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In every society, there are problems that affect the inhabitants of that society. Some of the problems are social, some are economic and at times problems may be both social and economic and this makes them socio-economic problems. The presentation will seek to undress the following socio-economic problems and their effect on educational management in Zimbabwe; school leavers; HIV and aids; child headed families; corruption; social stratification and drug abuse.
School leavers may be described as those learners who join the labour market after completing a specific cycle of education (Thungu et al 2012:293). In recent years, there has been a growing number of school leavers giving the government a bit of headache in terms of employment creation. The education system releases three groups of school leavers:
The primary school leavers present the most difficult problem as they are young and inexperienced and therefore unemployable in formal organisations.
They are however abused by those employers who do not want to pay high wages and therefore engage these young job hunters.
In Zimbabwe, primary school leavers are increasing by the day as the number of those who fail to complete primary level continues to rise. According to the Zimbabwe national Strategic Plan (2010), the completion rate for primary level has dropped to 82.
4% which 17.6% become school leavers and enter the job market. The secondary school situation is a bit different in that the school leavers at this level have some form of skills in technical subjects that they do like woodwork, metalwork, fashion and fabrics and therefore can be absorbed into industry or the form their own home based industries. However, these school leavers need to have tertiary education where their skill will be further developed to suit the needs of industry. The tertiary education leavers have been equipped for employment however nowadays there is little employment to absorb them all. This has presented the Zimbabwean Government with a challenge as most university graduate roam the streets without employment.
All the three levels of school leavers pass through school, and therefore there is a big challenge to the educational manager to try and help solve the school leaver’s problem. The educational manager can help by: Introducing school projects that help children to work for their fees so that they can proceed with education up to tertiary level. Offer subjects that teach skills that enable pupils to start self-help projects e.g. agriculture, metalwork, woodwork and fashion and fabrics. introduce clubs that children may use as a source of income after school e.g. drama.
The HIV and Aids pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the society. The pandemic is responsible for the largest orphans in society. It has affected the working class, non-working class and even the students. It has caused a lot of problems in that sometimes bread winners die leaving behind school going children thereby leading to school dropouts.Hiv and Aids has affected the community in the following ways:
Most vacant post in schools are as a result of the pandemic. Teachers are also taking care of their sick relatives thereby putting a strain on their performance. Death of a trained teacher means the government has to spend more resources to train other teachers. Stigmatization of teachers who are HIV positive reduces their effectiveness.
Continued absence from school due to constant illness reduces performance of learners. There is rampant stigmatisation in schools leading to infected pupils feeling low and thereby not performing well. Some learners drop out of school to take care of sick parents, guardians or siblings.
They fail to provide adequately for their children since most of their income is spent on medication and nutritional food. they won’t be able to supervise the education of their children; premature deaths of parents mean the children will be deprived of family income thereby failing to get basic necessities
infected officials may fail to do their role of supervising schools thereby affecting the quality of education Death of these officials may lead to more resources being spent on training new officers.
The above scenario puts the educational manager in a very difficult position. There is however need for the manager to be crafty in handling such issues, a skilful manager may do the following: Constantly educate teachers and pupils on the dangers of HIV and Aids. Start projects like nutrition gardens that aim to assist the infected with nutritional vegetables. Have the community taking turns to water the garden. Organise drama clubs that encourage the community to take care of the infected and to discourage discrimination of those infected. form a guidance and counselling club that helps affected and infected children introduce Hiv and Aids education at your school to educate society of the dangers posed by the pandemic
Child headed families are a phenomenon that has become part of today’s community. They consist of orphaned children who strive to take care of each other. According to Freeman and Nkomo (2006:504), “an orphan is a person under the age of 18 who has lost one or both parents to death, desertion or other means. ‘They occur as a result of the following: The parent or guardian or care giver of the household is terminally ill, has died or has abandoned the children in the household. No adult family member is available to provide care for the children in the household.
Increase in school dropouts as children switch roles.Children in child headed families perform badly due to lack of basic necessities.
Form school projects where they work for school fees e.g. maize fields or nutritional gardens. Introduce adult education programmes that help the community to read and understand issues like HIV and Aids. Initiate community support groups that take care of orphaned children and seek help from chiefs, village heads and councillors.
Corruption has become the single biggest enemy in our society today as it has caused the eroding of our dignity and the will to do our jobs professionally. In Zimbabwe, corruption has seen little development as people seek to accumulate wealth by hook and crook at the expense of the country at large (nehanda Radio 2014).Corruption is found in many sectors of society and comes in various forms for instance: One is seeking a place for a child at a particular school and they are told there are no more places, but if they offer money then the place becomes available. Staffing officers deliberately overstaff certain schools in order to victimise certain teachers who will then be ordered to transfer to remote schools. Those closely connected to officials often get favourable treatment. They get first preference when it comes to recruitment, deployment and transfers. When one goes to apply for a passport, they have to pay for the service to be done faster.
An investor comes and wants to register a company they are told the process takes months but if they pay it then takes days. One goes for an interview which in most cases is just a formality as one director has already filled the post with a relative. A lot of unroadworthy vehicles roam our roads with fitness certificates from the vehicle inspection department. This puts the lives of Zimbabweans in dangerous vehicles which in most instances get involved in accidents thereby robbing the country of its intellectuals. On our roads, roadworthy vehicles pass police roadblocks every day because they belong to big ‘shefs’ in government or because the police officers have been given some money. This at the end of the day is putting the lives of innocent citizens in danger.
It creates laziness as people try to make easy money through kickbacks. it defeats the spirit of competition as people are awarded jobs on partisan lines and not on merit it diminishes the role of education in society as undeserving applicants are awarded jobs at the expense of better qualified applicants It retards economic growth as the economy is put in the hands of unskilled workers who get jobs because they are relate to the boss. It renders ineffective laid down procedures for recruitment and awarding of tenders. It threatens equal access, quantity and quality of education. If children are made to believe that personal effort personal effort and merit do not count and that success comes through manipulation, favouritism and bribery, then the very foundations of society are shaken.
Create transparent admission procedures that the community will appreciate and desire to copy at their workplaces. Educate students and the community on the dangers posed by corruption in terms of economic development.
Wikipedia defines social stratification as the way people are placed in a society. Fuller (2013:164) defines social stratification as “society’s categorization of its people into rankings of socio-economic tiers based on factors like wealth, income, education, race and power.”
7.1 Causes of stratification
Society has tended to classify its members mainly along wealth line for instance in Zimbabwe suburbs are inhabited based on how much money one has e.g. The wealthiest Zimbabweans now stay in Borrowdale brook, the grange and chisipite. Low income earners stay in the high density suburbs.
Stratification along educational has of late become prevalent were professors would socialise in a particular club and membership is by virtue of being a professor or a doctor or a lawyer. However stratification along education lines is not very prevalent as being educated in Zimbabwe does not translate to being rich so professors could be high up in the educational ladder, but lower on the wealth ladder meaning they can stay in medium density suburbs or even high density suburbs.
Stratification has cascaded from parents to children as those whose parents afford the exorbitant fees in some schools view those in less expensive schools as inferior to them. Also, in those expensive schools, children classify themselves according to the cars that that their parents own. These expensive schools have also tended to play elite sports like rugby, cricket and hockey and would rather play against each other than play the inferior schools. these classes have created a them and us syndrome and this leads to supporting one of us regardless of whether wrong or correct Of late stratification had also hit the teaching fraternity because of the incentive issue. Those teaching in elite schools would get more incentives as compared to those in high density schools and rural schools thereby creating a class between the teachers.
Stratification in schools may be positive in that it creates competition among schools as they try to prove how good they are academically and in sport.
Clashes may occur during sporting events between supporters of elite schools and those of high density schools. The clashes by students may cascade to the communities thereby creating a divided society which ends up spilling into the political arena where one may be supported not for what they are capable of but where they come from. a community of classes will not agree on certain issues and therefore economic development will be stalled wealthy individuals will tend to give support to school s in their environs and side-line other schools leading to a drop in the quality of education
Wikipedia defines drug abuse as a patterned use of a substance (drug) in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others. Drug abuse is not limited to school leavers, but is also rife among school children. A study on adolescent drug use assessed by teachers showed that alcohol use was the most serious drug problem especially in rural secondary schools. The use of alcohol and tobacco increased with increased socio economic status Drug use increased with age particularly in urban schools, and involvement of both sexes, suggestive of great western influence. Smoking is also another problem involving students. Most young people are being taught about the dangers of smoking in school but advertising ensures that they become addicted. There is few anti-tobacco advertising. Cooper (2009) said rural secondary school pupils showed an 18.5% prevalence rate of tobacco usage. In a study of 285 students, 8% used tobacco in the previous week, 165 said they would use tobacco during the following year and with parent approval of 13.6%
The educational manager must educate students about cancer risks inherent with chronic cigarette smoking. Inform students that alcohol consumption predisposes the development of gout, epilepsy, hypertension and elevated blood pressure. Educate them that there is greater risk of sexually transmitted infections in alcohol consumption. The manager should make full use of the peer groups in the school to create awareness of the dangers posed by drug abuse. Also use drama clubs to educate students about the dangers of drug abuse.