There is an urgent need for qualified primary school teachers in Zambia. Enrollment in primary schools doubled from 1.6 million in 2002 to 3.2 million in 2009. This increase was a result of a 2002 initiative to help make public education accessible to all by abolishing primary school fees as well as a strategic emphasis by the Zambian Government to increase learner access to education opportunities.
Though the initiative was a step in the right direction, it has stressed the education system. Today there are large inequalities in educational access between rural and urban areas and a pupil-to-teacher ratio that exceeds 48:1 in some rural areas. Overall, UNESCO estimates that another 130,000 teachers must be trained to reach universal primary education by 2030.
Humana People to People and its local partner DAPP Zambia are working to bridge this gap. In 2009 the organizations signed an agreement with the Government to construct and operate eight DNS teacher-training colleges. DAPP recently established the first of these colleges: the DAPP Mkushi College of Education in Mkushi District. The training program spans two years and conforms with the Ministry of Education’s Zambia Teacher Education Course.
Preschool education is also a vital investment for the country’s future, setting an early foundation for life-long learning. DAPP is a strong proponent of early education and in 2012 alone supported 103 preschools, with over 4,000 pupils. DAPP is also currently implementing a UNICEF project on early childcare, development and education. The project titled “Improving Access to ECCDE for Children in Central, Luapula and Northern Provinces of Zambia” has already rolled out its activities in Mumba, Chibombo, Samfya and Mungwi Districts. The project will reach 10,000 children in 700 villages.
DAPP Zambia is a non-governmental organization registered under the Societies Act of Zambia since 1990. It has a total of 450 staff who implement a wide variety of projects, benefiting approximately 1 million people annually.