Zimbabwe primary teachers’ 2-5-2 training programme: A dilemma for female students: A case study of three Government Teachers’ Colleges
The study aimed at assessing the benefits and challenges of the 2-5-2 primary teacher education programme to female students. The study adopted a case study design. Interviews and document analysis were used to gather data from the respondents. Document analysis was used to get evidence to substantiate the statistics on drop outs, failures and withdrawals, deferments and repeating students, due to stress. The sample consisted of a purposive sample of 60 female students, that is, 20 from each of the three colleges, A, B and C. Three principals, three vice principals and three deans of students formed part of the sample. Results revealed that most female students get pregnant within the duration of the 5 terms of their teaching practice, (TP), hence, find it very stressful to cope with college work, motherhood and family responsibilities. It was also noted that from two of the colleges, most of the students preferred to stay out of college residence owing to pressure from their spouses hence fail to balance school and home responsibilities. One college had the highest level of divorce and adultery cases due to separation between spouses. In spite of these challenges, the programme had some positive aspects for female students, such as having more time with their families while on TP especially those who are married. The TP allowances assisted their families and most of them save money for their following term’s fees. The study recommends colleges using the 2-5-2 programme to include smart, flexible relationship topics in their guidance and counselling in first year curriculum to help students cope with relationships. In other words, the colleges should put in place some counselling mechanisms at college level to help students during their health and life skills workshops. The colleges should also include handouts and modules for non-examinable areas in their distant education material to guide students.
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