School and Education in Zambia


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.

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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 States Summit.

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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.

Zambia Country Flag

Zambia flag source:

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. See for all countries starting with Z.

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.