Examining the remote rural early childhood development schools' responses to the challenges of resource demand in Zimbabwe : a multiple site case study.
This multiple case study looked at remote rural ECD schools from Chiredzi and Zaka districts in Zimbabwe and investigated their responses to challenges posed by resource demand. There is a substantial international literature focusing on advancing ECD which has contributed to the grounding of this study. My study makes a contribution towards building child-friendly ECD schools in Zimbabwe. Eight schools were chosen using purposeful and snowballing sampling methods. A qualitative method of inquiry was employed to illuminate the experiences of schools‟ leadership in their endeavour to create responses to resource demand and the extent to which they address effective teaching and learning for ECD in the schools. Thus, a total of twenty-four interviews and documentary reviews were used in the study. The study was underpinned by two effective theories; Invitational and Transformational leadership theories. The data was analysed. The findings from my study suggest the following: ECD education is funded by the parents and the community at large, hence school heads are mobilising teaching and learning resources from the community. Schools do benefit from donations from parents, UNICEF and Plan International in terms of infrastructure. Nutritional health and safety aspects in ECD schools are far below national requirements. Although school heads are conducting staff development programmes, the human resource such as para-professionals and seconded teachers are not skilled to teach these children. Inspite of providing support to teaching and learning in remote rural ECD schools, it is not effective due to large classes and a limitation of all other inputs. School heads are being over-worked and are finding it difficult to cope with their many responsibilities. In addition, the existing high demand for resources places a strain on their management. Based on the research findings, two models for ECD were developed; „a child-friendly school‟ and „a professional learning community‟ models. The research also proposes recommendations to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education as well as to primary school heads. Finally, the research makes suggestions for further studies.