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Title:The school cluster system as an innovation: perceptions of Zimbabwean teachers and school heads
Author:Chikoko, VitallisISNI
Periodical:Africa Education Review
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:educational reform
educational management
primary education
capacity building
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/18146620701412142
Abstract:School clusters, that is, the grouping of schools within the same geographical location, for economic, pedagogic, administrative and political purposes (M. Bray, 1987), have arisen as one possible solution to developing countries' battles to achieve both quantitative and qualitative advances in their education systems within the framework of financial austerity. However, there remain questions regarding how those tasked to implement this innovation perceive it. The present paper reports on a study of perceptions of school heads and teachers in a cluster of five primary schools in Zimbabwe regarding the role of the cluster as an instrument for their capacity building, as envisaged in the Better Schools Programme in Zimbabwe (BSPZ), launched in 1993. The study focused on three of the BSPZ objectives, namely to develop school heads' competences in school management, to establish an organizational structure to sustain continuous staff development, and to extend the role of School Development Committees from that of just providing physical infrastructure to full partners in the school system. Through a multi-site case study using a questionnaire and interviews with teachers and school heads, the findings suggest that both macro and micro problems prevented the cluster from achieving its capacity building goals. Key threats included the nature of the cluster model adopted, the centralization tendency of the education system, the dual ownership of schools (Ministry of Education and Ministry of Local Government), resistance to change and the underutilization of resources. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]