Focus on Policy: Zambia
The Ministry of Education upholds the principle that every individual has an equal right to educational opportunity. This means that every individual child, regardless of personal circumstances or capacity, has a right of access to, and participation in, the education system.”
‘Educating Our Future’ (1996)
Since Independence in 1964 three major education policy documents have been developed:
- ‘Educational Reform’ (1977) – which highlighted education as an instrument for personal and national development;
- ‘Focus on Learning’ (1992) – which emphasised the need for the mobilisation of resources for the development of schools;
- ‘Educating Our Future’ (1996) – which stresses the importance of education for all children in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions.
In developing the most recent policy a variety of methods were used to ensure the participation of key stakeholders: research, dissemination workshops and professional meetings. This policy differs from previous policies because:
a) The principles guiding the education system are harmonised with the principles of liberalisation, partnership, cost-sharing and private enterprise.
b) Educational, social, and political principles are fused in a vision of child-centred education – an education that meets the needs of the learners, their families, communities and society.
The policy contains the following strategies:
- Inter-ministerial collaboration and decentralised services for the identification, assessment and placement of children with disabilities;
- All Educational Boards are charged with the responsibility for ensuring that the needs of children with disabilities are met within their jurisdiction, and this will be evaluated.
- The needs of children with disabilities will be met by:
- Training an adequate number of teachers in special education,
- Designing appropriate curricula and teaching materials,
- Providing special furniture, equipment, aids and infrastructure.
Albert Tembo is a teacher trainer at the Zambia Institute of Special Education (ZAMISE). He is currently studying for an M Phil degree at the University of Manchester. He is contactable through EENET.