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International Journal on New Trends in Education and Their Implications
January, February, March 2012 Volume: 3 Issue: 1 Article: 13 ISSN 1309-6249

THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF INTERNSHIP PROGRAMMES
IN AN ODL INSTITUTION: A CASE FOR THE ZIMBABWE OPEN UNIVERSITY
Richard BUKALIYA
Zimbabwe Open University,
Mashonaland East Region,
Marondera, ZIMBABWE

ABSTRACT
Several studies done elsewhere have indicated and concluded that a gap really exists between the quality of graduates produced and what the market demands (Mpairwe, 2010). For this and other reasons, training institutions and employers have accepted the need to seek mitigatory steps to bridge the gap. Among other steps, institutions of learning have introduced internship
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A number of supervisors are too busy to provide effective supervision. Current duration of attachment is not sufficient for all the disciplines. Moreover, some employees regard interns as a threat to their position and in some cases some supervisors possess inferior qualifications than the student interns.
Key words: Challenges, Internship programmes, Open and Distance learning.

INTRODUCTION
In order to accord the ODL student the opportunity to attain hands on experience, the Zimbabwe Open
University introduced internship programmes in a number of both undergraduate and post graduate studies.
This has been done to provide students with a smooth transition from the academic world to the working environment. According to Tackett et al (2001), internships have taken on an increasingly important role in education over the past decade since they present students with many advantages, ranging from gaining experience and obtaining career-related direction to networking with other students from various institutions as they at the organisation providing the internship (Lubbers, 2008). The learning or parent institutions offering internship programmes have also benefitted through increased cooperation and rapport with the industry (English and
Koeppen, 1993). Employers have not been left out of the benefits as internships can provide them with inexpensive help, new ideas and potential future employees (Rothman, 2007;

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