Stakeholders’ Perceptions of the Decentralisation of the Bachelor of Education in Science through Open Distance and E – Learning (ODeL) of the University of Zimbabwe
Learning in the comfort of one’s home, while working without worrying about manpower development leave and affordable cost is now real. These are some reasons research attribute to the popularity of learning through Open Distance and e – Learning (ODeL). This study investigated the decentralisation of the Bachelor of Education Degree (BED) Science and Mathematics ODeL programme, by the University of Zimbabwe in partnership with Mutare, Hillside and Belvedere Teachers’ Colleges. The purpose was to analyse the process of decentralisation of BED ODeL to participating secondary teachers’ colleges (PSTCs), in order to find out whether the present plans and design for decentralising the programme were perceived as feasible by those involved. The qualitative methodology employed used case studies (interviews, focus group discussions and workshop observations) of BED ODeL students, tutors and coordinators to find out their views on the decentralisation of the programme. Case studies were relevant in order to gain insight into how stakeholders perceived the decentralisation process. Qualitative data analysis methods involving coding cross- data analysis and interpretation were used. The main findings were that stakeholders appreciated the decentralisation of the BED ODeL programme, since it resonated with the national goal of developing science and technology (S&T) skills in learners through science education. S & T skills are considered to be necessary for individual and national socio-economic development world over. However, stakeholders were not sure of programme ownership, their roles and conditions of service in programme implementation. Lack of clarity was attributed to insufficient information dissemination to stakeholders, hence need for improvement. It is recommended that programme coordinators should ensure that the intentions, ownership issues and the implementation of the decentralisation are well understood by all stakeholders, to enhance their full participation focusing on achievement of intended goals.
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