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UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE AS A CHANGE AGENT IN IMPROVING MANAGERIAL CAPACITY IN ZAMBIA'S EDUCATION SYSTEM
Henry J. Msango*
... the capacity to manage the system had deteriorated as rapid expansion went hand in hand with lack of investment in management training and lack of resources for effective educational supervision (Educating Our Future, Ministry of Education Report of 1996:145).
Countries, like individuals, cannot realise their full potential without knowledge and skills, otherwise known as human capital. According to Psacharopoulos, investment in education and training and other social services is among the most crucial actions needed to achieve rapid, efficient, equitable and sustainable development.
The importance of investing in human capital has become much clearer in the 1990s because of the mounting evidence on the extent to which such investment and its links with other factors in development act as an engine of change.
According to the World Bank Report of 1998 countries do not need international solutions customised to local conditions. What developing countries like Zambia, need is the ability to generate and implement local solutions enlightened by international knowledge and experience. In the 21st Century developing countries will nee-
(i) Long-term and explicit support for policy analysis, development and implementation, given that the process of policy analysis and development is a sophisticated and strategic exercise;
(ii) Assistance with building the human and institutional capacity at central, provincial, local and school levels to manage the education system;
(iii) Support for the development and improvement of management and learning information system;
(iv) Assistance to be linked systematically and proactively to pathways of relevant and useful information (including the results of research and experimentation, lessons from experience, analytical tools of diagnosis and planning and learning technologies);
(v) Support in developing multi-country collaborative schemes (as in Distance Education, textbooks and instructional materials, teacher training programs and materials, research, student achievement and university systems;
(vi) A significant to massive flow of external assistance for both capital and recurrent expenditures.
All these needs will need appropriate human resources to take care of them. To achieve the developmental objectives more needs to be done. These may include the activation of the administration, school autonomy, cost effectiveness, democratisation, endogenous development, the dismantling of bureaucracy, deregulation, efficiency (inclusive of administrative, economic and pedagogical) equity, conflict management, quality improvement, privatisation and the empowerment of the community (Harvey and Bowin, 1996).
In this paper we shall look at the problems of training educational managers in Zambia's education system. We shall begin by generally identifying the concepts in education, training, objectives and the need for effective management. We shall then proceed to look at what Government and donors, through the Zambia Educational Rehabilitation Project and the University of Zambia, have accomplished so far. Here we shall look at the rationale, strengths, weaknesses, achievements and suggestions. Lastly we make a few conclusions on how Government can make use of such institutions as University to build capacity among its educational managers.
The educational system in Zambia has experienced a lot of problems right from financing to poor administration. The power structure has been especially lacking in assertiveness to carry out the relevant directives of Government. In addition to this communities have viewed learning institutions as far removed from their hopes and aspirations. In other words the Education System has been too centralised hence lacking in a positive employee philosophy that stresses service, commitment, teamwork, ownership and ethical behaviour. The marginalisation of communities has led the Government to introduce policy reforms leading to decentralisation and the establishment of Education Boards at School, College and District Levels. It is believed that decentralisation will lead to major changes in power and authority structure.
One major problem which Government faces is that some of the managers of educational institutions have not had any basic training to manage these institutions. The trainers sometimes lack sufficient knowledge of subject matter to train the educational managers to manage education institutions effectively and efficiently. There has been lack of coherent training policy on educational administrator improvement and poor co-ordination and integration of training provision.
THE TRAINING ASPECT
To manage change effectively there is a need for highly trained personnel. Employee training is a key factor in improving managerial capacity and bringing about positive change. The anticipated outcomes of such management training are:-
. An understanding of processes of change and innovation in education, especially with regard to conceptual aspects and methodological features of decentralisation, and the ability to evaluate the impact and results of such changes
. Programme identification, prioritisation and preparation
. Programme implementation and management
. Procedures to promote decentralisation and make effective use of participatory contributions
. Activity Based Budgeting and Financial Management
. Resources in terms of both
(a) allocation and procedures for distributing resources and
(b) management of resources allocated in terms of mobilisation together with organisational and logical placement.
INDICATORS OF EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT
These can be looked at in terms of:
. Evidence of community mobilisation for specific plans
. Evidence of creativity in dealing with and solving problems at School, District or College Level
. Evidence of records of the following:-
FOCUS ON BUILDING HUMAN CAPACITY
The idea of training personnel to build human capacity is to ensure that a number of job specific skills will be performed at prescribed quality levels by trained employees. The required skills include:-
. management functions of organising, staffing and leading;
. human resource development or staff training;
. completion of confidential reports;
. computer skills;
. managing change;
. research skills and the writing up of project proposals;
. control of physical resources and assets;
. industrial law;
. organising and chairing meetings;
. personnel management skills including record keeping and
. staffing appraisal (Ministry of Education, 1996:146).
THE ZAMBIA EDUCATION REHABILITATION PROJECT
The Zambia Education Rehabilitation Project (SERP) was a joint Ministry of Education and the International Development Agency (IDA) Project. The Project was established in order to reverse the continued deterioration of the education system and to sustain educational revitalisation. Among the Project's objectives to increase the capacity of the education sector to manage an increasingly complex sector in a context of greatly circumscribed resources through the strengthening of educational management and planning and through improvements in the Ministry of Education capacity for policy formulation and analysis.
UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE IN CAPACITY BUILDING IN EDUCATION
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the University of Zambia, School of Education, has been trying to improve the managerial capabilities of Inspectors of Schools, Heads, District Education Officers, Planners as well as Provincial Education Officers. Most of these officers have been promoted to managerial posts on the basis of their successful classroom experience - which is not sufficient, as I pointed out earlier.
The Ministry of Education through the Zambia Education Rehabilitation Project conducted applied Educational Management Training (EMT) to Head teachers, Education Officers and Inspectors of Schools. The EMT for Education Officers and Inspectors of Schools took place at the University of Zambia from 18th June 1995 onwards.
From a combined reaction of DEO's, Inspectors of Schools and Head teachers here are a few quotations.
1 The course helped me to lead by example.
2 I now treat a child as a person, not a `boy' or a `girl'.
4 This is a course that has come too late, it is informative and useful.
5 It has helped me to reflect more on how I should improve my school compound.
6 I now share my vision for my school with my deputy, senior teachers and the staff.
7 ZERP or no ZERP, this is a course that should be made available to all Head teachers, their deputies and their senior teachers including those in private schools.
1. inadequate or belated course-joining instructions
2. poor quality of food and hostel facilities
3. inability to provide teaching materials as promised
4. inflexible and overcrowded timetable
5. delays in processing payment to trainees and trainers
6. inadequate discussion time with trainers
7. confusion caused by "too many resource" persons as in the Research Methods Course
8. inadequately inducted trainers i.e. "not aware of what obtains in the field"
9. trainees who were fond of using threatening language e.g.
"you are here to be grilled"
"failure in the exam will lead to demotion"
The School of Education through the Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies should seriously think of taking over from where the Zambia Education Rehabilitation Project stopped. The EMT courses should be more practical following the sample given here:-
Topic 1: Management and Styles of Leadership
By the end of the training session trainee managers should be able to:-
(a) examine the social topography of schools;
(b) consider how the school ethos affects school effectiveness;
(c) explore relationships between schools and the Education Board/District Officers and;
(d) consider possible leadership styles of Education Boards and the Head teachers.
(i) The school as a social system
(ii) Work Group Norms
(iii) Management and Leadership styles - Likert's system
(iv) Motivation and incentives and ways to improve work motivation in school to reduce absenteeism and improve performance
(v) The nature of staff conflict, and conflict resolution
For Zambia to develop the whole concept of management should be refocused. The effective delivery of education will increasingly depend on the quality of educational administration and management. School heads, education officers and inspectors need training in educational management and supervision. The special skills they need include data generation, analysis and interpretation, planning, resource management, monitoring and evaluation.
The Government should make appropriate training a pre-condition for appointment or promotion to managerial and supervisory positions. The University of Zambia should provide tailor-made programmes to meet the Ministry of Education's heads. More short-duration courses, workshops, seminars and other methods targeted at specific needs and approaches such as peer tutoring, self study, mentoring and informal exchange of experiences at the local level should be encouraged. In other words the University of Zambia should take a leading role in improving managerial capacity in Zambia's Education System.