Zambia was ranked last in the 2011 Southern and East Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ), and falls well below the SACMEQ average in both numeracy and literacy. A 2014 national assessment found that 65% of Zambian Grade 2 learners were unable to read a single word in their local language.
Faced with these low levels of learning, the Ministry built an intervention based on an idea proven to be effective by several randomised evaluations. Instead of copying an approach from abroad, the Ministry worked to understand the reasons why an approach worked elsewhere, then mapped these reasons to its own context and made decisions about how to scale based on its unique opportunities and constraints. The partners and the Ministry built in systems of monitoring, data analysis and continual review meetings to ensure the programme improved over time.
1. Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ).“What are the levels and trends in grade repetition?” SACMEQ Policy Issue Series available from www.sacmeq.org, 2010.
2. USAID, UKAID, and the Zambian Government, “Proposing Benchmarks and Targets for Early Grade Reading and Mathematics in Zambia.”