Zambia’s government is making changes to their education curriculum. According to the Lusaka Times, the government wishes to ascertain how they can update their curriculum to better meet its desired outcomes.
These changes include gauging the overall success of learners themselves. According to the Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Joel Kamoko:
“We have started with the Curriculum evaluation and review to ascertain what worked, what did not work and what needs to be modified and changed for the next time the curriculum is run.”
The Ministry will develop a resource pack that will guide the transformation of education in Zambia. UNESCO has supported the government in the development of this curriculum, further strengthening the capacity of the schooling system, particularly teachers.
The updated curriculum will seek to address challenges such as climate change and COVID-19 which have greatly affected learners.
These changes come in the face of several challenges facing education in Zambia. Challenges such as access to education (especially in rural areas), decreasing enrolment numbers, and lack of basic resources such as textbooks, and teacher shortages are common. UNESCO says that the adult literacy rate in Zambia is about 63%. So, it is matters like these the Ministry is addressing.
In addition to updating curriculum, Zambia’s government has stressed its commitment to “promoting education as a key sector for national development” (Lusaka Times). They have, for instance, in 2022 introduced the free education policy from early childhood education to grade 12, which provides all children with the opportunity of free education. There has also been a concerted effort, aided by stakeholders, to improve infrastructure by increasing classroom capacity.
According to the Chibombo District Education Board Secretary, Franklins Musakula, () greater results can be accomplished when stakeholders work together with government to create opportunities for development.
As one such stakeholder, the gold-youth organization comes alongside the government to assist in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 4: Quality education. Towards this end, gold-youth has a field team and several sites across Zambia where gold’s Peer Education Model is applied. Facilitator Interns (young adults employed by a Social Franchisee to be the key contact with youth) train Peer Educators (youth who are elected by their Peers and selection panel and participate in the gold Program as positive agents of change) to be role-models, educate others, recognize those in need of help, and uplift their communities through advocacy. In this way it is made clear that “the message giver is the strongest message.”
The gold-youth Peer Education Program extends beyond fostering social behavior change; it also emphasizes educational enhancement and better school-leaving outcomes. To this end, gold-youth Chingola has implemented academic support sessions designed to aid Peer Educators in studying and revising using resources such as OLICO books and the You’re gold Supplement.
OLICO books offer Mathematical solutions, while the You’re gold Supplement bolsters the Peer Educators’ vocabulary. In Chingola, the gold-youth Test and Reference site has established academic support groups and homework clubs, which identify Peer Educators in need of assistance with Mathematics and English subjects.
These Peer Educators are then grouped accordingly and paired with a Lead Peer Educator proficient in the relevant subject to help them tackle problems and after their sessions they sign an attendance register. Facilitator Interns take the initiative to support Peer Educators during academic support sessions when faced with challenging topics, often consulting fellow Facilitators Interns for guidance. At the end of each term, Facilitator Interns then collect the end-of-term results for each Peer Educator, which also helps in tracking their performance. This academic support initiative has led to significant improvements in the results of many Peer Educators.
Those working directly with students in local contexts are often better able to observe and address the challenges faced by youth in the education system. Our team in Zambia has highlighted challenges to be overcome when it comes to matters such as teenage pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse, and lack of adequate infrastructure. It has been pointed out, for instance, that the policy of free education has enabled more children to be enrolled in school, but that infrastructure has not always been able to cope with the influx.
To conclude, there is good work being done in addressing the challenges facing education in Zambia. There are several positive developments and progress is being made. The Zambian government and its partners such as gold-youth will continue to invest in and promote high quality education, to ensure that all children have access to quality education, regardless of their background or location.
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