The first schools in Zambia were founded in the 1880s by
missionaries. British influence from the colonial era is
great, with English as the language of instruction. The
school system consists of a 7-year fee-free and formally
compulsory primary school and a 5-year secondary school, the
latter divided into a 3-year and a 2-year stage. The
majority (about 90%) of the children in each year of primary
school start primary school. The secondary school prepares
either directly for professional life or for further studies
at university, teacher's college or technical college. In
addition to the primary and secondary schools, there are
dozens of vocational schools. The availability of teachers
has long been insufficient and there is a shortage of both
teaching rooms and teaching materials, which prevented a
general literacy of the population. In 2009, UNESCO
estimated that 71% of the population over the age of 15 (81%
of men and 61% of women) were literate. In 2008, the
education sector accounted for 1.3% of government spending.
In 1966, a university was opened in Lusaka, and another one
was added in Kitwe. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Zambia.
Zambia openly supported the liberation movements in
neighboring countries, nationalized the copper, was one of
the initiators of CIPEC (the Copper Producing Countries
Association), and in 1970 hosted the 3rd Alliance Free
In 1974, the Tan-Zam railway was opened, giving Zambia
access to the Indian Ocean through Tanzania . The railway
was built with Chinese assistance and made Zambia
independent of the railway through Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia),
still controlled by the apartheid regime in this country.
That same year, colonial-fascist rule in Portugal fell ,
opening up the independence of Mozambique and Angola.
Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 provided considerable
relief to Zambia, who had to bear high costs in the war
against the apartheid regime. Zambia, however, continued to
be attacked by forces from South Africa who intervened to
attack Namibian refugees. On September 16, a South
African-backed coup attempt against Kaunda failed. However,
it caused the government to declare the country in a state
of emergency and impose curfew. A number of people from the
government, business and a number of foreigners were
detained on suspicion of involvement in the plot, and after
a lengthy trial, 7 of them were found guilty and hanged.
Kaunda surrounded himself with old comrades from the
independence struggle, which created tensions with the
younger sectors, declaring that after the country's
independence, it was not necessary to continue living in
war. At the same time, they asked questions of one-party
state . However, the conflict diminished after the 1983
election, with Kaunda receiving 93% of the vote.
The lack of rainfall since 1981 meant that 300,000 people
were facing immediate food shortages. In the world market,
the price of copper fell steadily, which in 1984 forced the
government to implement price increases of up to 70% on
basic foods. The rising cost of living triggered reactions
from unions affiliated with the Zambia Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), and in 1985 the country was shaken by a
series of strikes that the government cracked down on.
At the end of the year, the government decided to raise
the price of cornmeal in order to meet IMF conditions for a
$ 200 million loan for the period 1986-87. The rise in
prices triggered violent protests in the mining region in
the country's northern part. The result of 3 days of
protests and looting was 15 kills and $ 90 million in
losses. In May 1987, Kaunda changed its policy towards the
IMF, limiting interest rates and repayments on foreign debt
to 10% of the country's export earnings.
With a turnout of only 55%, Kaunda was re-elected as
president in 1988, but in the 1991 election (which had been
accelerated for 2 years due to the chaotic economic
situation) he was beaten by Frederick Chiluba, who had a
professional background and got 81 % of votes. The following
year, Kaunda also resigned as President of UNIP.