Distance Education Examination Management in a Lowly Resourced North-Eastern Region of Zambia: A Phenomenological Approach

Francis Simui, Henry Chibale, Boniface Namangala
  • Open Praxis, September 2017, UNED - Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia
  • DOI: 10.5944/openpraxis.9.3.442

Distance Education Examination Management in a Lowly Resourced Communities such as Zambia

What is it about?

his paper focuses on the management of distance education examination in a lowly resourced North-Eastern region of Zambia. The study applies Hermeneutic Phenomenology approach to generate and make sense of the data. It is the lived experiences of 2 invigilators and 66 students purposively selected that the study draws its insights from. Meaning within the generated data is elicited using the Chaos theory. Emerging from this study is a multiplicity of ingredients needed to effectively manage distance education examinations in a chaotic environment. The need for visionary leadership with a shared understanding of institutional purpose, the need for motivated staff with creativity and innovation and the need for effective communication are all vital ingredients needed to manage examinations. In conclusion, we now know that amidst chaos lay opportunities for innovation and creativity in terms of new strategies for managing distance education. To this extent, chaos should be treasured and not censured.

Why is it important?

Whereas the decentralisation of examinations for distance education students in regional centres is a positive move, there still lies a challenge in non-updated student record system to inform the production of examination materials for UNZA. This situation has created challenges in the past in management of distance education examinations as numbers of students out-strip the available examination papers in most courses leading to undue pressure on staff and students. Considering that the North-Eastern Region has been in existence for five years after the Presidential decree of 2011, yet at the same time the University of Zambia’s North-Eastern regional examination centre has been in operation for two (2) years, there has never been a formalised evaluation study instituted to understand the effectiveness of the centre. Given the challenge of non-updated Student Records and the lack of documented evidence on examination management in the newly created centre, it is not clear whether chaos does exist. If it does, how that chaos manifest itself and what strategies managers of examinations apply to manage chaotic situations.


Francis Simui (Author)

A must read for people involved in distance education in lowly resourced communities of the global South as it helps to manage possible pitfalls and improve on the quality of education on offer.

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The following have contributed to this page: Francis Simui