The first step in setting up a mentoring and monitoring system in Zambia was to identify a team of people who could regularly observe, monitor, and offer support to Catch Up teachers.
When building a mentoring and monitoring team, Zambia’s Ministry of Education tapped into already existing monitoring frameworks. In order to ensure accountability, monitors from outside the school were trained in TaRL practices, and assigned to schools. With large distances between schools and limited transportation options, it was difficult for mentors to move between schools to observe classes on a weekly basis.
Therefore, to ensure that teachers received regular support and monitoring, a multi-layered data collection approach was created:
Senior teachers were based in schools, and responsible for giving ongoing support to teachers and collecting data every second week. They helped to ensure that teachers were regularly monitored and received support as needed.
Mentors from outside the school also provided support:
Zonal In-service Coordinators (ZICs) were responsible for five schools within a zone.
District Resource Centre Coordinators (DRCCs) supported the whole district in TaRL implementation. There were 20 schools per district involved in the pilot. DRCCs conducted observations of a few schools within their district throughout the pilot.
In addition to using the already existing government teams, a support system was provided by VVOB – education for development:
VVOB coordinators visited all schools in the district conducting Catch Up (20 schools) on a monthly basis, supporting teachers and collecting information. ZICs, DRCCs, and VVOB coordinators generally did not inform schools before their visits, to ensure that they were observing regular Catch Up classes, rather than lessons prepared specifically for their visits.
In addition, parent monitors visited schools on a weekly basis to observe classes.
Review and decision-making
Once per month, the senior teachers in each zone (roughly five to ten schools) came together with the relevant ZIC to review the data they had collected and to discuss issues that arose. The district also regularly held review meetings. At the end of the pilot, the Ministry HQ brought together leaders from each district together. They each presented on the data from their respective district and then together, the HQ and district teams made a decision about bringing the approach to scale.