Less than 20 per cent of primary school children in Zambia enjoyed preschooling. The lucky few that do spend their first years of life inside a classroom, come from relatively wealthy and urban backgrounds. The Zambian Ministry of General Education (MoGE) has recognised the importance of early childhood education (ECE) and set out to ensure pre-primary education in all public schools. However, much of the focus on early education is being directed to government schools, leaving vulnerable children in and around community schools at risk of missing out.
Community schools in the Kitwe and Ndola districts in Copperbelt Province cater for very young children from underprivileged communities. Most of these community schools were set up to respond to the need of a growing number of parents looking for day care for their children while they work. However, the involvement of parents and the surrounding community is poor, and most schools consistently struggle to meet the basic needs of children. The majority of their teachers have negligible or no training to handle very young children, and many of these children learn in unsafe environments.
Increased access to quality early education for underprivileged children aged 3 to 8 in peri-urban and rural communities in Kitwe District and Ndola District.
- Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS)
- Teacher Resource Centres (20)
- Ministry of General Education (MoGE)
- ECE Directorate
The QEECS project centres on creating safe, healthy, and rich learning environments for young children in community schools through infrastructural development, and the provision of quality teaching and educational resource materials.
The project is built around three pillars:
- Fostering community involvement in education.
- Enhancing awareness among local authorities on the importance of early education for learning outcomes, and engaging them to increase support for educational projects for young children in their catchment areas.
- Building the capacity of the Teacher Resource Centres and the decentralised Ministry of General Education (MoGE) structures to support quality in early education, for early childhood, and the early years of primary (grades 1 and 2).
By the end of the QEECS project:
Community schools: offer safe, healthy, gender sensitive, and child-friendly environments for early education.
Local authorities (Councils and their structures):
- support the further development of early education by mobilising community support (e.g. for infrastructure);
- promote timely birth registration of children;
- promote the registration of early childhood education centres;
- promote increased and timely enrolments in early education.
District and Zone Teacher Resource Centres: support early education teachers and school leaders of community schools in their professional development.
To reach its goals, VVOB Zambia develops the capacity of its education partners. VVOB relies on capacity development trajectories that give partners maximal responsibility in the execution and management of their own change processes. This is done through technical assistance provided by the VVOB Zambia team, which includes both local and international educational and change management experts.