing what they
situation-discipline
should be doing; walk up to the grounds or classroom you can tell that nothing is going on and if nothing
is going on it is means there is no control, leadership is poor because people cannot have the laissez-faire
where there is good leadership.
I - Looking at your benchmark of success in terms of a successful school, students teachers and leaders,
where do you think your school is?
2E - Uhhm, right now I think we are almost there. I cannot really say that yes we have reached a point
Progress and effort
Happy with school
leader
Effective
leadership
Effective learning
Monitoring
Accountability
that we have succeeded, but we are trying our level best and we are really proud of our leader, especially
the head. People cannot just walk in and do whatever they want to do. Effective learning is taking place.
So I think we are trying.
I – Ok and how does he make sure to ensure teachers are doing their job
how does he go about it
2E – Sometimes he takes his time out of his office and he will be moving around getting into the classes
asking the pupils: whose subject, which class, which subject, teacher and then from there summon the
teacher [ask them] where have you been; what have been doing, what role?
I – You were saying you are almost there, what do you think should be done to maintain or sustain that
going until you reach the benchmark.
2E – The most important thing is the remuneration. I don’t want to lie to you because no matter how hard
Teacher welfareremuneration
Lack of motivation
Frustrations
Discontentment
Require an
incentive to do
their best
leaders can try, the reason is always that we are not motivated and then when someone is not motivated
you cannot speak of success, ya, that is like right now, like, we are saying people are already grumbling
from $250, to $200 you can see that it means whatever is going to happen maybe next term is something
but of course if you are hearing promises teachers will be better in terms of remuneration; everything
people will always do their best.
I – Besides remuneration, discipline, what other factors influence the way you operate in school?
2E - Aahhh you are saying the way we operate?
I – The way you perform your duties, besides the remuneration and discipline.
2E – I think what my colleague said- motivation.
Lack of motivation
Inadequate
resources and
facilities
Infrastructure-hot
sitting or double
sessions
I - Motivation is [could be] linked to remuneration-what [affects the way you] perform your duties?
2E – Hot sitting situation
I – So you brought in the issue of resources and working environment so what thing do you want then and
specific things you need?
2E - HoD colleague 2- Not audible…lab, textbooks, transport
I – To what extent are you involved on decision making?
2E – Before I answer or you move on to that, you see this is an office [referring to their small office], we
also need computers.
I – To what extent are you involved in decision making?
Involved in
decision making
2E – To a greater extent; the three of us [referring to themselves as HoDs]
I - What are your contributions in that process?
238
2E – Usually passing decisions, to see how best to be utilised and that is what we are involved in. It is
very little.
I - Can you please comment on the system to monitor student progress in school.
Monitoring and
feedback to
students
Assessment (for
learning)
2E – Ok, by recording of marks after each [piece of] work, we record and then if you realise that this one
maybe sometimes maybe on a weekly basis the pupil and discuss. We check and look at the marks [if]
someone is getting say maybe 20% and then the average of the class is 60% or so we can call the person
and discuss the way forward.
I – What forms of interventions do you follow after that discussion? How do you normally intervene?
2E – HoD colleague 1 – We give the children extra work, but again to do that, then it will be difficult;
Interventions
Demotivated
students
because of issues of motivation- but sometimes if the child is willing we can give the child extra working
in the form of remedial!
2E – And then right now there is this thing called PLAP that has been introduced, but of course it is not
A sense of
resistance to PLAP
Improvement of
teaching and
learning
Negative and
defeatist attitude
Work overload
Incentive or
payment
really getting-, gathering momentum because of the nature of our school. It was to introduce mainly in
English and maths were they are saying you are supposed to group those-, the slow ones then you can
always have time for remedial work, but because of that some are saying we are not succeeding because it
is extra work, say for example, if you are taking a form one class and then when you PLAP them like you
say, you find there is one grade 3, two grade 5, 4 grade 6s and 7 grade 7s [pupils] and then the rest are
grade 7 [in] third term and maybe one Form one first term and one is lower sixth because we got one who
was lower sixth, so you know that is extra work; it means you have to have seven students and seven
schemes of work, you know it is not possible, it is just not possible that where you have to plan for all
Unprofessional,
incompetence and
failure to recognise
the teacher’s
responsibility to
inclusively teach
for learning at
every level
Lack of
commitment
Compromised
education system
those children. That is why we end up saying the moment you have something like that; you need a bit of
motivation especially monetary motivation. Because you are going out of your way to make this child
come up to the same level that you are teaching, so we really feel that; it is different from the remedial
that we used to, because remedial that we used to do long back we did it with children at the same like,
academic level, but now these ones it cannot be remedial because they are really down because of the
differences in education that took place because of the issues of the years that the children were not
learning because of the devaluation of the dollar and the school system was almost closed for two years
so this is the problem that has been brought up. So this is no longer remediation it [is] PLAP, we PLAP
them.
I – Can somebody explain to me what PLAP stands for? What does PLAP stand for?
An awareness of
the importance of
PLAP
Demotivated
students-no effort
to engage in
independent
learning
Time constraint
2E – Explain, you are the PLAP teacher [referring to HoD colleague 2]
2E - HoD colleague 2 – Why are we PLAPing; One more factor could be that whilst teachers are trying to
help pupils to get better; you motivate them, but when they get home they don’t want that, they don’t also
compliment efforts by the teacher [inaudible]
I – So you are in science; so what levels do you normally come across in science
2E - HoD colleague 2 – not PLAPing (noise someone looking for information in books in a desk) so you
find that time factor-, and due to the hot sitting you run out of time, the time factor [and] the
environment.
Assessment for
learning and
monitoring of
students’
performance
Ideal situation
reflecting
competence and
professionalism
I – Earlier you mention [interruption] you got it now
2E – Performance Lag Address Programme (PLAP)
I - Performance Lag Address Programme; So you are looking at the lag?
239
2E – Lag. The programme requires that the teacher establishes the level of performance of each child. The
teacher then proceeds with an individualised learning programme going back to the last point of success
of each child and systematically closing the achievement gap.
I – So how; I am thinking now how do you establish? How do you establish when they were last
successful?
2E – It is a test that they are given and when it’s marked and that is when they are graded; to say these are
Grade 3, these are Form one, these are Form three
I – so it’s a standard test?
2E – Yes it is a standard test.
I – One for all
2E – That standard test is normally used by the school’s psychological services to establish the
psychological grading of the children in terms of performance
I – Is it like a psychometric test?
2E – Sort of.
I – Ok, I think you have mentioned already about teachers’ progress when you mentioned…, maybe I
might be wrong.
2E – Yes we did
I - You mentioned something to do with being monitored and the headteacher moving around?
Monitoring
Accountability
Feedback
2E – Then there are also HoDs who move around to check [the] teaching process for teachers and things
like where the teacher submit both their exercise books and notebooks to the HoD and then the HoD
write a critique and comments.
I – So if both of you are all demotivated how does it work? How effective is it?
2E – It works because HoDs are given a small incentive, so it works. They do their work. It’s only the
Motivation
Commitment and
accountability
Opportunities
teacher that do it, but grudgingly. Because after all they are employed to work so they have to. By the end
of the day you still have to do your duty whether motivated or if you don’t want then leave the post and
give it to others who are willing to take up the post and prepared to work because they are many…at the
end of the day it does not matter whether we are motivated or incentivised; we just work because we are
employed to work. If you don’t want it stay at home.
I – And what about the school leaders themselves, how are they monitored?
Accountability
2E – HoD colleague 1- They are given a small incentive to help them make sure we do our work on the
ground, so the hierarch just goes like that. We are able to do our work.
I – Is there any other form of supervision?
2E – Yes, education officers, they are now called school inspectors; sometimes they come once or twice
Monitoring
Ineffectiveness
and if there is a problem, maybe three times.
2E - HoD colleague 1- [If] they hear rumours of war in quotes, they come more than twice at the station
[school].
I – Is it an announced visit?
2E – HoD colleague 1- No, no they just come. they never announce.
2E - HoD colleague 2 – It’s an ambush, actually.
I – Oh, they just come?
Monitoring and
assessment
Effectiveness
Competence
2E - HoD colleague 1 – To catch people out of action.
240
2E - To see the actual thing on the ground; reality.
I – Looking at [the last question]; this is a statement, what can you say about comments made about the
school education system that suggest that ‘O’ level school leavers do not meet the quality required by the
industry?
2E - HoD colleague 1 - It is clear; that one we agree because our children do not have a hands on
Monitoring and
assessment
Effectiveness
Competence
Work attachment
and experience
[experience] of the academic [subjects] that they are learning-on experience of the [subjects] that they are
learning. We used to have the rpogrammes in Zimbabwe like the school on the workshop programme
[where students were] attached at the industry of their interest and choice and they go and do some labour
[work experience on attachment/placement] for a week or so and they go through the process, you know,
as part of the learning system. At the end of the day; those children, if they apply to the that company or
some related company they will be taken in, but unlike the layman
currently were some of the industry
industries are closed down and there is no longer the school on the workshop I know for example I have a
sister who works for X [named industry] she is there because she was on the school workshop
programmes when she was in school, years back, donkey years back and you know it helped because they
did not have to go through the rigorous questioning and answering sessions, which the others got into
Significance of
industrial
attachment and
exposure
Need for nonacademic curriculahands on or
vocational type
curricula
Collaboration
between schools
and industry
required
because she was part of industry already. It was easy because they simply say this one we know and they
picked her up when she went for interviews. So, I think it is true, that statement is true. The school system
is not preparing our children for the industry that they are to meet [be] in-, when they leave school
because we are doing more of academics; the few practical subjects that they do, do not quite even
prepare them for the industry. So, there is that gap which needs to be bridged, and closed.
2E - HoD colleague 2 – Industry is idle; the government can actually chip in and help the industry so that
it remains viable
2E - HoD colleague 1 - Like the industry can actually come in and say to the school; we invite you and
say send so many of your students; to come and see how we operate here and then our students will go at
the benefit of that industry, like the invitation that came from the airport, that one; it was the airport, I
The benefits of
exposure
don’t know, they invited schools; come and see what we do here and already our children did not know
Motivation and
focus
that because they are focusing to careers like teaching, nursing, you know, those monotonous boring
about that and their minds are now wide open saying they did not know that there was something like
monotonous jobs, but the moment they went there their minds were now wide open and they now know
they can do this, do these options; so if industry is well equipped, it is the one that can actually come and
meet the school halfway and the school’s job is to only send those children there and it will be good.
I – In terms of exposure, they need more exposure.
Motivation and
focus to achieve
2E – HoD colleague 1 - And that way when the child is at school they actually know this is the line that I
want to take and they want to take and make sure they excel in those subjects; they put more effort in
those subjects, so that they ultimately reach the industry of their choice.
I – So that is beneficial to the students and the school.
2E – HoD colleague 1- Exactly
I - I should say now thank you very much for taking part and I should have invited you all at the same
time.
2E – and HoD colleagues 1 and 2 - You are welcome [at the same time]
I – Thank you so much, I will stop [the recording].
241
Appendix C.8-Interviews-Teacher 2F School F
Teacher 2F –senior teacher and mathematics teacher at School F
I – Ok, thank you for accepting to take part in this study. I will just start with a personal question, what is
your role at this secondary school?
2F – Ok, ehh I am a mathematics teacher (too much wind muffles the last responses).
I – Now looking at teachers’ attitudes or views on their job, what made you get into education?
2F – Ahh, firstly, it was out of my choice. Ehh, I had that passion to teach, to help youngsters to grow
Passion to educate wari muflavour yechikoro, mwaona […youngsters to grow in the spirit of schooling/education, you see] it
Inspired teacher
was that my parents, both my parents had been teachers. I decided to…(too windy not audible at this
stage).
I – So do you still feel the same?
Unhappy with
education system
Ineffective
provision of
educationresources
Welfare of teachers
Demotivated and
dejected with
intention to leave
2F – Ehhh, the system…(inaudible because of too much wind blowing) all I am going to say is it has been
deteriorating in terms of everything: remuneration, resources, and
the whole system is quite
demoralising. I am so demoralised, mwaona [you see/as it is]. I am anticipating quitting (wind again can’t hear the rest of the response).
I – So it’s-; you have mentioned what frustrates you, what frustrates you besides remuneration? Is there
anything else?
2F – Ahh, apart from the remuneration, ehh, the system itself, our education system, normally we are
given, ehh, there are those who claim to be authorities who don’t come to the real ground and ask us
Concerns:
Imposition of ideas [about] our concerns and they simply bring down their ideas, their theories and ask us to implement them
Not consulted, e.g. when us on the ground, we find that most of them are impracticable, mwaona [you see]. All I am [saying
on the PLAP
is] like iye zvineizvi [at this moment/now] we have something that is called PLAP; have you ever had
programme
about PLAP?
I – No, can you please clarify?
2F - Were they are saying we want to uplift those who have been left behind in the secondary education.
Acknowledgement
of a troubled
education systemstudents need help
to catch up on their
learning
Prefer
collaboration
We had some problems since 2008, 2007. So someone in form 1 (one); we are meant to teach that
Work overloadPLAP
quite a number a students who are well behind. And now they are giving a time frame; in two months’
Sceptic about
ideas- viewed as
impractical
/theoretical
No consultationimposition of ideas
Advocates for
collaboration
being made to teach these form 1s, form 2s, form 3s and form 4 to take extra lessons during the same
Prefers evidence
based ideas
they are actually confusing us, mwaona [you see]. They are really confusing us this is what we are
someone stuff yeGrade 5 [grade 5 materials] to establish were that person has been left out, but what we
are looking at, had they come to the ground, we could have helped each other on the real time were we
did start witnessing, ehh, the going down of the education system. Iwo [they], they are saying it is 2008
and us on the ground, we know it is well way before 2008 and now to talk of 2008 where there are
saying there was a slump of the education system, whereas we know it was way before that and there are
time everyone should have gone through that exercise, right. Like iye zvinoizvi [now] right here we are
period that we will be teaching them the syllabus. Some in form 4 is about to write their test [exam] you
are supposed to teach them grade 4. Someone is in grade 5 teaching grade four staff, then you go in class,
you teach ‘O’ level staff. You see what I am looking at. You see there are those who are coming up with
their theories. Someone who is doing his thesis, he comes up with a theory and he wants that to be
implemented in schools now because he is a guru in the education system and gets a promotion, whereas
looking at. They don’t come to the ground even the CDU, when they develop the curriculum. It is best
242
they move around and ask us our concerns-us as teachers on the ground, but they don’t do that. I don’t
Consultation
Evidence-based
ideas
Advocate for
change
know where they get their information. All I am saying is that we need an overhaul of the education
system, a complete overhaul of system.
I – So you are saying bottom-up rather than the top-down?
2F -- Down to top, it is killing us. It is killing the education system.
I – So looking at-, I think you have said a lot about the state of the schools; can I just add a few things
here, can you please comment on the current state of your school or that of the secondary education
system in summary, you have said a number of about the state of the school.
Positive feeling
about book
donation
2F – What I am just happy about is the recent move by the United Nations, that is, UNICEF donated
textbooks for our students. The basic five textbooks; although that is not enough, but we have at least
every student has a textbook in these subjects.
I – Which five?
2F - That is maths, english, science, geography and history. So that was a positive
Bad experience of
shortage of
resourcestextbooks
move that I have
witnessed over the years. That is one positive move we have had that has actually boosted our education
system. The availability of textbooks; we did not have textbooks. It was one textbook between 10 pupils.
The situation was really out of hand. Then we are happy about, but we still have those other subjects like
accounts, commerce [which] they were not taken care of, you see. But we cannot always rely on
Advocate for selfdonations. We cannot continue to say no lets have donations to move another step further; what are we
reliance in
resources provision doing as Zimbabweans about our system [windy] as a nation. So they are saying, ourselves as a nation we
Wants change and
need to do more than what they are doing, mwaona [you see]. We need to look at all areas [so] that will
improvements
revamp our system, mwaona [you see].
I – So when did the UNICEF chip in with the textbooks?
2F – That was last term (referring to first term in Zimbabwe in 2012)
I – Only last term
2F – Only last term
I - So what strategies then do you think should be used to continuously improve this school or the system
Collaboration
Consultations to
find out about
concerns
Inadequate
attention to
problems
-a sense of a
compromised
education system
emerges
Wants a practical
solution to the
problems
Indiscipline –
economic and
social issues
itself?
2F – Ehh, as I was saying, it is best we put our heads together. I thought maybe we have a team moving
around schools and taking a sample of schools and ask what our concerns are and really addressing those
concerns. As it is now, people are paying leap service, no one is really prepared to, uhh, getting into the
system and see to its being revamping. What we are seeing-, just witnessing are people, as I said, coming
up with theories. Theories which are not practical and we are saying lets come up with theories which are
practical. Theories, which are practical, go to the ground and see where our problems are, mwaona [you
see]. Like what we are witnessing right now, we are having quite a number of child headed families,
mwaona [you see]. Child headed families, eehh, in the event of having a single parent, mother or father or
a single parent in order to survive have to go to South Africa, go to Tanzania, order some products and
come a sell them here; leave the children alone. At this school what we are witnessing here is that
children are being left alone and that is causing a number of behavioural problems, mwaona, zvekuti [you
see, such that] as long as our industry is not addressed then that will affect the education system very
Compromised
education-‘failure to much, mwaona [you see]. So we need to have decent employment for our parents, mwaona [you see]. If
produce a whole
they get decent employment that will mean decent living for our children as well. If there is no decent
student’
243
Students lacking
industrial exposure
employment for our parents then our children will remain suffering. If you take a survey of our kids here
you find out that almost half of our school here they are orphans or that sort of thing. Staying on his own,
Welfare of
students/parents
Effects of prevailing
situation on
students-reduced
concentration
A sense of
frustrations and
helplessness or
subdued population
A sense of underachievement by
students
the parent is in South Africa. This sort of thing; concentration becomes minimum. He has more problems,
he has become a parent. He is the one who is looking after him or himself, looking after his books and the
burden is just too much for the child. Those were areas of concern ekuti vana vedu [so that our children]
they are failing to deliver not because of their own making, but because of the situation we are living or
having in Zimbabwe.
I –So to sum up, here you are saying the economy is the key?
2F - Yes
I - Now on the standards and quality of education, how do you describe a successful school?
2F – A successful school, firstly, it’s the one that has got highly motivated teachers, self-driven and that
for them to be self-driven is only when they are being given adequate resources. That will make them
teach their kids, mwaona [you see]. So and where you have leadership that is, ehh, motivating as well,
mwaona [you see], so much so that everyone, the teacher, the student are in a happy mood, mwaona. That
Motivational issues
A need for adequate
resources
Demotivated
teachers because of
poor teacher welfare
one, I think that situation creates a conducive learning atmosphere, mwaona. Where resources are
available in terms of textbooks, exercise books, ehh, teachers have adequate social resources; a car to run
to town in times of need. Now, what we are witnessing right now is you are here at school, but you have
got quite a lot of problems that you have at home, that way now you cannot talk of a successful school
because the teacher is at school, but his mind is at home. So we have a situation where we have to strike a
balance that the teacher has adequate resources to fulfil his commitments in the idea that he can easily-,
where I am trying to come to is that if only teachers will be-, dai paine kafacility [if there was a facility]
even to get the simplest vehicle, you find that even those Unos [referring to a FIAT Uno car], that basic
car, something like that, zvaibastira to motivate mateachers [would help to motivate teachers] so as it is
right now, you find kuti [that] the schools that we are taking as a successful school are those where they
are making such resources available to the teachers; so I am looking at much on making resources
available, social and economic resources.
I – What would a successful student?
2F - A successful student, ehh, someone-; are you saying a successful student?
I – Yes, how do you describe a successful student?
2F – A successful student, someone who will achieve the basic goal of attaining his ‘O’ level or ‘A’ level
Achievements
(academic and nonacademic) and
employable
Half-baked
students—
compromised
education
Lacking resources
or facilities
passes and someone who will be able to fit in society. Let’s say who have the product that is able to be
absorbed by the job market where he can easily be absorbed by the job market and now I will consider
that to be a successful student, mwaona. Just to add on to that, what I am looking at is we are producing
half-baked students. As it is now they may have had a fair share of the academic part, but they would
have lacked the social aspect, mwaona [you see] or the sporting aspect, the schools are not well balanced
in all the resources, mwaona. You find that, ehh, we don’t have even adequate sporting facilities,
mwaona, to the extent that vana vedu [our children/students] they are not fully exposed to all the facets of
life, mwaona. They may be subjected to intensive teaching of geography, history, maths, but some other
social areas, well, you see, we used to visit [named] X industry, we used to visit [named] Y industry when
we were at school. Right now the companies are closed. Vana havana [students/children have no]
exposure. They lack that exposure. So what I am saying here we need to-, again I would say our economy
244
is again playing a big role in not producing a successful student because we are failing to produce a whole
student, a whole individual. If these areas will be addressed then maybe we would manage to come up
with a complete individual, but we are not producing a complete individual as it is.
I – I think also based on the comments you made earlier about children being left
behind at home and
also becoming adults before- (2F – interjects)
2F – Before leaving school.
I- What about school leaders you mentioned something about someone who motivates
what else could
you add?
Leadership styles –
authoritarian
Imposition of
decisions-not
involved in decision
–making
2F – Yah, you see, what we are having in Zimbabwe, I didn’t know where this really- who started this
problem; where headmasters, there is this concept that to be a headmaster you need to be a very strict
person, ehh, where you are supposed to be feared. Where teachers, you tell them to jump they ask how
high, they don’t ask why. And I think this is a common problem in our schools where we are having
leadership that is authoritarian, does not give room for discussions to open views (windy)
mwaona,
rubber stamp, this is what is supposed to be done. I think it is affecting the education because you find
most of our schools (windy)…other than (windy)…being very authoritarian; pakangozvarwa kaidea
kekuti being a leader unofanirwa kutyiwa [there is this notion that a leader should be feared], which
should be outdated, mwaona [you see]. You should lead people, when you lead people they should be
your friends, they should like you. But if people now shiver when they see you, instead of delivering-, as
Likeable leader or
respected leader
Concerned with
documentation
Considered this a
waste of time-takes
away teaching time
academics, people, they discovered other means when they discover that this type of leadership is too
authoritarian; what I am trying to come to again, inyaya yekuti [this is because], emphasis in our schools
is much on documentation. We have too much emphasis on documentation, where they emphasise much
on schemes, record books, yes that is so, but I think the emphasis manji [now] should be much on lesson
delivery. So what would happen is if you visit the schools teachers have the tendency yekuti when
education inspectors visit they find books well covered flowery covers, mwaona, [So what would happen
Misrepresentation of
things on the groundpretence
Inspectors buy into it
and praise such
teachers
Compromised
education
is if you visit the schools teachers have the tendency to spruce things up and when education officers
Emphasis on
achievements instead
of presentation of
documentation or
books
Despise performance
appraisal system
Contextual response
from teachers
students are going to pass. The teacher was rated by the by the number of passes they would produce.
(visit they) find books well covered; flowery covers; you see]; the moment the inspector comes in; these
are my books sir; you are a good teacher. So I think we are losing the focus on what teaching really
should be because I even remember sometime back where those good teachers, the so called good
teachers, the old time…(windy)…period I have remembered the emphasis
was not much on
documentation. The emphasis was: what are you going to produce at the end of the year; how many
Right now they are rating, I don’t know like I have said we have this monster, performance appraisal
system iye zvinoizvi [right now] performance appraisal pane yavekunzi [there is what is known as] RBM,
result based management. It’s a lot of theory is coming which is emphasising more on documentation.
And now teachers are saying okay these people want to see documents, we will give them documents, but
then address the real issues, and someone comes there is real problems in schools because the teachers are
relaxed; they are sitting back, mwaona, because you are not emphasising on the really point. So ndiri kuti
leadership yedu iri kuita problem yeku [So I am saying our leadership is faced with problems as they]
emphasise much on documentation than real teaching and being authoritarian and as teachers now shiver
when they see them and not taking them as people who are there to guide them.
245
Compromised
education
Ineffective teaching
for learning
Ineffective leadership
styles
I - I think you have mentioned resources; bedsides resources what factors also influence the way you
School leaders failing
operate? Besides resources and you also talked about the economy, the social life what else in school
to guide teachers
affect the way you operate?
2F – I will bring in the parents, especially in my subject area mathematics. The parents’ attitude towards
the subject that will affects performance; parents’ attitudes affect students’ performance. Like you find a
number of parents have got a disliking for maths and more so our system at one point was no longer
emphasising about the need of maths at ‘O’ level. They had given in and a number of colleges; people
were getting enrolled at colleges without maths, even teachers’ colleges. There are a number of teachers
without maths even teaching here, ya. A number of teachers don’t have ‘O’ level maths. So you find now
the teacher himself who is teaching saying to the students imi, hapana chinombonyanya kushamisira
nemaths unondo rarama wani some of us tiripo wani. [So you find now the teacher himself who is
teaching to the students saying there is nothing special about mathematics, you can do without it and
some of us are in gainful employment here]. This is even what is happening with parents. They say ahh
iwe imimi hamusi kudya here panoapa. [They say are you not being looked after or being fed here?].
Education losing
credibility
Sometimes societal attitudes are also affected. If the society is positive about education
ndokuti
importane of education inokudzwa a lot. [If the society is positive about education then the importance of
education would be respected a lot]. Iyezvino izvi you find that vana vedu have lost-, education is no
Impact of getting rich
longer very much incredible. [Right now, you find that our students do not find the importance or
quick-diamonds at
Chiadzwa
credibility of education]. It is not given its status that it deserves, mwaona [you see]. Warimo awa, ehh,
[The students present here] I think this was affecting-, at one point there was much confidence about
Chiadzwa; the finding of diamonds in Chiadzwa there; there was that rush for diamonds, when people
discovered that they could manage to have riches without having gone through the education system,
mwaona [you see] and that has really affected our students; their attitude towards education… (windy).
I – To what extent are you involved in the decision making process at this school? (windy)
2F – Like I am saying I am a senior teacher. Ehh, I get involved in SDC meetings. So I am saying I also
Decision-making:
some involvement
Authoritarian
leadership style –
rubber stamping
decisions-not
involving other
teachers
help out in mapping out decisions for the school, although the headmaster normally rubber stamps his
decisions. Like right now as I am talking to you I was actually saying to him if you don’t, if you are not
open enough to accept our own contributions I might as well quit the office of being the senior master we
fail to teach as a result being so authoritarian does not, is not very open in accepting other people’s views,
mwaona[you see] it easily affects the running of the school and implementation of decisions mwaona
[you see] prioritising what is supposed to be done first what to be done later for instance about ‘A’ level
The need for
appropriate resources when we got the ‘A’ level intending to start ‘A’ level school here, lower sixth and upper sixth; I was
saying let’s not gamble first and foremost lets have a library; let’s not cheat people, ‘A’ level needs a lot
Independent learning
of research. Now if we are to say we have ‘A’ level tisina library and vana woita dependent upon teachers
Teaching methods or for ‘A’ level, I don’t’ think tinenge tiri kuraramisa vana without a library and as it is we are having ‘A’
styles
levels here, mwaona and haa to me it’s on paper it’s not a real thing that is happening tiri kutamba
Monitoring of
nevana with a resource; [Now if we are to say we have ‘A’ level without a library, students depend on
schools-quality of
education
teachers, I don’t think it’s is ideal and we are not doing justice to the students]; we are really cheating
Compromised
education system-no students because after teaching they should go into the library and research on their own. We don’t have
education inspectors that library and if someone is doing maths, someone is doing accounts, she needs more literature,
Seems to appreciates
information that is the sort of thing I am talking about.
re-introduction of
education inspectors
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Accountabilityteachers monitored
and held to account
Diminished value of
education
I – So it goes back to resources again
2F - Resources
I- Now, level of commitment and accountability here; can you please comment on the system within your
school to monitor students’ progress, teachers’ or the leadership’s progress.
2F – Probably I start maybe with the education system at the top here; yes, they have reintroduced
inspectors who are moving in the schools at one point there was no movement no inspectors now they are
Negative attitude of
parents and some
teachers towards
mathematics
Negative impact on
students’
performance
Maths lost its
relevance in the
system
on it again it was a positive step yes at this school the headmaster yes monitors his teachers very much
sometimes very strict coming to when he comes to his documents he likes them very much
ehh yes,
again for the part of us teachers progress of the children like I was saying the teachers at this school they
are really trying their level best as I see these teachers here, most of these teachers here are self-driven,
mwaona [you see]; ehh they like their work ehh they try as much as possible to monitor the progress of
our children keeping up with recorded adequate test all that, but now the children themselves are
demotivated as I was saying the value of education ehh I don’t know how we can really do it, but I think
we really start with the education of the community about the importance of school, mwaona, ngekuti
[you see, because] it had lost value; it had really lost value; it’s because it had started with cross-border
trading now you know at one point ehh, cross-border traders will refer to a seat, someone, a person would
ask where are you seated; the answer will be, go and check where there two teachers; ehh, if you find a
Labelling of teachers
Poor welfare of
teachers
Attitudes of society
to teachers
Poor status of
teachers
seat where there are two teachers, then, that is where I am sitting; the ‘two teachers’ were refereeing to
two bottles of cooking oil, two litre bottles of cooking oil. A bottle, a two litre bottle [of cooking oil] was
the amount that the teacher was getting. So, with reference; it was common now, children will here that;
the mother saying, no, go and check in Masmerry [- named bus], that bus that goes to South Africa, check
where there are two, two litre bottles, there were two teachers there; two teachers were two litre bottles;
those where two teachers
I – Labelling
Students’ attitudes
towards teachers
Low status and its
negative impact on
students’ perceptions
of teachers and to
education
2F – it is labelling, mwaona [you see]. Saka wotoona manji kuti iwo [Now you see that] they were now
likening teachers to two litre bottles of cooking oil, mwaona [you see], so the child is now listening to that
and you now move in school and say I have come to deliver the best of stuff that will make you
successful. The question is, are you successful yourself. Tavekutonga n’anga dzinoda kuti uite mari [We
are now being likened to witch doctors that suggest how you can make money]. Iwewe unayo here [do
you have the money yourself]. It has to start with you. That was affecting us very much.
I – The last one is statement; what can you say about the comment, what can you say about the
comments made about the secondary school education system that suggest that ‘O’ level school leavers
do not meet the quality required by the education system?
Appeared to
acknowledge
communication
breakdown or nonexistence of
communication
between schools and
industry
Make education or
curricula relevant for
job market-e.g.
industry
Need for
collaboration
2F – What is that about?
I - What can you say about the comment made about the secondary education system that suggest that
‘O’ level school leavers do not meet the quality required by industry?
2F - Ya, what I was saying is honestly speaking that has been an area that was lagging behind (windyinaudible) there is no good communication with the industry that (windy)…were the industry should be
talking of the requirements that they need, mwaona [you see]; their need, what is it that they need; to see
what is being taught in schools. That will now feed our students into the job industry, job market, what
we are looking at-, I will agree to some extent. To say we are not fully meeting standards because pane-,
247
hapana marrying iripo between industry and schools [there are no links between industry and schools].
That needs improvement, a very marked improvement so that we really know the requirements that are
being needed in industry so that we can even tailor make our syllabus in such way that that it suits our
industry. That is the area that is lagging behind. Like I was saying, people are staying in Harare without
going back to the drawing table to check how our industries-, what is needed now because in our syllabus,
‘O’ level syllabus maths, syllabus D; you can even help me here, syllabus D takatanga riini zviya? [when
did we start]
I – kudhara [ages ago or some time ago]
2F - that is what we did handiti [of course or is that so]
I- Ehe kudhara [in agreement-yes, sometime back]
Appropriate
2F - So if you check now [has] the industry remained stagnant to the extent that we are still using the
curricula-to meet the
mathematics that is in syllabus still meets the needs now it is because being-, to address that, if we want
needs of industry
to see an improvement of the product that we are producing in schools and what we are going to give to
Not involving
the industry.
teachers
I – You also mentioned the CDU earlier…what role do they play?
Collaboration
2F – This is what I am saying they are not coming to the ground, mwaona [you see]. they are not moving
between CDU and
schools
around; coming, moving into the industry we should see them and we feel we should be part and parcel of
Require practical
solutions
them and if they divorce themselves and talk from there and the one who comes as a minister and trying
to come up with another theory and that minister is removed and another come up with another theory.
I – Thank you so much for taking part
2F – Handiti [of course] you are welcome
248
Appendix C.9-Interviews-Stakeholder S3 - An Economic Development
Practitioner
I – Ok. Thank you for accepting or taking part in the study. I think you are familiar with the purpose of
the whole purpose of the study.
S3 – Yes, I have read through the-your papers and I am quite familiar with the purpose of the study.
I – I am going to start with a personal question; what is your profession and any have you had any
involvement with secondary schools?
Experience of
working with
S3 – I am an economic development practitioner; that is my profession, but where I work or where I
stakeholders in
worked before I had the opportunity to work with some stakeholders in the secondary education sector
secondary schools
education sector
I – In what way?
S3 - We worked with those stakeholders on a two pronged approach; the first objective that we wanted
to achieve when we worked with those schools was to improve the quality of the education in the country
Concerns with
improvement
quality of
education,
collaboration in
partnerships and
support of the
education sector
and whilst doing so by actually creating partnerships between the local school and would be financiers; be
they, civic bodies or NGOs that will assist those schools materially and then secondly, we were also
looking at improving the education sector ehh by way of creating dialogues or platforms whereby you
know different key stakeholders in the education sector would actually convene and meet and discuss
pertinent issues affecting the sector as well trying to you know come up with solutions of those problems.
I – Looking at the attitudes of teachers here; what would you consider to be the most significant or
important contribution of teachers in schools?
S3 – Looking at attitudes, I think, ahh, teachers in Zimbabwe just like any other worker in the country,
Economic
hardships to the
whole populationPositive attitudes
and praise for
teachers’
commitment
they are also experiencing economic hardships, but for one thing that I actually respect them for is their
diligence, they are committed in spite of the economic hardships they are experiencing. And that is one
attribute-, that’s one attitude I like about teachers in the country, yah. They are giving their utmost best
under very extreme difficult, you know, circumstances.
I – And what would say would be their most significant contribution? What do you think teachers
contribute in education or teaching?
Caring role
S3 – Right, a teacher is just as good as the parents of the child, because the role of the teacher starts at a
very basic level at kindergarten level up to the highest level of education and I think the teacher plays a
very [or] bigger role in actually nurturing, you know, and even upbringing a student right from the early
formative years up to the years when an adult acquires knowledge, skills and stable to stand on his own
feet. I think in terms of [or] on imparting knowledge, skills with a bit of expertise; I think that is the
critical contribution, which a teacher brings into an individual.
I – Can you please comment on the current state of secondary schools in Zimbabwe or also the education
system as whole?
Organisational
challenges between
private and
government schools,
imbalance in
resource provision
and operational
strategies
S3 – Eehh, well, the current system; the current secondary education system in the country, I think when I
look at it we have what we call government owned secondary schools and we have what we call private
owned schools. The situation with regards to the government schools is that of struggle. When you we
look at those schools they are resource constrained. They are poorly resourced and in terms of the
operations, yaa, they kind of operate in a haphazard manner in terms of administration policy planning
and even the implementation of policy. I think for the government owned schools, they are experiencing
very big challenges, which I cannot say about private owned schools. They seem to run better
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administratively and when you look at their resources, they seem to have quite a lot of resources at their
disposal and they are actually able to motivate and incentivise their teaching staff, which the government
owned schools are failing to do. For me it is actually a mixed state.
I - What frustrates you about our secondary schools or the education system?
S3 – The education system in the country; when I look at it, it is largely skewed towards the academic
side where focus and attention is to meant to impart academic knowledge into an individual, but we also
Concerns with the
curricula –not
inclusive
Predominantly
academic curricula
forget that people are gifted differently. Not all pupils; not all students are gifted academically. Others are
gifted, you know, maybe you know they are gifted in non-academic forms. Some are gifted in sport, some
are gifted in arts, crafts and so forth. So when I look at it, the focus and attention is mainly on or building
on or developing or rather imparting academic knowledge and skills to pupils while forgetting, you
know, other areas like vocational whereby we say some, they are very good at using their feet, some are
very good at using their hands, but that tends to be ignored because attention and interest is
predominantly academic oriented, yah, ( I –tried to interject, but S3 continued to speak) so it actually
disadvantages those students that are gifted non academically.
I – So what strategy do you think should be used to improve the situation?
S3 – I think it starts at the highest level the government the ministry itself if they could actually maybe
Change of policy
and strategies on
curricula.
Push for vocational
type curricula
enact probably some kind of policy to say that let it become mandatory for each and every school to
actually introduce into their curriculum academic and non-academic subjects so that it also gives
opportunities to those who may not be gifted academically to focus on other areas like building, carpentry
or sport, if possible arts and crafts. I think those particular areas they need to be enforced in schools. So
it starts at a policy level by the ministry and then it filters down by way of implementation to the schools.
I – How would you describe a successful school?
S3 - For me a successful school, one, well, it starts maybe with tradition. It has to be a school that has
Established and
reputable school
Achievements
Well organised and
operational
Contented
Shared vision
Collaboration
Improvement of
school
been in existence for quite some time. It has actually built a reputation for itself. Maybe over the time it
has operated it has produced very good standards or very good results in terms of academic achievements,
sporting achievements and even vocational achievements. For me that is what I can term a very good
school. When I look at that particular school the school is run, you know, effectively and efficiently such
that the rate of holding school demonstrations, on strikes, protests and so forth becomes very low and all
the key stakeholders starting with the head, teachers [and] pupils, they share a common vision; they share
a mission for the school, they are actually working together in a cooperative manner. I think that is the
mark of a very good school and on the other hand we also have other key stakeholders like the parents
through their school development committees and the local communities be they the local businessmen,
they are also playing a very strong role to try to influence the school positively. That will be a fertile
ground to develop the school.
I – And how will you describe a successful student?
S3 - A successful student-I am looking at a student holistically. Not a student who is academically gifted
`All-rounder in
achievements
only. For me it is partial success. I want to say to this student is particularly successful in a holistic form
[by] looking at their academic achievements they are actually excelling academically, looking at their
participation in sporting activities and then even looking at their performance and participation in nonacademic activities like agriculture, building, carpentry and so forth. So I want to take a holistic picture of
250
that particular student, yaa, that is what I can term this person is a complete student, yah. They are
actually striking a balance of all the attributes of academics, arts, sporting, etc.
I – And for the same- how will you describe a successful teacher?
S3 - A successful teacher for me is a teacher who is able to-, who has got the knowledge, but is also able
Emphasis on ability
to impart knowledge
Morality and
accountable
Achievements and
success of students
to impart that particular knowledge, to impart that knowledge to students. I know of some teachers who
are not so good at imparting knowledge. Yes, they have the qualifications, they have the knowledge in
their head, but when it comes to delivery they are found wanting. It [teacher] is somebody who has the
knowledge, is able to impart and in a way he becomes a role model for the students themselves. Morally
he should not be found wanting and you know he shows keen interest in the results of the students to say I
am willing to account for my performance by producing very good students. I think those are the
attributes of a good teacher.
I – And what will be the attributes of a successful school leader?
S3- The attributes of a successful school leader- I am looking at somebody who has the administrative
capacity or the administrative knowledge. He is able to run a school effectively and efficiently, but again
Leadership qualities he should be somebody whom I can say has got the technical knowledge and he is also in possession of
Interpersonal and
communication skills what I can call the social skills. So I want again a complete individual or somebody whom I can say has
Good relationships
what we can call conceptual skills. He has a good blend of technical knowhow, technical experience and
Collaboration
he is also able to relate very well with the teaching staff, with the parents, the pupils and stakeholders in
the education sector. For me, yah, it is a mark for a good school leader.
I- From what you have said now, where doing you think we are in our education system?
S3 – Focusing on Zimbabwe?
Increased provision
of education
Poor or no resources
Demotivated
teachers
Teacher welfaresupplementing
salaries
Neglecting work
Incentives
Economic straining
on parents
Motivational issues
Acknowledges
problems with the
education system
Inequalities between
private and
government schools
Declining standardscompromising
education system
Recognition of
outside qualifications
over local ones
I – That was more like the ideal situation, what about the reality? Where are we?
S3 – I think even if we have made some inroads here and there, I think we still have quite a lot to do
towards achieving the ideal situation. Yes of course, in terms of establishing the schools, our government
has done a lot. We have found schools established in the urban and rural areas. We have seen even the
enrolment of students increasing rising, but again like I said, what I said-, we still have a lot of challenges
for instance, most of these schools, they are lacking resources, they are resource poor and it becomes very
difficult for the school heads to actually run those schools effectively. As a result of resource poor
materially that acts as a disincentive for the local teaching staff and the staff are found running around to
supplement their meagre salaries at the expense of the students. We also find the same teaching staff kind
of arm twisting the parents to come up with what they call incentives. Extra money on top of school fees,
which is used by the teachers as some form of incentive just to keep them motivated in doing their work.
But all those issues again show that we still have a long way to go and somehow I also feel there is that
kind of discordance in the way the private schools are run and the way the government schools are run.
Yaa, there is what I can call differences, some inequalities between the two. But again looking at the
education sector in the country, I think the incremental gains that we gained, they seem to be on the
decline due to what I can call maybe neglect. Those who have got the money, those who are rich, they are
actually fond of sending their children maybe overseas where they feel they access better education and
then the poor resourced schools remaining in the country are left for the poor parents and hence there is
that bridge were we feel others who have got the money, the resources, send their children overseas. They
actually make sure their children get a better education while those who attend the poor resourced
251
schools, their qualifications are regarded as inferior to those who attain their educational qualifications
outside the country so there is that gap, which I feel does not do good for the education system of the
country.
I – From all you have said what do you think should be done to either maintain or to sustain a successful
school or a successful education system?
S3 – I think the availability of money, starting at national level where maybe the budget is actually made
and financial allocations are done to ministries. I think the ministry of education is a critical sector that
needs to be given the big, ehh, you know, a larger chunk of the budgetary allocations and that again tends
to filter to the local schools, yaa. I understand most these local schools are getting grants from the
Importance of the
education sector
Insufficient funding
Involvement and
participation other
stakeholders
Self-reliance
strategies
government and when I chatted with few headmasters here and there, they were complaining that they
were no longer receiving these government grants and if they come it’s like they are coming in dribs and
drabs. They are not enough to meet the operation, maybe it is also a wakeup call for the local schools not
only to look at the government only for resources, but to cast their nets wider by encouraging the parents,
the local community to play a role maybe by donating material resources or even financial resources to
the schools and also playing a part actually in influencing the activities of the schools. So, I think they
really need to cast their nets wider to attract, if possible even the private sector companies to assist them
with resources rather than waiting for the government to be their sole financial provider. Even if it means
the schools have to engage in income generating activities, yah. Creating some income and actually
developing their schools. I think it is very necessary.
I – Maybe summarise; you were talking earlier of the schools to cast their nets farther and gain more
resources, do you want to add a bit more (interruption -someone selling cabbages) so it was all to do with
sustaining a successful school you have already mentioned something about resources. I think you have
done that unless you want to add more on that or make a summary of what you think of the resourcing of
the school.
Poor or no resources
Reliance on other
stakeholders for
funding
Insufficient
infrastructure
S3 – The resourcing of the schools to a large extent, like I said earlier on, they are resource poor, they
don’t have much to write home about. Yes, they may actually be having some school buildings here and
there that have been funded buy NGOs, maybe by the government itself, but again when we look at the
resources available in the form of maybe the teaching staff, in the form of maybe textbooks, exercise
books available for the pupils, they are not enough and as a result we find that most of the school pupils
in those schools end up maybe scrounging for resources elsewhere, which is not an ideal thing, yah.
I - There is one comment that I came across since the 1980s, up to now it is still coming up to now; what
can you say about comments made about secondary education system that suggest that ‘O’ level school
leavers do not meet the quality required by industry?
S3 - Yaa, to a great extent it is true, but again, it comes back to the education system in the country,
which I earlier on indicated is academically oriented, yaa. And it’s academically oriented and there is
very low interaction with the industry and hence upon leaving school, an ‘O’ level graduate will only be
possessing the theory, which is not even linked to industrial requirements because one, he is focusing on
academically oriented subjects. Say, for example, its maybe geography or maybe it is English, right or
maybe it is religious studies, which has got a very little link to industrial requirements. So for me it
creates an opportunity for the introduction of vocationally oriented subjects that have got a strong link to
industrial requirements, for instances, for a particular school there could be the need to introduce
252
vocational subjects like carpentry, wood work, metal work, agriculture, arts and crafts, yaa, which I feel
they have got some link to industrial requirements as opposed to academic oriented subjects. So to a large
extent it is true because most these schools do not have vocational subjects in their curriculum.
I – So, some people were asking me this question; saying what is the industry doing about it?
S3 - What is the industry doing about it? Again, I can actually say it is some kind of-, the relationship
between industry and the local schools is far and in between. They don’t interact a lot. They seem not to
Lack of interaction
between industry and
schools
A need to promote
linkages and involve
other stakeholders
Collaboration was
lacking
interact a lot in terms of knowing what, you know, what one is offering and what the other is offering.
There is that very little linkage taking place. The two sectors and probably it is a question of saying let me
wait for Mohamed to go to the mountains and the other side is saying well if Mohamed does not come
then it means I will also remain where I am. So there is need maybe to facilitate linkages. Maybe starting
at national level where maybe the influential key stakeholders like the ministry officials can actually
approach, maybe representative bodies of industry like the CZI, like the ZNCC and come up maybe with
memoranda of agreements for the two sectors and then filter those agreements to provincial and city
levels for implementation. I think that could be a starting point for facilitating and fostering linkages
between the educational sector and the private sector, yaa.
I - Thank you taking part. You gave me a lot of information here, which has been insightful.
S3 - You are most welcome, the pleasure is mine.
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Appendix C.10-Interviews - Stakeholder S5 – (An Education officer, EO)
I – Thank you very much for accepting to taking part in this study.
S5 - Most welcome.
I - We are going to look at the purpose of this study is to establish stakeholders’ attitudes to secondary
schools in Zimbabwe.
S5 – yes
I - First and foremost I will start with a personal question, what is your profession and involvement in
secondary schools?
Diverse roles and
relevant
involvement and
experience in
education
S5 – Uhm, I have varied [involvement], first, I was a specialist in geography and then I moved from there
became a specialist in economics and accounting and then currently I am supervising the teaching and
learning of these subjects; business subjects as they have been termed and then here and there some
geography too.
I – Ok
S5 – Yes
I – And what do you consider as the most significant contribution of teachers in schools?
Enable students to S5 – Uhm, it is to impart the rudiments of the basics of the subject discipline areas they intend to give to
access their subject the pupils and that is guided by the current curriculum, yes.
areas
I – To what extent do you think teachers are actually delivering this [curriculum]?
S5 - They are doing their best, yah, because that extent is measured by generally the examination results,
Teacher efforts
Achievement and
clear criteria to
measure success
the evaluations and the-, particularly in business studies they are doing very well, yes.
I – When you say very well, what do you mean?
S5 - Very well- we get 100% pass rate in accounting, 100% pass rate in 100% pass rate in commerce at
Impact of settings’ some schools and the average is slightly below 50% because of varied teacher qualifications, varied pupil
capacity to provide
input, varied resources, inputs and so on, varied-, the centres themselves and you find in good schools it
resources and the
influence/impact of is 100% pass rate.
the teachers
I – Thank you. Can you please comment on the current state of secondary schools in Zimbabwe or the
education system itself.
Irrelevance of
curricula-too
academic
Change advocate
Unemployment
S5 – Uhm, it is rather broad because one, if you start with the curriculum itself it is still very academic it
does not pave way for self-reliance, for example, you have so many 10 pointers who are just seated at
home 10 pointers at A-level, and some with As and Bs at O level, who are just doing nothing. It is does
not pave way for self-reliance. It is purely academic at the moment. So it should be reshaped.
I – In which direction and how should it be reshaped?
S5 – First, the curriculum should be revamped to make it more self-reliant, like in business studies a
Application of
knowledge
Changes to
curriculum
person should be able to make a simple budget; a person should be able to create projects, seeing the
viability of projects, things like, uhm, one has a project like having tomatoes for examples, it is pointless
to have inputs costing say $100 and outputs $80, you see. The person must realise some sustenance or
some balance of some sort and be able to do some book keeping of those aspects and to be able to
evaluating them to say whether there is any progress at all.
I – what frustrates you about our education system?
254
Inability to
adapt/change
Inability to
adapt/change
Irrelevant curricula
Lack of suitable
resources
Specialisation
A sense of a
compromised
education system
emerging
S5 – Several, one, the curriculum has been there for more than 30 years. It has not changed, right. It is
still British and yet the British have relinquished [stopped used] that uhm, some of the syllabuses that we
are still following it frustrates. The other one is the rigidity within the expectations in education examinations, they must pass examinations. Now after they have passed the examinations, what next?
Nothing. It means you go back to square one. Then political infiltration has caused a mushrooming of
schools, which are in any way not of any use at all, for example, those which have been opened; ‘A’ level
schools, they are barely in name, less than 10 pupils; those less than 10 without suitably qualified
teachers, no inputs and these subjects, the curriculum is narrow. You find they are doing 3 or 4 subjects,
what for? And yet they should have created a system whereby they would say those who are eligible to do
such and such subjects must go to a specified school and fund those schools rather than having a
mushrooming of schools.
I – So what strategies do you think should be put in place to make things better?
S5 – First, the strategies should be geared from the base; what [is] are the country’s vision, the economic
Strategies based on
clear vision
Creating
appropriate
environment
Relevant skills and
capabilities
Aspects of
suitability of human
resources and
competence
emerging
Checks and
balances in the
education system
Feedback and
training
vision, to develop and what does the country need in terms of developing its culture. Once you have a
clear vision, available resources; you would be able to chart a clear room for developing the education
system; like at the moment we have minerals; it’s pointless to move away from those minerals and
developing, creating jobs for the very people in creating businesses related to that, not directly
(interruption); it is narrow and as evidenced by this one, everyone would like to be a doctor, a doctor of
what? Do you have the background? Like I said I am a teacher, I am now an inspector of schools. It
means I have been working at the base of education. I trained as a teacher and I worked as teacher, I am
now supervising teachers, I am now actively involved in the production of textbooks, right.
I – The resources that pupils need
S5 - Yes, the need, which are relevant
I – Besides textbooks, what else do you do to improve the education system?
S5 – Ehh, we go and supervise, we undertake staff development workshops with the teachers; just make
corrective aspects of [things that might have] gone wrong and we also at times although we don’t get any
hearing [acknowledgement] recommend strategies to be undertaken in the teaching service.
I – I think I am lost now because we had a long pause here I think we were talking about strategies I think
we move on to the next one; how would you describe a successful school?
S5 – Uhhm, a successful school can be described by the tone, the relationship between the community
School and its
benefits to the
communityrelevance of the
curricula
Interactions
/relationships
and the school; what does that school give to the community immediately? Things like, does the
community come and get some new aspects to improve their lives? Things like the health aspect; things
like improving their academic qualifications and so on, things like improving the way they treat their
young ones, then obviously, the nation expects good pass rates, yes.
I – And looking at students, I think we have been discussing this informally, how would you describe a
successful student?
S5 - One who is aware of herself or himself, about his abilities, capabilities, and then what he can
produce, what he intends to do and is doing that.
I – If I may give an example of the lady [cleaner] who came in.
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S5 – Her intentions are not to do this manual work as she sees it, but to do something higher despite that
Aspirations
she does not have the expected qualification, despite being ignorant of the fact that everything starts from
the base.
I – How would you describe a successful teacher?
S5 - Uhm, one who is self-motivated, enjoys his work, who sees the future being bright; there is potential
Motivated
Job satisfaction
Progression
for promotion and then he is quite satisfied with his outputs; the students-seeing them doing well in life.
I – And the same for school leaders
S5 – School leaders are more or less that they should be satisfied with their outputs. They should be
Results/outputs
driven
Leadership styles
and attributes
caring. They should be innovative. They should be a bit more democratic because they are not the only
ones with the knowledge. Those who will have not been given that opportunity to have that knowledge
could have more potential. For example, you teach pupils who become doctors tomorrow, when yourself
were put in their position, their grade their age and so on, they will be doing much better, but you are
relying on experience and maturity. So you should accept that; expect that some are better than you,
regardless of your rank.
I – And saying that what you have said is a benchmark, how then would say-; where is the secondary
education system now based on what you have just said?
S5 – At the moment, ehm, because it is not free education, because the resources are not available to
everyone. Pupils are not given the opportunity to exercise their potential. If you look at-, you said you
Teachers failing to
make students to
their full potential
Catchment area
Inequalities in
schools-resources
have been a student at School E. If you look at the resources at School E and you compare to the
resources at School C; a student who would have gone to School C would fare better than the one at
School E by virtue of the resources, by virtue of the place where you would be staying, the environment
which [they stay] would have [had] an impact on the developmental aspect of these two students or on the
other hand the one at School E has a goal [see he has] a poor background, but [says] I have the brains, let
me explain that [he], will do far better than the one at School C.
I – So what do you think should be done then, if the key is to sustain-first to achieve then to sustain
schools in Zimbabwe?
S5 – One, I think you have to conscientise the parents themselves because they are the key players. Once
Informed
Societal needs
Collaboration
Clear strategies and
vision
you have conscientised them of the role of education, you have a sound vision and then you go to the
teachers themselves and the heads and show them that what society needs is this and that and that. The
way to achieve these-, basic needs; will show them the way and direct them and you work hand in hand;
they also have their input in discussions and you give them your own input and assess them together,
chart one acceptable known way.
I – Thank you, I think you have already mentioned things to do with resources; can you maybe
summarise; or I could just say; please comment on the resources available to the schools that you are
familiar with.
S5 – When you talk of resources, first, you talk of things like physical infrastructure, the classrooms,
playgrounds and so on. We move on to the textbooks and we move on to available human resources;
things like-, suitably qualified teachers. Those will be the three basic resources; the physical
Clarification on the
resources
infrastructure, buildings, textbooks then the human resources.
I – So can you please say what you think-, what are they like in Zimbabwe now?
256
Unavailability of
resources or
shortages
Some improved
availability of
textbooks
Difference between
rural and urban
schools on facilities
S5 – It is varied in Zimbabwe, some of our rural schools where the physical resources are not available,
pupils learn under trees, there are no desks; the very human resources; even, you have lowly qualified
teachers and at times unqualified teachers. Ehh, then the textbook structure, but now it has improved
because UNICEF has come in and has provided for grades 1 to 7 with textbooks, basic textbooks; in
primary school all textbooks and then in secondary school they have provided textbook in six subjects. So
these are now available, but the physical infrastructure has not yet improved. This part here will say the
government gives what they call a per capita, I think it should have been skewed towards the rural
[schools] who did not have the facilities to improve the physical infrastructure and then attract more
suitably qualified teachers to go and teach there.
I – You mentioned textbooks, UNICEF did -, in what way do these books fit in the Zimbabwean
curriculum? Where are they sourcing these books from?
Clarification of
funding of the
textbooks
Controversy over
content in history
textbook
S5 - These are local productions, but UNICEF has funded it, although there are political connections with
that; a case in point is History, the History there if I take one specific area-heroism, which is very
debatable in Zimbabwe at the moment. Are you Zimbabwean?
I – Ya, I am Zimbabwean.
S5 - Good, we take a person like-ehh, I am not a politician myself, like Ndabaningi Sithole he is not
Controversy over
content in history
textbook
among the heros. We take a person like Ndabaningi Sithole he is among the protagonists of those who led
to this heroism, he is not there. Now that book has been written by somebody with a strong bias to the
political system. Now that subject again has been among the six, one would say why bring such a
debatable subject. It is better if you had 5 or taken another subject, which is a bit neutral.
I – Thank you and looking at the working environment; what can you say about the working environment
in schools?
S5 – It is very poor, it is very poor. Like at the moment, the rural teacher compared with the urban
teacher, they are kilometres apart, in terms of their welfare. The rural teacher the accommodation is poor,
Poor welfare of
teachers-rural
school teacher
worse off
Low teacher status
the rural teachers the incentives from the parents is [are] just poor as compared to those in urban areas,
yes, whereas the reverse would have been true; where that one who is settled at the school, where that
one, the community is very accommodative, that house although it is a small house, it is for free.
Whatever they provide is for free out of their genuine love, whereas in these other schools, you are not
staying there, you have to travel there, the community you may be staying with [may] just recognise you
as a teacher. You are a teacher there at that school but my child is going at this other school. It is quite
different from what you get in the rural schools.
I – This one is-, I am going to read it out- it is a comment that has been coming out since from 1980 and it
is still the same comment; what can you say about comments made about comments that suggest that O
level graduands or school leavers do not meet the quality required by industry?
S5 –Uhm, it is highly generalised from one point, because O level is not a qualification for one to be in
industry. Industry needs people whose minds have been developed, who are trainable, who must then
come and fit their areas they require, and that is why industry must have apprenticeships, attachments,
suitably trained people. Why? Industry must have further education in line with their expectations. So
there is no way they can expect somebody with O level to come and dovetail at their workplace, other
than being there as general workers, not specialist workers, yes. However, yes, industry also, should
contribute in the designing of the curriculum so that their expectations are met, if there is any deviation
257
contributions to
curricula by
industry
from their expectations they come up, sit down and then produce a Zimbabwean who fits their expected
areas because there is no other sector where you would say somebody with ‘O’ level must go, move in
and be productive.
I – Thank you so much
S5 – You are welcome
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Appendix C.11- Initial lesson observations notes
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