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Part I: Descriptive Section


Zambia is a landlocked country surrounded by eight countries namely: the Democratic Republic of Congo, United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. It is a fairly large but sparsely populated country. It covers a land area of 752,614 square kilometers. The total population is estimated at 10.7 million giving a population density of 11 persons per square kilometer.

Zambia is not only a big country but it is also one of the highly urbanised in sub-saharan Africa. The 1990 population census put the population living in urban areas at 42%. The population density in big urban areas like Lusaka stands at more than 200 persons per square kilometer. Since slightly more than 50% of the population is below fifteen years of age, the greatest pressure exerted on educational provision is that there is high demand for increased provision of education in the urban areas because of big numbers of children whose educational requirements have to be met. On the other hand the sparseness of the population in some rural areas poses the challenge of providing education to small populations of children who are geographically very distant from each other. The urban and rural differences entail adoption of educational provision strategies that take into account varied geographical circumstances.

A major social characteristic of Zambia is that it is multiethnic and by extension multicultural as well. There are seven major languages and seventy-three dialects. The diversity of ethnic groups entails existence of several traditions and cultural practices which have their implications on the education of children. Some of the traditions have been found to have negative effect on school attendance despite the existence of school facilities. Low school attendance ratios in certain rural parts of the country have been attributed to prevailing traditions and cultural practices.

In 1991 Zambia experienced a major political change comparable only to that of political independence in 1964. This was the transition from a one party state to a multi party system of political governance. The political change was accompanied by major changes in economic, social and political policies. Liberalisation and privatisation of the economy has been the guiding national policy framework for the new government since 1991. In the social sectors the new policy framework has involved elimination of state subsidies and free social services and a greater demand for cost sharing. Liberalisation and privatisation has also created an environment in which individuals and other agencies can participate as equal partners in various sectors including education.

Currently, participants in educational provision include the government, communities, individuals, religious organisations and non-governmental organisations NGO(s). Since 1991, there has been a growth in the number of private schools and colleges. The new book policy has liberalised the education materials market in such a way that several private publishing companies are now competing for the supply of books and education materials to schools. The educational system is increasingly becoming diverse giving alternative paths of access to educational opportunities.

The political and economic policy shift in the country has brought new international relationships. Economically, the country has strictly adhered to the Structural Adjustment Program dictates of the World Bank and the IMF. Measures like budget balancing, meeting debt servicing schedules, and adherence to financial discipline through cash budgets have been at the center of macro economic policies. Some of these economic measures have affected the government’s ability to mobilise financial resources for real investments in social sectors like education. In some cases the conditionalities of the Structural Adjustment Program have resulted in deep cuts on the education budgets.

The country’s economy has not been stable over the years. The local currency the Kwacha has depreciated considerably against other currencies. For example, in 1991 the exchange rate of the Kwacha to one United States dollar was 1:90. In 1999, the exchange rate between the two currencies stand at 2,400 Kwacha to 1 United States dollar. The liberalisation and privatisation of the economy has been accompanied by retrenchments of the workforce and employment prospects have not risen. These economic changes have affected education investments at the household levels in particular. Many families have faced the difficulties of meeting the educational needs of their children. One positive development that has accompanied these changes, however, has been the willingness of families and individuals to accept that they have a responsibility to meet the educational needs of their children. Cost sharing has come to be accepted as a way of life in the country.

Major education policy developments have taken place since 1991. Immediately after the change of government, Cabinet approved a new education policy entitled Focus on Learning in 1992. The goal of the new education policy was improving access, equity, efficiency and quality of education through: rehabilitation of school infrastructure, construction of new schools, training of education managers, and procurement and supply of education materials to schools. A major outcome of Focus on Learning policy was the Zambia Education Rehabilitation Project, which started in 1993 and ended in 1998.

Another policy development was the publication of the national education policy entitled Educating Our future in May 1996. Educating Our Future created a path for educational development, which is in line with the country’s new political, economic and social direction. The benchmarks of the new education policy are decentralisation, partnership, equity, efficiency, quality, democratisation and effectiveness.

Educating Our Future sets new frameworks for developing the national educational system. Basic education has been defined to mean the first nine years of school. Every child is expected to have access to nine years basic education by the year 2015. In the interim, 2005 was set as the year for achieving universal primary education. One of the outcomes of Educating Our Future has been the current policy development directed at adopting a sector approach to the development of basic education through the Basic Education Sub Sector Investment Program (BESSIP). The objectives of BESSIP are to increase access, decentralise the educational system, build capacity in the educational system, raise equity, develop better partnership and improve quality and coordination in basic education .


The World Conference on Education for All (1990) was organized in response to the widespread concern over the inadequacy and deterioration of education systems during the 1980s and over the millions of children and adults who remain illiterate and poorly prepared for life in their societies.

It was convened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank. The Conference took place in Thailand, 5-9 March 1990 in the small coastal town of Jomtien. Altogether, 155 governments as well as representatives from 150 organizations agreed to take the necessary steps to universalize primary education and massively reduce illiteracy before the end of the decade, as well as to:

The Conference adopted the World Declaration on Education for All and the Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs. Through these documents the world community broadened the scope of basic education to include early childhood development, primary education, non-formal learning (including literacy) for youth and adults, and learning conveyed through the media and social action. Zambia participated in the World Conference on Education For All and is a signatory to the World Declaration on Education For All

The International Consultative Forum on Education for All, or the EFA Forum, as it is generally known was set up after the Jomtien Conference to guide follow-up action and provide a forum for continuous consultation among governments and their partners. Its goal was to expand and improve the provision of basic education in order to meet the basic learning needs of all children, youth and adults.

The Forum periodically brings together senior policy-makers and specialists from developing countries, international and bilateral development agencies, and non-governmental organizations and foundations. At its first meeting (Paris, December 1992) the Forum focused on the prospects of achieving universal primary education. At its second meeting (New Delhi, September 1993), the Forum examined the prospects of providing quality education for all. The Forum's third meeting (Amman, June 1996) reviewed overall progress towards EFA at the mid-decade, and its final communiqué (the Amman Affirmation) outlined priorities for action during the remainder of the decade.

The Forum's main activity at present is the EFA 2000 Assessment, the most in-depth evaluation of basic education ever undertaken. Some 175 countries are participating in this global exercise, which is a unique opportunity for countries to take stock of the progress made during the 1990s towards the goals of Education for All.

Ten regional technical advisory groups have been set up to co-ordinate regional assessment activities and organize regional EFA meetings. The EFA 2000 Assessment will reach its high point in April 2000 when the international community meets at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal (26-28 April 2000).



As a follow-up to the World Conference on Education For All by the year 2000 the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with other Ministries, co-operating partners and NGOs

co-ordinated a national conference on EFA in 1991. The conference deliberated and adopted the EFA national goals, strategies and plan of action. The EFA goals were enriched by the global vision of the World Declaration on Education for All and Framework for Action. The national conference identified the following themes:

Essential Skills, Learning Achievements and Education for Better Living were embedded in Youth/Adult Literacy and Universal Primary Education.

      2. Early Childhood Care, Education and Development (ECCED)

Main Goal


1.1.2 Primary Education

Main Goal


1.1.3 Adult Literacy

Main Goal


1.1.4 Education for Better Living

In 1990 there was no explicit goal for education for better living but the theme was adopted during the mid-decade review. However, an intermediate goal for Education for better Living was embedded in the intermediate goals for Adult Literacy stated thus:

Mass media, and other forms of modern and traditional communication and social action in literacy activities to be developed to promote the acquisition of knowledge and values and meet the basic learning needs of individuals and families.

1.1.5 Training in Essential Skills

Training in Essential Skills was recognised as an important activity in 1990. Its goal was included in Adult Literacy and stated as follows:

1.1.6 Learning Achievement

In 1990, Learning Achievement was not isolated as a separate theme. It was integrated as a goal in Primary Education and was stated as follows:

Learning competencies were not yet defined. Establishment of learning competencies at each grade level it was assumed, would be one of the main EFA activities in the course of the decade.


2.1 The guiding strategy adopted for implementing the EFA goals was partnership and decentralisation. The aim was to broaden participation in the control, responsibility, and accountability of educational development in the country. The participating agencies were to include among others, communities, local councils, churches, non-governmental organisations, the government, and private sector. Specific strategies/plan of action were to:-


The task of translating the vision of Education For All was initially undertaken by the EFA National Task Force. The Task Force comprised Government Ministries, NGOs , Bilateral and Multilateral Donor agencies, and the University of Zambia. The role of the Task Force was to initiate EFA activities and programmes and to monitor their development. The Task Force held monthly meetings from March 1991 until May 1993 when it became inactive. The Task Force was viewed by the co-operating partners as the focus of authority for all activities related to EFA. At the time, the work of the Task Force was known by the highest authority in the land.

The concern of the new political leaders with developing a new direction for the country in all sectors led to changes in co-ordination of EFA activities. After 1993 EFA decision-making process was carried out by different committees/organs which were governmental, non-governmental, private and community based. The following are examples of these:-

    1. National Steering Committee for the Programme for the Advancement of Girls Education (PAGE) at Ministry of Education Headquarters which has been managing all activities related to PAGE;
    2. The Department of Child Affairs in the Ministry of Sport Youth and Child Development co-ordinated activities related to policy on Early Childhood Care Education and Development;
    3. Zambia Education Rehabilitation Project (ZERP) under the Ministry of Education undertook policy research, construction and rehabilitation of schools; procurement and distribution of educational materials, curriculum review and Education Management Training (EMT);
    4. The Ministry of Education has established the Basic Education Sub-Sector Investment Programme (BESSIP) in which it works with co-operating partners;
    5. The National Steering Committee on Adult Literacy (later renamed Zambia Alliance for Literacy) under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services co-ordinated the implementation of the national literacy campaign. From 1995 all literacy activities have been co-ordinated by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services;
    6. Co-ordination of information, education and communication was done by a sub-committee of Inter-Agency Technical Committee on Population (ITCP) in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ;
    7. Educational Broadcasting was carried out by Educational Broadcasting Services (EBS) in the Ministry of Education;
    8. Zambia Community Schools Secretariat (ZCSS) co-ordinated policy and activities of NGOs involved in running community schools;
    9. Educational activities of the civil society were loosely co-ordinated by NGOCC.
    10. Zambia Pre-School Association closely co-ordinated Early Childhood Care and Development activities;
    11. The Private Schools and Colleges Association (PRISCA) co-ordinated the activities of the private sector.


With the liberalisation policy of the Government, EFA activities were managed by diverse groups and organisations. Key among them were Zambia Community School Secretariat (Z- CSS) Private Schools and Colleges Association (PRISCA), Adult Education Association of Zambia (AEAZ), Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia (FAWEZA), Zambia Pre-school Association (ZPA and Government itself. Central to the implementation of EFA have been several multilateral and bilateral co-operating partners.


Implementation and achievement of EFA programmes depended upon financial assistance from bilateral and multilateral donor agencies as well as funds mobilized from local communities, private and individual enterprises. Although activities related to EFA were scattered in various programmes after 1993, they nevertheless embraced EFA goals established in 1991. Some of the EFA goals, which became the basis for financial mobilisation between the government and its cooperating partners were:

education opportunities for girls;

learning opportunities for disadvantaged children;

creation of additional school places;

education materials procurement and supply;

training of teachers;

decentralisation of the educational system;

inclusion of life skills in school curriculum;

capacity building in education planning and management;

establishment of learning competencies;

learning opportunities for adults and out of school youth.

research on education opportunities;

monitoring and evaluation of EFA activities.

These goals did translate into EFA activities which attracted funding from various cooperating partners. A significant investment development since 1991 has been a shift in investment priorities to basic education among co-operating partners.

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