A student learns to read in a primary school in Zambia. Credit: GPE/Dan Petrescu

Partner since:

Total grant support: US$132,289,193

Grant eligibility:

  • Multiplier
  • System capacity
  • System transformation

Education sector plan

Objective: Increase access, efficiency, and equity to quality early learning, primary, secondary, TVET and university education; increase the number of qualified teachers; increase access to science, technology, and innovation; increase adult literacy levels; expand educational infrastructure; review the curriculum.

Other key documents

Coordinating agency: UNICEF, UNICEF Zambia

GPE Team lead: Plamen Danchev

Transforming education in Zambia

The government of Zambia is committed to allocating more resources to the education sector in order to expand access to primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Education in Zambia is seen as a major factor in fighting poverty and hunger.

The goal of the education sector is to increase equitable access to quality education and skills training to enhance human capacity for sustainable national development.

The National Implementation Framework III’s (NIF III) primary goal is to enhance human capacity by improving quality education and skills training, with particular attention to raising learning achievement levels and mitigating inequities and inefficiencies.

Despite increases in student enrollment and completion rates at the basic school level, quality remains low. This reflects challenges in teaching quality and supply, teaching and learning materials, and school governance.

The ministry of education has set nine objectives in the NIF III period:

  1. Increase access, efficiency, and equity to quality early childhood education (ECE) and primary education:
    • Secure better ECE services through new guidelines and standards to ensure that all children aged 3-6 years have equitable access to ECE.
    • Introduce free and compulsory education for all learners Grades 1-7.
    • Develop comprehensive and integrated curriculum for primary grades.
  2. Increase access, efficiency, and equity to quality secondary school education:
    • Reintroduce free and compulsory education for all learners for Grades 8-12.
    • Strengthen gender equity and parity within the secondary school education system.
    • Reorient curriculum to emphasize life skills, labor market, and self-employment needs.
  3. Increase the number of qualified and competent teachers in schools:
    • Provide quality and development-oriented teacher education programs ensuring that graduates are properly equipped with subject-knowledge and pedagogical skills.
    • Expand teacher education capacity through the public sector and provide incentives for private sector participation.
    • Reduce teacher absenteeism to increase student-teacher contact time.
  4. Increase access to science, technology, and innovation:
    • Prioritize teaching science and technological subjects at all education levels.
    • Promote research, innovation, and collaboration between industry and research institutions.
  5. Increase access, participation, and equity in the provision of quality university education:
    • Increase equitable access to university education and improve the relevance of programs offered at institutions.
    • Increase university involvement in research and development.
  6. Increase efficiency and equitable access to technical education, vocational, and entrepreneurship trainings (TEVET):
    • Improve and expand facilities for teaching science and technical subjects including creating technical schools, colleges, and universities.
    • Promote collaboration between industry and TEVET institutions.
  7. Increase adult literacy levels:
    • Expand educational facilities and vocational training
    • Raise awareness of adult literacy programs to increase access to youth and adult literacy education services.
  8. Expand and improve infrastructure through the construction of new facilities and rehabilitation of existing ones:
    • Promote community participation at primary, secondary, and tertiary level institutions in the development of infrastructure.
    • Provide safe learning environment for all learners through reintroducing boarding facilities.
  9. Review the curriculum at all levels to make it relevant and responsive to national aspirations and education needs.

In order to implement NIF III, the government has set a number of strategic priorities. These include nurturing strong partnerships with educational service providers, systemic restructuring and management capacity enhancement, and providing formal and alternative modes of education delivery.

Result story

Zambia: Making the return to learning safe and inclusive

Read how GPE, with its partner UNICEF, is helping Zambia weather the educational crisis created by the pandemic and build resilience among children, parents and teachers to face future challenges with confidence.


(data as of July 16, 2024)

  • Type: Program implementation and Multiplier

    Years: 2021 - 2025

    Allocation: US$39,836,000

    Utilization: US$11,743,702

    Grant agent: WB

  • Type: Sector plan development

    Years: 2020 - 2024

    Allocation: US$700,000

    Utilization: US$609,789

    Grant agent: WB

Civil society engagement

As part of its investment in civil society advocacy and social accountability efforts, GPE’s Education Out Loud fund is supporting:

  • The Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) for the 2020-2023 period. This builds on previous support from the Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF).
  • The Tax Education Alliance (TaxEd) led by ActionAid International for the 2021-2023 period.
  • Girls Education Advocacy in the Region (GEAR) led by Students And Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) for the 2021-2024 period.
  • The Transnational Networks Advocacy Capacity strengthened for improved ECDE legislation, policies and measures in Southern Africa (TRANAC) led by Zimbabwe Network of Early Childhood Development (ZINECDA) for the 2021-2023 period.

Learn more

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