Sunday, January 23, 2011

The quality of education in Zambia

The Post, Zambia's biggest selling daily newspaper, carries a story today reporting that the Catholic Church has expressed concern on the quality of education provided in schools. This comes to know surprise to those of us associated with the Thembinkosi Foundation and the Zambezi International Green School.

The newspaper reports that the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) spokesperson Father Paul Samasumo has said that many basic and community schools had been established to enhance universal access to basic education. However, he said this had not matched the required investment in human resource (teachers) and infrastructure thus putting a serious strain on the products of these schools. Fr Samasumo also said most basic and community schools did not have the necessary infrastructure such as science laboratories and pupils in these schools leave school without seeing the inside of one. He said even though there were efforts to improve the quality of education, a lot more needed to be done. Fr Samasumo said there was need to motivate teachers and reduce the teacher pupil ratio which sometimes reached 60 pupils against one teacher.
“Most of us, even politicians they were inspired to be what they are today because of a teacher, but what happens if a class has 60 pupils and the teacher does not even know all of them. There is need to employ more teachers and provide incentives to retain the ones already working. There are many teachers who are walking the streets because they are unemployed,” he said.

This story clearly indicates an underlining problem with well meaning but hugely misguided Millennium Development Goal to establish Universal Primary Education by 2015. Unfortunately this has led to a focus on getting 'bums on seats' rather than a drive to improve the quality of education in Zambia and across the developing world.

He said another area that needed to be looked into was the curriculum in Zambia.
Fr Samasumo said pupils should be able to have skills to survive on when they complete school.
He said pupils should be prepared for the future while in secondary school because not every pupil had the capacity to go to university. Fr Samasumo said pupils should be prepared to work in factories and industries upon completion of school.

2 comments:

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