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BOX 1

SUMMARY OF QUANTITATIVE DATA ON PRIMARY EDUCATION

Quantitative data on primary education point to the following indications about the development of primary education in Zambia since 1990:

Enrolment in primary education which fluctuated from 1991 to 1996 registered some upward increase by 1998;

There has been a development towards a decrease in GER meaning that the system is moving towards accommodating children of rightful school age;

The gap between GER and NER has been closing with the NER showing significant rise from 69% in 1996 to 85% in 1998;

While about half of children of primary school age were not enrolled in school in some rural regions of the country by the middle of the decade, the condition had changed by 1998 with all regions having experienced significant increases in primary school enrolments;

The enrolment levels of girls increased significantly by 1998 in all the regions of the country. Enrolment data has demonstrated a trend towards gender parity meaning that the enrolment gap between boys and girls has closed significantly;

The dropout rates are more pronounced in the rural areas than in the urban areas. On average the dropout rate for girls is slightly more than that of boys. Economic factors account for much of the dropout rates in primary schools;

Repetition rate is generally very low and it is not more than 6% between grades 1 to 6. The repetition rate is higher in grade 7 because of the tendency by those who do not get selected in grade 8 to try a second chance.

 

Educational Facilities

To attain the goal of creating 1.2 million school places, the Ministry of Education and its cooperating partners embarked on a programme of school rehabilitation and construction

which resulted into:

More than 2,300 classrooms and 1,100 teachers’ houses; 2,100 pit latrines and 100-water borne toilets;

Rehabilitation of more than 2,100 classrooms and 1,200 teachers’ houses

Creation of 2,325 new classrooms translated into provision of 93,000 new school places (7.8% of the intended goal ). The average annual increase in school places was thus 10,000 which was below the estimated 120,000 school places annually between 1990 and the year 2000.

Table 6 – 18 and figure 6 – 16 show the rehabilitation and construction work done in two years between 1996 and 1998.

Figure 6-16

The goal of absorbing marginalised groups such as girls, the disabled, street children and orphans, was partially met in community schools established by various agencies in communities.

Development of Community Schools

Community schools emerged as a response to the unmet demand for school places among the poor and other marginalised groups. These schools are inexpensive, close to home, less demanding in entry requirements and are managed by communities. In tuition community schools emphasize inculcation of literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills.

The number of community schools grew from 55 in 1996 to 373 in 1999. Equally, enrolments increased from 6,599 in 1996 to 47,276 in 1999. The number of registered community schools registered with the Zambia Community Schools Secretariat (ZCSS) increased seven times in three years from 1996 to 1999. In ZCSS, an umbrella NGO, was formed in 1997 to enable communities to participate in the running of community schools. Because not all community schools are registered with the ZCSS, their number are much higher. The increase can be attributed to the facilitating role of the government which has encouraged instead of discouraged the growth of these types of school. If the growth in the number of these schools continues they will in fact be another alternative path to accessing basic education on the part of children.

BOX 2

 Characteristics of Community Schools

 Non-profit making institutions that are cheap enough to allow the disadvantaged children to have access to educational opportunity;

Serve children aged between 9 and 16 who are either drop-outs or "never beens";

Uniforms not a school requirement

Use predominantly untrained volunteer teachers from the community;

Managed by community committee;

Have small classes up to a maximum of 35 pupils;

Funding from a variety of sources.

 In 1998 a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Ministry of Education and Zambia Community Schools Secretariat (ZCSS) which recognised the role played by the community schools in the provision of education and obliged the ministry to provide learning materials, educational advisors and pay an agreed number of trained teachers

Table 6-19: Enrolment and Staffing in Community Schools (1996-1999)

 

YEAR

  1996 1997 1998 1999
Numbers of schools

55

123

220

373

Enrollment for boys

3,051

8,002

13,479

23,323

Enrollment for girls

3,548

11,048

15,125

24,044

Total enrollment

6,599

19,050

28,604

47,276

Orphans as percentage of total enrolment

3%

19.5%

17.9%

20%

Number of female teachers

67

-

278

361

Number of male teachers

64

-

290

438

Total number of teachers

131

-

568

799

 

Figure 6-17

Table 6-18 Construction and rehabilitation of school facilities 1996 – 1998

CLASSROOMS

TEACHERS’ HOUSES

TOILETS

New

Rehabilitated

New

Rehabilitated

Pit

Latrines

Water-

Borne

 

 

         

 

2325

 

2155

 

1157

 

1299

 

2,188

 

129

 

 

Figure 6-19

Figure 6-20

6.2..8 Procurement of furniture

Between 1990 and 1998 more than 160,000 desks were procured and distributed to schools. Despite this achievement the shortfall in supply of school desks ranged from 70% for Luapula to 40% for Western and Southern provinces. Because of this shortage, many pupils learn while sitting on the floor, logs, bricks, mats or over crowded few desks.

6.2.9 Procurement Distribution and Use of Educational Materials.

In 1991 the goal was to enable all primary school children have access to appropriate and relevant learning materials in core subjects. Some of the efforts directed at realising this goal were mobilisation of resources, revision of syllabi, establishment of a mini library at each school, liberalisation of the provision of educational materials and streamlining of the process of procurement.

Between 1991 and 1998 a total of 14.5 million textbooks, supplementary readers and teachers’ guides for grades 1 - 7 were procured and distributed. This led to improvements in textbook-pupil ratio of 1:2 in some subjects. The main problems encountered in the procurement and distribution of books were:-

Wear and tear in an environment where the book life span is only 3 years;

not all distributed books reached their targeted schools;

lack of transport;

inaccessible road network;

inadequate funding;

lack of teacher capacity to use the books productively;

delays caused by the procurement procedures; and lack of store rooms

Figure 6-21

Other achievements the procurement and supply of education materials were:

Syllabi in core subjects were revised, produced and distributed and teachers oriented to their use.

68,000 library books were produced and distributed.

Anti-Aids books, SPARK manual of life skills, Community School Calendars and Zambia Education Kit (ZEDUKIT) were produced and distributed.

A globe, a map, educational charts, usable chalk board and mathematical instruments were supplied to almost each school.

In an effort to sensitise the entire society to the importance of girl-child education 2,977 girl- child calendars, 5000 PAGE News letters, 10,000 girl-child education kit and 10,000 copies of Module 7 for teacher-in-service training were produced and distributed.

Many of the schools were still under supplied. This in turn affected learning achievement levels in different grades of basic education. This was confirmed by the SAQMEC study in late 1995.

Demand, Supply and Retention of Teachers

The goal was to produce 4,400 teachers. every year between 1990 and 2000. The annual output of teachers from colleges was 2,226 resulting in a shortfall of 2,174 teachers. As a result there was a dependence on untrained teachers. On the whole, the majority of teachers in primary schools are trained. Untrained teachers contribute only 23% of the total number of teachers. A large number of the untrained teachers are concentrated in rural areas. Since the 80s the admission to teacher training colleges has been the completion of grade 12.

Distribution of Teachers by Geographical Regions

The distribution of teachers has not been balanced. The tendency among female teachers in particular has been to seek postage in urban areas. Close to 45% of the female teachers are found in urban centers like Lusaka and Copperbelt; Provincial and District urban centres. This is attributed to the fact that majority of female teachers are married and have to live with their husbands. The unmarried female teachers are reluctant to accept rural postings because of poor prospects for marriage. Studies on this subject have found that some female teachers try to obtain fake marriage certificates in order to prove their ‘marital status’.

TABLE 6-23 Distribution of Primary School Teachers by Province, Sex and Training Status, 1996

TRAINED

UNTRAINED

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Total

 

Copperbelt

Central

Lusaka

Southern

Luapula

Northern

Eastern

N/Western

Western

2,334

1,818

1,678

2,091

1,612

1,979

2,149

1,077

1,593

4,251

1,399

2,659

1,812

632

969

1,048

470

1,034

6,585

3,217

4,337

3,903

2,244

2,948

3,197

1,547

2,627

598

785

204

731

680

1,100

761

520

818

287

284

133

340

244

574

362

321

369

885

1,069

337

1,071

924

1,674

1,123

841

1,187

Zambia total

Rural

Urban

16,331

12,579

3,752

14,274

6,085

8,189

30,605

18,664

11,941

6,197

5,729

468

2,914

2,560

354

9,111

8,289

822

 

TABLE 6-24 Distribution of Primary School Teachers by Province, Sex and Training Status, 1998

TRAINED

UNTRAINED

Male Female Total Male Female Total

 

Copperbelt

Central

Lusaka

Southern

Luapula

Northern

Eastern

North-western

Western

2,288

1,997

1,973

1,763

1,546

1,978

1,963

994

1,439

4,264

1,682

3,794

1,732

701

1,058

1,141

410

1,099

6,652

3,679

5,767

3,495

2,246

3,036

3,104

1,404

2,538

119

224

47

297

186

503

331

215

362

68

170

16

151

112

235

248

105

178

187

394

63

448

298

738

579

320

540

Zambia total

Rural

Urban

15,941

11,962

3,979

15,880

6,254

9,626

31,821

18,216

13,605

2,284

2,202

83

1,283

1,206

78

3,567

3,406

161

 

 

Figure 6-22

Figure 6-23

The number of trained male teachers in primary schools is almost the same to those of trained female teachers. The disparity in the numbers is among untrained teachers where the number of male untrained teachers was by 1998 almost twice that of the females. Table 6- clearly shows the differences in the distribution of male and female trained teachers. The number of female trained teachers in urban areas like Lusaka and Copperbelt is almost twice those of males.

6.2.13 Pupil - Teacher Ratios

Much has been done to improve pupil- teacher ratios. In 1990 the ratio was 44 but dropped to 39.1 in 1995, and to 37 in 1996. There were variations in pupil-teacher ratios between geographical locations. Urban provinces had higher ratios than rural areas because of large and over-crowded classes in urban areas caused by high demand for classes.

Table 6-25 Pupil-Teacher Ratios by Residence, (1996-1998)

1996 1998
Pupil-Teacher Ratio Pupils per Trained Teacher Pupil-Teacher Ratio Pupils per Trained Teacher
Rural

Urban

38

39

55

41

48

39

57

40

Zambia 37 48 44 49

 

Figure 6-24

 

TABLE 6-26 Pupil - teacher ratios (1996 – 1998)

1996

1998

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Pupils Per Trained Teacher

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Pupils Per Trained Teacher

Copperbelt

Central

Lusaka

Southern

Luapula

Northern

Eastern

N/Western

Western

41

37

42

40

34

31

34

35

32

46

50

46

52

48

43

52

57

47

41

44

43

45

45

55

44

50

38

43

49

44

51

50

68

52

61

46

Zambia

37

48

44

49

 Pupil per trained teacher ratio was higher than the general pupil teacher It was higher in Eastern, North Western and Southern provinces because teachers are not willing to stay in such rural areas.

6.2.14 Attrition levels of Teachers

In 1990 there were 28,480 trained teachers. This number increased to 31,627 in 1996. The target was to increase by 93% but due to lack of resources for teacher training this target was not met. One significant observation about the Zambian teacher training colleges is that while 2,226 teachers are being trained 1,500 teachers are being lost annually from the system through various reasons. This leaves a net of 700 teachers which is far lower than the required teacher supply.

Teacher attrition in Zambia’s public schools is increasingly becoming a major source of concern. Records show that 680 died in 1996, 624 in 1997 and 1,331 died between and October 1998. They died from many causes including HIV/AIDS. Those who are remaining are underpaid, poorly housed, demoralised, poorly deployed, provided with little support in the field and given little instructional time.

Steps being undertaken to reduce attrition rates of teachers include:

increased teacher supply from the teacher training colleges;

sensitisation of teachers on HIV/AIDS;

rural hardship allowances;

increased salaries;

high salary entry notch for rural areas;

decentralisation of payroll;

home ownership scheme for teachers; and

freezing postings to urban areas.

6.2.15 Public financing of Education

Inadequate public financing underlies much of the Ministry's inability to meet its obligations to provide the necessary facilities and ensure universal availability of quality education. The scale of this inadequacy is apparent from the following:

actual government spending per student, at all levels averaged US$50 in 1996;

public spending per primary student in 1996 was $29 for all purposes, including teachers' salaries;

currently, about 11% of the total public budget is spent on education compared to between 20-25% in neighbouring countries;

in recent years, expenditure on primary education has accounted for about 2.5% of the GDP, 8–10% in neighbouring countries, and 5% in Sub-Saharan Africa;

Public current expenditure on primary education has since 1990 been increasing in nominal terms as a share of total education expenditure and national income. In 1990, Primary Education expenditure as a percentage of total expenditure on education and national Income stood at 28.7 and 0.8 percent respectively. This expenditure was almost doubled by 1998. However, the increase does not take into account the fluctuations in prices due to lack of monetary stability. On the other hand, public current expenditure on primary education per pupil as a percentage of National Income per capita has almost remained below ten percent since 1990. The proportion of the GNP going to primary education has remained below 1.5% .

 

Figure 6-25

 

Figure 6-26

 

Figure 6-27

 

Figure 6-28

6.2.16 Learning achievement

The goal for learning achievement was that at least 80% of 14 year olds, beginning school age at 7, should achieve or surpass the competencies defined for grade 7 by the year 2000.

The process of defining the learning competencies has started beginning with grade 4 level. The development of a national testing instrument has been done. Nevertheless, the establishment of benchmarks is in its infancy.

6.2.16.1 The SACMEQ Study at Grade 6 1995

The Southern Africa Consortium for the Measurement of Educational Quality (SACMEQ) study was sponsored by the International Institute of Educational Planning. The study had specially prepared tests that were designed to measure reading ability of Grade 6 pupils. The tests indicated minimum and desirable performance standards. The following were the findings of the study:

only 25.8% of the Grade 6 pupils reached minimum mastery level.

only 2.4% reached the desirable mastery level.

with the exception of schools in the Western and Luapula provinces, rural schools performed lower than urban schools;

boys performed better than girls. 28% of the boys as compared to 23.1% of the girls attained minimum mastery level.

pupils from high socio-economic groups performed better than those from low socio-economic groups.

 Table 6-27: Reading achievement of grade 6 in the SACMEQ Study

Province

Percentage reaching the minimum mastery level

Percentage reaching the desirable mastery level

Central

Copperbelt

Eastern

Luapula

Lusaka

Northern

North-western

Southern

Western

16.9

29.7

25.1

32.8

30.1

26.0

27.3

16.0

33.0

0.9

2.3

2.0

4.3

1.9

1.5

6.8

3.2

2.1

Zambia

Boys

Girls

25.8

28.0

23.1

2.4

2.5

2.2

 

The study was an indicator of the levels of achievement in schools. Factors which might have contributed to low levels of learning achievement included:

short instructional time.

Poverty in the homes;

low teacher morale;

too many untrained teachers;

inadequate supply of educational materials

use of a foreign language, English, in the school instead of their home language

teachers not trained to promote a reading culture.

6.2.16.National Assessment at Grade 5

The National Assessment System (NAS) has been established to measure levels of learning achievement in reading and numeracy. NAS also assessed contextual factors and their effect on learning achievement. It is designed for pupils in Grade 5 and implemented by the Examinations Council of Zambia. The assessment was first conducted in mid- 1999. However, data have not yet been processed.

6.2.5 Competency testing at Grade 4

The National Education For All Conference in 1991 suggested that clearly defined national competency based on achievement should be established in such skill areas as literacy and numeracy. The 1996 National Education Policy went a step further by calling on the appropriate authority to specify the levels of competency pupils should attain at different stages of basic education. Progress has been made in this direction. Literacy and numeracy competencies have been clearly specified for Grade 4. Tests have also been developed and administered to pupils in the field. Data is being processed and by the end of 1999 the results of competency testing will be disseminated.

BOX 3

SUMMARY OF THE STATE OF PRIMARY EDUCATION IN ZAMBIA 1990- 2000.

1. ACCESS:

A considerable part of the decade (up to 1996) witnessed a state of uncertainty about what was happening in the primary education system. Data on GER and NER indicated states of fluctuations.

By 1998 indicators of access (i.e AIR, and NER) were showing directions of increase in all parts of the country meaning that more primary school age children were getting places in school.

There has been an observable trend towards a decrease in the gap between AIR and NIR; and GER and NER by 1998. This is an indication that children of the rightful age were being enrolled in primary schools

2)EQUITY:

The imbalances in educational opportunities between the urban and rural areas appears to be narrowing. The 1998 data indicated that 16.9% of the children in rural areas had no access to educational opportunities while the proportion in the urban areas was 12.8%.

Even regions that had very low school enrolments of children like Eastern province were by 1998 showing indications of growth in the numbers of children enrolled in school.

The gender gap in enrolment is showing indications of narrowing. The enrolment levels of girls in both the urban and rural areas is showing developments towards parity.

Gender gaps appear to be more in the areas of school dropout. The proportions of girls that dropout of school is higher than that of boys. There are more girls who dropout of school in the rural areas than in the urban areas.

Economic factors happen to be playing a major role in school dropout. Indications are that children from low income families are more likely to dropout of school than those from well to do families.

Disadvantaged children are getting an alternative path to basic education through the community schools which have increased seven times in their numbers from 55 in 1996 to 373 in 1998. Enrolments in community schools have increased seven times as well from 6,599 in 1996 to 47,276 in1999. The percentage enrollments of orphans has been increasing as well.

1. EFFICIENCY:

When measured against indicators like repetition rate, the level of wastage in between grade 1 and grade 6 has since 1990 been below 6%. Repetition rates are slightly higher in grade 7 because of the inclination by some children not selected in grade 8 to try a second chance.

1. QUALITY;

There has not been significant measures of educational quality since 1990. The one off measure of quality in education done by SACMEQ study showed that children were scoring poorly on reading. More efforts directed at raising education quality are needed.


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