Education Fact Sheet

Minister of Education & Vocational Training: Hon. Dr Shukuru Kawambwa

Education System: 2-7-4-2-3+
The first 2 years comprise pre-primary education followed by 7 years of primary education, 4 years of ordinary level secondary education, and 2 years advanced level secondary education. University education ordinarily covers a minimum of 3 years.

Pre-primary education
The provision and management of pre-primary education rests with the government, individuals or private institutions. Pre-primary education is not compulsory.  Pre-school teachers are required to undergo formal training before they can teach in pre-schools. There are far more pre-primary institutions in urban areas than there are in rural areas.  Enrolment in these schools is expected to increase steadily as more preschool classes open on government primary school premises.

Primary education        
Primary school covers Standards 1 to 7 and the legal age of entry to primary school is 7 years.

Usually Standard 1 and 2 have classroom teachers while the others have subject-matter teachers.  Thus, from Standard 3 onwards, pupils are allocated a classroom and the teachers move from classroom to classroom for the different lessons.

There are 194 school days per year.  Each day a pupil should receive between three and four hours of school learning per day (that is, 8 lesson periods of 40 minutes each for Standards 3 to 7 and 30 minutes each for Standards 1 and 2).  It is Ministry requirement that teachers give homework, exercises as well as tests, and that they correct them regularly.  However, the conditions in some pupils’ homes are not conducive for doing homework and so it remains unclear how much homework is actually done.  At the end of Standard 7 pupils sit for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).  The examination acts as a selection examination for entry into secondary school.  In addition they are awarded a certificate for having reached Standard 7.

Each school should be fully inspected by an inspector at least once every 2 years.  The inspectorate has been reformed to perform inspectoral as well as advisory functions.  There are accurate records of the actual number of visits by inspectors to schools in each district.

Secondary education
Secondary education is split into ordinary and advanced level secondary education.  There are four and two years of education respectively for each level.

Tertiary education
University education is provided in 4 state universities and 8 private universities. State universities enrolled 16,396 students in 2002, of which 24 per cent were females. Students’ enrolment in private universities was 1,779. The academic staff/student ratio in 2002 was1:12 in state universities and 1:05 in private universities. Teacher/student ratio in private universities is low compared to the standard of Sub-Saharan Africa of 1:12.

Teacher education
There were 41 teachers colleges with a total enrolment of 12,296 teacher trainees in year 2002. The colleges provide teacher education at diploma and Grade A levels. Diploma trainees are prepared to teach in secondary schools while Grade A trainees are earmarked to teach primary and pre-primary schools. The colleges also provide in-service training to teachers who wish to upgrade themselves from lower grades (Grade C or B) through residential training and distance learning.