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



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., … 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