Monday, 10 February 2014

School Reports - New Zambian Education Curriculum Framework

We are now well into the new school term and we are coming to terms with the new Zambian Education Curriculum Framework, the most significant educational reform for over a decade. It covers all levels of education from pre-school education to tertiary education; including child, adult and life-long learning. The main aim is to equip Zambians with skills, knowledge and values to contribute meaningfully to the development of society and the economy. Zambian education is about the holistic development of individuals to promote the social and economic good of the nation. The new framework was arrived at through a long process of consultation and participation by stake-holders. The previous system, not without some justification, was criticised as too theoretically based with little practical emphasis and was designed to produce an elite corps of graduates that did little for future entrepreneurs, the establishment of small businesses or to stimulate self-employment and job creation.

Other major changes are the importance of play in early-learning and the use of the vernacular languages for instruction in the early years; English now being used only after Primary Grade 4.

Junior Secondary Schools (Grades 8 & 9) now offer both an Academic and a Technical Career Pathway. The former technical subjects have been integrated to become Design and Technology; Book Keeping, Commerce and Office Practice now become Business Studies and Civics, History and Geography become Social Studies. In the academic stream Business Studies, English, IT, Science, Social Studies, Maths, RE and Zambian Languages are compulsory. Optional subjects include French, Chinese and Portuguese.

The Vocational and Technical options are Agriculture, Technology, Performing and Creative Arts, PE and Sport, Home Economics and Hospitality. Class contact time for both pathways will now be 32 hours 40 minutes.

Extra-curricular activities still include Clubs, Sports, Preventative Maintenance and Production Units.

At Senior Secondary (Grade 10-12) again both academic and technical streams are involved but only two options are permitted over the Compulsory Subjects. The options for the Academic Pathway are Social Sciences Natural Sciences and Business Studies

The Technical pathway offers the same as at Junior Secondary Level.

2013 Grade 7, 9 & 12 Examination Results
The Zambian Education System still uses National Examinations as a filter to prevent the next level being over subscribed. It has very little to do with overall ability that decides whether you progress to the next stage but the number of places available and the ability of the family to pay the school fees and other associated costs. In Primary Schools there are no ‘fees’ but a PTA levy is imposed.

Below are the results from 2013 Grade 7 Examinations; the figures were published in the Daily Mail. They are compared with the 2012 results:

GRADE 7 2012
GRADE 7 2013
304,429            Candidates
312,443            Candidates
284,603             Selected for G8
279,186             Selected for G8
19,826               Unselected
33,257               Unselected
93.49%             Pass Rate
89.36%              Progression Rate

The most obvious question from this table is what happens to the 33,257 pupils not selected for Grade 8? For most of these children, apart from a few ‘repeaters’ their schooling has now finished at G7 and they leave with no formal qualifications. This is why we are desperate to build another 1x3 classroom block to accommodate more Junior Secondary pupils at UCZ Mwandi Secondary School

The Results for the 2013 Grade 9 come from the Times of Zambia.

Candidates sitting at G9 in 2013
Candidates passing to G10
Candidates failing
Boys passing
Girls passing
Progression Rate

The Western Province came third with a 43.73% progression rate. North Western came first with 63% and Southern last at 30.86% . Western too had an above average number of pupils with a full certificate. The national average was 54.84%. The other noteworthy but unsurprising feature was that the private sector performed best followed by the grant-aided schools (mainly Church and Mission Schools), then Community Schools and finally the Government schools performing below the mean. However, an encouraging feature was that the progression rate for girls at 37.51% was slightly higher than the boys at 36.72%

A review of the Grade 12 results appears in the Daily Mail of 6 February and again there has been criticism of poor performance and the functional illiteracy of many school leavers.

Candidates entered at G12 2013
Full Certificates
General Certificate of Education

63,104 pupils out of 104,809 sitting the 2013 Grade 12 examination obtained full school certificates a 2% increase on last year. 39,926 candidates obtained General Certificate of Education (GCE) a 1% increase on the previous year. The best performing schools were the grant-aided followed by the private sector and then the state schools.

Muchinga Province had the best pass rate at 69% with Western coming in second-last at 53%.


  1. The research has been very helpful, thank you so much

    1. Thanks Annie I am glad the stats and analysis were of help to you

  2. We thank you for the work you are doing may the lord our God bless you and may you live long