The implementation of the new competence-based curriculum : a case study of selected primary schools in Zimbabwe
Nyikadzino, Sylevester Justice
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The role of leadership in new curriculum reform implementation in the education system has not much coverage in the literature on leadership. The fusion of the curriculum leadership literature with systems theory and change processes will be useful to both theory and practice. This research sought to establish the experiences of primary school leaders and teachers when implementing the competence-based curriculum and to provide suggestions for leadership during curriculum reform in Zimbabwe. The study was guided by philosophical assumptions of ontology and epistemology. It employed the qualitative research design, which is informed by the idealist interpretivism paradigm. The study also employed the case study methodology (approach) as we need to capture the complex reality being studied. Participating schools were sampled from Mbare/Hatfield District, which is in Harare Metropolitan Province. Purposive sampling was used to sample participants who comprised school leaders and teachers from five primary schools. Semi-structured interviews were used to generate data from school leaders and teachers. The thematic data analysis method was employed to analyse the data and it involved identifying codes, which were organised into categories and themes. The study found that the CBC was not being implemented well because of various challenges that hindered its effective implementation. These challenges included negative attitude towards the CBC, leading to resistance by teachers, lack of adequate material resources, lack of specialist teachers trained to teach the new learning areas and lack of motivation for teachers in terms of their salaries. It was also found that parents supported the education of their children by providing both financial and material resources, although they complained that the CBC was a difficult curriculum judging from the vocabulary used in the homework given to learners. In spite of the existence of challenges facing the CBC implementation, both school leaders and teachers acknowledged that the CBC was a worthwhile curriculum reform designed to equip learners with skills and competences, which they can use to sustain their livelihoods. Findings also indicated that the system influenced interactions between systems levels as well as leadership roles and styles practised by school leaders. Although principals were found to practise both autocratic and democratic leadership styles, indications were that they did so within the confines of the bureaucratic and hierarchical structure to which they belonged because of their formal position. It was also found that MoPSE need to improve its monitoring of the CBC implementation and give feedback to implementers. The research concluded that policy makers should consider reviewing their one-directional communication networks to accommodate feedback channels like schools to give feedback across fluid boundaries within the units such as districts and provinces. It was recommended that there is need for harmonisation of teacher-education curriculum and the CBC, which has been introduced in schools. This would bridge the human resources gap of lack of trained teachers in the CBC new learning areas. With respect to further research, it is recommended that this research be replicated in rural schools where the schools’ situated contexts are totally different from those of urban schools.
- Education 
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