Tracing the Experiences of an Inaugural Postgraduate Distance Education Alumni cohort of the University of Zambia.

  • Peter Chomba Manchishi The University of Zambia
  • Francis Simui The University of Zambia
  • Daniel Ndhlovu The University of Zambia
  • Chiwama Lukali-Thompson The University of Zambia
Keywords: Tracer, Distance Education, University of Zambia, Zimbabwe Open University


In this study, we trace the experiences of an inaugural Postgraduate Distance Education Alumni cohort of the University of Zambia. The study is based on the University of Zambia and Zimbabwe Open University (UNZA-ZOU) Collaboration project whose first cohort of Postgraduate distance students were enrolled in 2014 and later graduated in 2016. Considering that the distance education at Postgraduate level was still in its infancy, there was need to learn from the first cohort to inform policy and practice. A qualitative approach using an adapted Online Google Form was applied targeting all the graduates in the first cohort out of which 24 participants volunteered to voice their lived experiences. The findings revealed that a significant number of those who participated in the study were promoted to senior positions after training while others retained their positions. Their views on the programmes were generally positive. However, there were a few concerns from some participants in the area of research supervision, quality of instructional materials among others. The study recommends the following: (i) UNZA-ZOU should seriously consider raising the profile of study materials by giving international examples and not just Zimbabwe based examples. Further, there is need to conduct a mini study which will focus on the employers regarding their views on the programmes.