Zambia recorded its first confirmed COVID-19 case in mid-March, and as of mid-August nearly 10,000 additional cases have been reported. In an effort to contain the virus, the government of Zambia has taken preventive measures, including closing schools. This in turn has disrupted learning for over 4.2 million students. To mitigate the impact of this situation and ensure students can continue to learn, the Ministry of General Education (MoGE) has been working with partners to implement a COVID-19 emergency response and recovery plan.
Zambia received a US$10 million COVID-19 emergency grant from GPE to support interventions that are fully aligned with this plan. GPE acted swiftly by processing and approving the government’s application within a few days of receiving it, as supporting education systems from the onset of the pandemic is the best way to protect the most vulnerable students.
The GPE-funded program promotes continuous learning for students during the stay-at-home orders, along with support for a sustainable and safe learning environment across the country when schools re-open. Additionally, the program aims to fortify Zambia’s education system to help the country respond effectively to future crises.
Reaching the most vulnerable students
To ensure students can continue learning during the school closures, the program aims to strengthen the MoGE’s existing distance and alternative learning system by supporting the production, dissemination and delivery of education through radio programs.
The program will primarily focus on radio-based learning as an initial step to respond quickly, inclusively and with maximum reach. A total of 4.4 million students from early childhood education to lower secondary school will be reached through this program. The content of the radio program will be developed for the full school year so that students will be able to continue learning should school closures be extended.
The GPE program recognizes that not all students have the same access to remote learning platforms. Therefore, vulnerable students, including girls and children from low-income households, will receive solar radios and SD cards with pre-recorded lessons, to ensure access to distance learning content even in areas with poor or no radio frequency coverage. Children with special education needs will be provided with adapted tablets to access remote learning alongside their peers.
Supporting teachers to deliver quality education
Teachers are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in often unanticipated ways. Keeping students engaged through distance learning, as well as monitoring and assessing progress without prior experience can prove challenging.
To overcome this, teachers will be trained on providing support and tools, as well as on engagement with students through distance learning. Additional training on how to use simple technologies - including WhatsApp, SMS, and radio broadcast phone ins - to monitor students’ performance will allow for teachers to connect with children who may be at a higher risk of dropping out of school.
This is a brilliant idea. Trying to help our children get a quality education through distance learning program is very welcome. As we plan for the reopening, it is my sincere hope that every welmeaning Zambian will support this move. That is by following the layed down procedure on how to prevent the spread of covid-19. Thank you very much GPE.
I am happy to see that from the start the program took into consideration the need of children with disabilities. It's also encouraging that issues affecting girls have already been thought of and incorporated into the response. It's critical that we ensure all children continue learning and return to school when schools reopen. To do this, the planning starts now and needs to be as holistic as possible.Good job Zambia.I love the fact that you thought of building teachers' capacity to support the distance learning and I look forward to lessons learned in preparing the country for future emergencies. This applies to most African countries.
This is a bright move however consider also how this will keep the agenda of practical works found in the arts subject under vocational pathway
I am more than thrilled by this GPE Education for All blog. It has the information I needed most.
Keep me in.
Thank you so much for key information on education vs covid-19 impact in Zambia.
I just do not know how our teachers will account for learners' loss!
I was interested in this article regarding education in Zambia. This gives the impression that the Zambian Government does provide education for all children and is like everywhere currently trying to cope with Covid. My church here in the UK is currently along with others in the US connected with some of our members, supporting a school Hope in Christ orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia, with monetary funds to see children through their education. I would like to know if this school is receiving any support from the Zambian Government and if not, why not? Thank you in anticipation of any reply.
Thanks Hazel. GPE supports the Zambian government's efforts in the education system, pre- and during the COVID-19 pandemic. However the level of detail in your question is not something we can answer. I would suggest you to contact the ministry of Education in Zambia to get an answer. You can find the website of the ministry on our Zambia page. Chantal/GPE Secretariat
Thank you for acting so swiftly even when the true extent of the pandemic wasn't so clear. Coming from a local/rural area of Zambia myself, I know how valuable any intervention to mitigate disruptions to children education is.
I'm a Masters student in Educational Planning, Economics and International development at UCL institute of Education here in London. I'm doing an assignment on evaluating an educational intervention as part of module, I wondered if I can have access to the original intervention documents that contains, Objectives, Budget breakdown, Theory of Change, logframe, etc for this intervention.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this.
In reply to Thank you for acting so… by Moses Phiri
Hi Moses. Thank you for your comment. You can access the COVID-19 grant related documents on the Zambia page here: https://www.globalpartnership.org/where-we-work/zambia, either by checking the COVID-19 section links, or by clicking on "Key documents" nearer the top of the page. Best. Chantal (GPE Secretariat)
Please help out to find the solutions to the waves concerning the learning gaps since covid pandemic
That was brilliant work GPE and the Government of Zambia. Children kept abreast with learning and able to avoid activities not beneficial to them
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