Policy and Programs Program and Sector policy
Policy and Programs

The Department of Education and Extension Studies University of Zambia

While collecting information for this global distance education network, SAIDE held several interviews with organisations in Southern African countries. Impressions of each country were generated to give some introduction to distance education and technology use in the area. Each interview has also been written up separately as a case study.

SAIDE country visits conducted in 1999

Permission granted

Contact details

Country : Zambia
Contact Person : Prof. Mwansa (Head of Department)
Date of Interview: 09 June 1999


The department of Adult Education and Extension Studies operates under the School of Education at the University of Zambia. This department offers three programmes which are; Certificate in Adult Education, Diploma in Adult Education and Extension Programmes. Completion of the certificate course is a prerequisit for admission into the Diploma. The Extension Programmes, which are a requirement for the completion of the certificate and diploma programmes, are not run at the main campus but by tutors/lecturers in the university’s provincial centres. The reason is because such programmes are designed to suit the needs of each province.

The general aims of the certificate and the diploma are; to train individuals in planning, administering and delivering adult education activities. They also aim at enhancing their skills to manage adult education in a democratic way. Admission criteria to the CAE and DAE Programmes are the same as those for the University as a whole. For the certificate programme one has to have passed ‘O’ level. Candidates for the Diploma must hold a certificate in Adult education. To register for the Programmes candidates should also have some experience in the filed of adult education. Those without experience may be given a test which if they pass would qualify for admission.

Though the enrolment statistics were not available, the head of the department indicated the about 300 people have graduated from the both the CAE and DAE programmes and the demand for the programmes is increasing.


The curricula for the diploma and the certificate consists of 16 courses each, of which four are taken per semester for a period of two years for the correspondence students and one year for the fulltime students. The restructured courses for the certificate include: Foundations of Adult Education; Adult Education in Zambia; Adult Learning; Sociology of Adult Education; Programme Planning in Adult Education; Evaluating Adult Education Programmes; Instructional Methods in Adult Education; Instructional Techniques in Adult Education; Communication Theory and Practice and Non-Formal Education. The restructured diploma courses include: Administration in Adult Education; Managing Adult Education Programmes; Research Methods in Adult Education; Statistics in Adult Education; Community; Dynamics of Planned Change; Communication Practice and Mass Communication; Mass Education and Development; (Independent) Research Project.

In fact, the two Programmes (CAE and DAE) are viewed as sequential and progressive. The CAE is seen as providing fundamental training that will equip individuals to function better professionally and as providing the prerequisit training for the pursuit of the DAE which, in turn, will train individuals for more complex of demanding professional roles.

According to the head of the department, they are moving away from exams towards continuous assessment. Their assessment includes students individual projects, group projects, discussions, presentations etc, which count for 50% and the exams count for 50% as well. For the major individual projects, the department organises contact sessions where students are lectured and given advice on how to go about doing the work.


The department relies on print media. Video and television are used occasionally. The head of department, Prof. Mwansa is particularly interested in the use of video and television because he is not only a lecturer but also writes plays and produces films. The department has also had a discussion series on television. The department also used to have a producer whose responsibility was to organise lectures and discussions for radio broadcast. Like in many other distance education institutions in Zambia, this service was stopped because the Zambia Broadcasting Services became autonomous and started charging for the broadcast of lessons. The University and other institutions could not afford this.

At the moment, the department does not have enough computers to use for teaching and learning but there are plans to have computers in all the regions and to use these effectively.


In both the CAE and DAE, the department assures quality in a number of ways. It uses students to evaluate the lecturers and to give them feedback about their performance, staff and masters students curry out studies to look at the impact of the programmes in the communities and to review the courses offered from time to time. This is done primary because before a programmes is introduced, the department does needs assessment and so it makes sense that the impact of programmes should be assessed. The department also brings in scholars from other countries to evaluate its programmes and to suggest improvement.

Professional Development

Since the department operates under the University of Zambia, it is the university that gives grants to individuals to further their studies in countries such as England, Canada, and America. Such individuals bring to the university diverse experiences and expertise. The university offers grants for further studies on the basis of, for example the number of courses one has taught, their publications and student feedback is also taken seriously. Candidates who get highest score get the grants. Apparently the department of Adult Education and Extension Studies has the highest number of academically well developed people in that most of the lecturers in the department have Ph.D degrees. Due to shrinking resources the department has had to resort to running internal workshops and seminars from time to time.


According to head of department, their success may be judged on the success of their students in various sectors of the economy where they work. Because of good training in the areas of tolerance, democratic leadership and promotion of participation, their students are always in demand. The department is also being required to do many consultancy services. The university and national policies on distance and adult education are also supportive. The department has also been administering a scholarship which has this year been given to about 15 students and what the head of department sees as a hindering factor is lack of scholarships for other students.

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