15 January 2013

Zambia: CBCE On the Move to Educate Zambia

IF Zambians are scientifically literate, they will be able to identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed.

Copperbelt College of Education (CBCE) offers its learners desired skills to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it.

After training at CBCE, the graduands are able to utilise technological tools in such a way as to obtain maximum benefit from them, reducing wastage and misuse.

CBCE offers training to people to enable them become scientifically literate with the skills to participate as a more equal partner in the modern technological world.

Formerly known as Copperbelt Secondary Teachers College (COSETCO), CBCE is one of the affiliate colleges of the University of Zambia (UNZA).

As the Government steps up its efforts to improve the overall education landscape in the country, CBCE is on the edge of transformation to an institution of academic excellence to be known as Mukuba University.

The vision of CBCE is to produce effective teachers who are accountable to society in the provision of quality education for the current and future generations of tomorrow.

CBCE principal Mubanga Lupupa says the institution has embraced a thorough mission to ensure the quality provision of high school diplomas and undergraduate degrees in mathematics, science and practical subjects.

Mr Lupupa says the institution has the important specialised function of training teachers of science, mathematics and home economics, a task it has exceptionally performed since it was first opened in 1974.

The college began as a secondary school, built in 1958 by the Franciscans and was originally called St Francis.

The original building of its nucleus form is now the present campus.

As the college undergoes transformation into a university, the institution has started offering degree programmes for science and mathematics with home economics continuing at diploma level.

"The specific mandate of the college include provision of training of educators and teachers of mathematics and science subjects at school and tertiary level and provision of opportunities for advanced theoretical and practical learning in the mathematics and natural sciences for those interested in careers deriving from these fields," Mr Lupupa said.

He explained further that the other mandate of the college was to conduct research to advance knowledge and its application and to advance the teaching and learning of mathematics and natural sciences.

He said the college was acting as a centre for in-service upgrading courses for suitably qualified practising basic and high school teachers.

"We also act as a centre for resource development and for the promotion of discussion of ideas, issues and new developments in education," he said.

The principal explained that the college had taken the initiative to publish and disseminate research results, knowledge and innovations to members of the public, including stakeholders.

CBCE currently offers secondary teachers diploma in home economics, which is a three-year programme.

The mode of delivery is full-time face-to-face contact and one needs to have either five 'O' level credits or better, including the English language, and at least a merit in the teaching subject (home economics).

Students pursuing this programme are expected to study home management, fashion and fabrics, food and nutrition, home economics, and teaching methods during the three-year study.

The home economics laboratory is well equipped with modern appliances with the food and nutrition rooms stocked with electric cookers, refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, toasters, sandwich makers, food processors as well as other small culinary pieces of equipment.

The home management room is also well furnished with almost all hard and soft furnishes that a home requires such as demo lounge suites, beds and mattresses, dressing mirrors, cookers, and refrigerators, among others.

The fashion and fabrics room is as much beefed up with hand sewing machines, treadles sewing machines, electric sewing machines, tables, wardrobes, models and dressing mirrors.

There are small needlework tools such as pairs of scissors, tracing wheel, different types of needles, tape measures, dress makers pins and more.

"All students undertaking the diploma in education programme take a mandatory education course during the three years of training which are education psychology, sociology of education, methods and administration, philosophy of education, communication skills and audio visual aids," he said.

On degree programmes, for a candidate to be admitted to the programme he or she should have either at least five 'O' levels which is five credits or better including English language and at least a merit in the teaching subject or secondary teachers diploma from a recognised institution.

These programmes typically take the duration of four years for pre-service candidates (school leavers) and three years for secondary school diploma holders who are entitled to exemptions in some education courses at second year.

The mode of delivery is typically by full-time face-to-face contact and through distance learning which utilises an intensive modular approach.

The bachelor of Education in mathematics and science degree is divided as follows:

science major options, which offers students who want to major in physics, chemistry and biology a variety of course combinations, for instance, chemistry major with biology minor; chemistry major with mathematics minor, chemistry major with physics minor, physics major with chemistry minor, physics major with mathematics minor and biology major with chemistry minor.

"Mathematics major options are mathematics single major and mathematics major with physics/chemistry minor.

"To carry out the programmes offered, the college has eight female and 19 male academic staff members," Mr Lupupa said.

Currently, CBCE offers Bachelor of Education Degree programmes in mathematics and science education.

In addition, the university offers diploma courses in home economics.

These courses are critically important for national development as they provide scientific literacy.

This is so because this knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes is essential for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.

In addition to scientific literacy, science education forms the foundation on which doctors, engineers and other technical people will be trained.

It is without dispute that Zambia would be a better nation if most of its citizens became scientifically literate.

To achieve this goal, the nation requires sufficient numbers of science and mathematics teachers.

There are many developments taking place in terms of the National Policy Framework, infrastructure innovations and staff development.

Some of the new structures being built include a modern library, lecturer theatre rooms and student hostels.

"There are plans to build more staff houses, sports recreation facilities and more lecture rooms. The institution has managed to develop to its current status through the funding from Government," Mr Lupupa said.

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