Challenges of virtual and open distance science teacher education in Zimbabwe

  • Vongai Mpofu
  • Tendai Samukange
  • Lovemore M Kusure
  • Tinoidzwa M Zinyandu
  • Clever Denhere
  • Shakespear Ndlovu
  • Renias Chiveya
  • Monica Matavire
  • Leckson Mukavhi
  • Isaac Gwizangwe
  • Elliot Magombe
  • Nyakotyo Huggins
  • Munyaradzi Magomelo
  • Fungai Sithole
  • Chingombe Wiseman
Keywords: Distance education, open learning, higher education


This paper reports on a study of the implementation of science teacher education through virtual and open distance learning in the Mashonaland Central Province, Zimbabwe. The study provides insight into challenges faced by students and lecturers on inception of the program at four centres. Data was collected from completed evaluation survey forms of forty-two lecturers who were directly involved at the launch of the program and in-depth interviews. Qualitative data analysis revealed that the programme faces potential threat from centre-, institution-, lecturer-, and student-related factors. These include limited resources, large classes, inadequate expertise in open and distance education, inappropriate science teacher education qualifications, implementer conflict of interest in program participation, students’ low self-esteem, lack of awareness of quality parameters of delivery systems among staff, and lack of standard criteria to measure the quality of services. The paper recommends that issues raised be addressed in order to produce quality teachers.

Author Biographies

Vongai Mpofu
Department of Education Lecturer(Chemistry Educator)
Tendai Samukange
Department of Geography Lecturer
Lovemore M Kusure
Department of Education Lecturer (Curriculum studies)
Tinoidzwa M Zinyandu
Department of Geography lecturer
Clever Denhere
Department of Biology Lecturer
Shakespear Ndlovu
Department of Physics Lecturer
Renias Chiveya
Department of Agriculture Lecturer
Monica Matavire
Department of social sciences Lecturer
Leckson Mukavhi
Department of Mathematics Lecturer
Isaac Gwizangwe
Department of Chemistry Lecturer
Elliot Magombe
Department of Physics Lecturer
Munyaradzi Magomelo
Department of Computer Science Lecturer
Fungai Sithole
How to Cite
Mpofu, V., Samukange, T., Kusure, L. M., Zinyandu, T. M., Denhere, C., Ndlovu, S., Chiveya, R., Matavire, M., Mukavhi, L., Gwizangwe, I., Magombe, E., Huggins, N., Magomelo, M., Sithole, F., & Wiseman, C. (2012). Challenges of virtual and open distance science teacher education in Zimbabwe. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(1), 207-219.
Research Articles