The World Bank has approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $60 million to improve Zambia’s general education system, with a focus on teaching and learning quality in mathematics and science.
The Zambia Education Enhancement Project (ZEEP) will provide teacher training, textbooks, and learning materials in targeted primary and secondary schools, while also increasing equitable access to secondary education, especially in rural areas.
“We are delighted to support Zambia’s efforts to reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth by ensuring children are in school and learning. All Zambian children deserve a quality education that equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to lead healthy, productive and fulfilling lives,” said Ina-Marlene Ruthenberg, World Bank Country Manager for Zambia.
An estimated 1.2 million primary and secondary school students are expected to benefit from the project, which will include support to adolescent girls in rural areas to access and complete their secondary education. An additional 4,700 teachers and administrators will benefit from training and facility expansion. The program also includes a capacity building component to strengthen the Ministry of General Education’s planning, management, and monitoring and evaluation capability.
In Zambia, education enrollment over the past decade has increased across all levels of education. In 2015, 20 percent of government expenditures went to the country’s education sector. Despite progress, however, learning outcomes remain low, there is a shortage of textbooks, and nearly a quarter of children from the lowest income families are out of school. There is also an acute lack of secondary schools: Currently, the country’s secondary schools can accommodate just 30 percent of the students in grades 1-5.
“ZEEP will tackle head on some of the main challenges faced by the country’s education sector. The project will strengthen teacher training by establishing feedback loops to identify areas where students show difficulties, while ensuring that teachers have the necessary content knowledge and pedagogical skills to address those gaps,” said Xiaonan Cao, World Bank Senior Education Specialist and project lead.