The nationwide re-opening of examination classes since 1 June has increased demand for guidelines and protocols, PPE and sanitary-hygiene materials, and face masks at schools.
High need for access to different distance learning platforms and self-study materials especially for children in hard-to reach areas. Continuity of learning is a challenge to many vulnerable children who cannot access TV, radio and on-line learning and other platforms that have been established by the Ministry of General Education (MoGE).
High need for nationwide assessment of school readiness for re-opening of schools’ examination classes to identify gaps and challenges and to inform interventions and preparations for re-opening of non-examination classes.
The continued closure of non-examination classes continues to disrupt learning for over 3 million children and adolescents and the provision of critical services, including school feeding programs for disadvantaged children.
Prolonged school closure of non-examination classes still puts children especially girls, at increased risk of teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse, child marriage and other harmful practices.
Many schools in the rural area are under-resourced and poor equipped to provide support to the students learning at home, parents are unable to support children’s learning, widening the equity gap between the well-off and worse-off in learning, potentially leading to life-long negative impact.
The most disadvantaged and vulnerable children, including girls, those with special educational needs and living in poor hard to reach areas are not prioritized either by the government or partners. Distance learning opportunities have to be adjusted to their needs.
MoGE, with the support of partners, developed its COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan, which informs overall sector strategies and priorities. The plan prioritized continuity of learning through systematically strengthening the alternative and distance learning opportunities for all children, including most disadvantaged and vulnerable and preparations for re-opening of schools through holistic support to education systems, teachers and children.
At least 10,269 schools have been supported with PPE and sanitary-hygiene supplies, capacity building of teachers, sensitization of parents/ caregivers to support children’s distance learning and back to school.
In collaboration with partners, MoGE started airing TV and radio learning contents for Grade 1 to 12 on different TV and radio stations and set up systems and programs to support teachers’ training through different ICT platforms, teaching, and learning instructions.
Sector partners supported the production and airing of child-friendly radio messages in local languages on COVID-19 on the national radio station, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, in four community radio stations in Western, Southern, Copper belt and Eastern provinces.
The transmission of the radio learning has commenced for Grade 5 to 7 in three core subjects (English, Maths, and Integrated Science) across all 10 provinces through national radio station ZNBC and community radios. Radio contents for Grade 1 to Grade 4 have been translated into 7 languages, currently under quality assurance.
Partners supported MoGE in printing of self-study materials, community sensitization on COVID-19, provision of instructions to 166 schools on leadership and on how to enhance teaching and learning.
Lack of teachers’ capacity on distance and alternative education in addition to lack of distance learning materials for primary level in local languages.
Inadequate and unstable communication infrastructure and electricity coverage in rural locations.
Difficulty in remotely monitoring children’s learning progress by teachers, schools and caregivers.
Lack of distance learning and self-study materials adapted to the needs of children with special education needs subsequently reflected in the inability of teachers to adopt to the situation.
Absence of empirical data on children and schools per area, age and type of interventions.