An Assessment of the Vacation School Conduct: Stakeholders’ Views
The study was conducted to assess the conduct of the vacation school in Chinhoyi Urban, Zimbabwe. A descriptive survey research design was adopted for the study. Questionnaires, an observation checklist and an interview guide were used to solicit information from the participants. A total of 260 participants (160 students, 60 teachers and 40 parents) took part in the study. Purposive sampling was used to come up with the four vacation school centres and stratified sampling was used to select the participants since the population had layers. The study established that the vacation school’s focus had shifted from non-formal students to formal students and that the thrust is now on teaching new concepts rather than revision of work covered. Students registered for subjects of their choice and teachers were recruited for the vacation school mainly on the basis that they were currently teaching the subject at Form 4 level. Supervision of the vacation school depended on exercise book inspection. Most of the classes had above fifty (50) students which compromised quality of instruction. Vacation centres did not give pupils progress reports. Both students and parents regarded vacation school critical in preparing students for public examinations. Teachers considered vacation school as an alternative form of employment. For students to benefit more from the vacation school there is need to reduce classes, provide adequate learning material, recruit more experienced examiners and to establish pupils’ problem areas before planning what to teach. The study recommends that no new concepts should be covered; centre supervisors should closely monitor learning activities and that more teachers should be recruited to reduce teacher pupil ratio. It also recommends that Education Officers visit vacation school centres twice for quality control and that further research be done to ascertain the effectiveness of the vacation and to evaluate the vacation school at district and national level.