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In Zambia, education is regarded as a basic human right and considered vital to development. Not only does education empower people, but it gives them the knowledge and skills to broaden their economic and social opportunities. The Zambian government recognizes the role of education in poverty reduction and is making serious efforts to improve and reform the education sector. Zambia is on its way to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education.

Despite impressive gains in access to education, Zambia is plagued by poor education quality. Improving student performance is a core challenge.

We continue to emphasize policy reform and overall strengthening of the educational system through direct support to the Zambian Ministry of Education, increasing student performance in early grade reading and math, and addressing the needs of rural community schools.

While programs target school and student performance as the measures of success, academic improvements in the classroom require a systemic, reform-driven review of management practices. We help ensure that school-level interventions stem from strong higher-level policy, management and information systems. We are working with the Ministry of Education to improve the quality of education by improving data management to support decision making, establishing an electronic human resource record keeping system, supporting policy research, encouraging education reforms, focusing on improved leadership at the school level, and supporting ways to target and analyze poor student performance in the classroom.

USAID also champions programs with cross-cutting effects on health. A water, sanitation, and hygiene program increases students’ access to clean water and latrines, promotes gender equity, and improves student performance. We have also supported the Ministry of Education’s HIV/AIDS workplace program, which provides HIV prevention, counseling, and testing services to Ministry staff. We have helped establish HIV/AIDS teacher support groups to provide counseling, peer-support, and medical care for HIV-positive teachers, resulting in fewer teacher deaths.

Last updated: October 20, 2016

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