Learnings from Local Context: New Survey on EduFinance Zambia Activity Shows Encouraging Results Across 19 Zambian Schools

USAID CATALYZE
4 min readNov 21, 2023
Students celebrate the launch of a new PEAS school in Zambia / Credit: PEAS

For learners in remote areas of Zambia, accessing high-quality education is more than just a physical barrier. In the country’s northern region, only 67% of students go on to attend high school as a result of geographic disparities. But even for those who do, their educational prospects are limited. Data from the Program for International Student Assessment-Development (PISA-D) found that only five percent of 15-year-old test takers reach minimum reading proficiency. The need for improved education access and quality in Zambia is essential.

Recognizing this, the CATALYZE EduFinance Zambia Activity is supporting the Targeted Intervention for Excellence in Education in Zambia (TIEEZ) program to deliver high-quality secondary education to marginalized students in remote and underserved areas. In collaboration with our partner, Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS), we’re working to improve learning outcomes for children and youth in Zambia by increasing access to finance for parents and non-state schools and improving education quality.

In September 2023, 19 PEAS supported schools in the Kasama and Mungwi Districts in Zambia were asked to participate in an anonymous survey to measure the impact of their induction into the TIEEZ program. Teachers, school leaders, and administrators were asked to rate the impact that CATALYZE and PEAS support have had in three target areas — school access (enrolment rates), education quality, and school management.

90 percent of school leaders Zambia ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that PEAS’ support has improved enrolment rates

The survey revealed that 90 percent of school leaders either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that the support of PEAS had helped to improve their enrollment rates. The results related to education quality were equally encouraging — 100 percent of survey participants either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that PEAS’ support had helped their schools to improve the quality of education. An additional 95 percent of schools reported having improved or taken action in each quality area (teaching and learning, child protection, and leadership and management), suggesting that the TIEEZ program has facilitated improvements in target-setting, teacher monitoring, and child protection. The program may have also expanded beyond the targeted schools — 15 schools reported that they have continuously shared elements of PEAS best practices with fellow colleagues and education professionals.

One participant expressed that the support provided was not only relevant to their setting, but it enabled knowledge exchange and helped primary schools to equip students with the skills needed for their next steps in education.

The gradual release model, a PEAS instructional best practice where teachers strategically transfer the responsibility in the learning process from the teacher to the students, made a particular impact for one school leader. “Our school received support through lesson planning, preparation and teaching using the gradual release model,” they said. “This support resulted in detailed planning and inclusiveness as teachers can identify and plan for learners needing special attention.”

Strong school management is another key priority for EduFinance Zambia. The average rating for PEAS’ support to improving leadership and management across the 19 schools was 4.7 out of 5 (94 percent).

What’s next?

Through our partnership with PEAS, CATALYZE EduFinance Zambia expands access to quality non-state education through an innovative public-private partnership model that aims to improve learning outcomes for low-income students in underserved communities. Throughout March 2024, CATALYZE and PEAS will continue collect school capacity data through March 2024 to target and improve enrolment rates, as well as provide continual support to school leaders throughout the TIEEZ implementation progress.

About CATALYZE EduFinance

CATALYZE EduFinance (September 2019–2025) uses a blended finance approach to test models that improve and sustain learning outcomes for children and youth globally, particularly those most vulnerable. CATALYZE pilots multiple models in 12 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, supporting local education stakeholders in state and non-state education in early childhood development; primary and secondary education; technical and vocational education; and improving enabling environments. Pilot activities implemented by EduFinance are complemented by a global community of practice, the Education Finance Network.

CATALYZE EduFinance has partnered with PEAS in Zambia to increase the provision and demand for quality education in Zambia, with a particular focus on locally owned, non-state primary schools. Read more stories from EduFinance here.

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