Tag Archives: Zambia Open Community Schools

Mukuyu Community School

Zambia Open Community Schools Final Evaluation Report

Over the course of 12 months, Book Aid International worked in partnership with Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) to set up libraries in 15 community schools in the Lusaka and Central provinces of Zambia. The project Final Evaluation Report has now been published.

Project background

Community schools in Zambia are vital for the thousands of children who cannot get to or afford to attend a government school, however these schools do not receive any government funding and often operate with very few resources, including books. The project aimed to improve the quality of education in community schools in Zambia by providing each of the 15 schools with new books and teacher training.

Each school received 1,500 brand new books from the UK, 300 local curriculum books and two trunks in which to store their books. Two teachers from each school also attended workshops in how to manage their library and make use of books in the classroom.

Key findings

Lessons learned by the evaluation include:

– New reading periods have been established that are likely to help improve pupils’ reading in the short to medium term.
– Lending books to children is only taking place in three out of five schools because teachers fear the books would not be returned.
– Teachers reported an average 191% increase in their knowledge of library related matters since the project began.
– Teachers are using books in the classroom to teach multiple subjects. One teacher reported using a science book called ‘The Human Body’ to teach biology and another used a book about Volcanoes to teach a geography lesson.
– Teachers are using creativity to improve learning environments. Some teachers have used maize sacks to create book pockets on their classroom walls. Drawing children’s attention to books generates interest and can lead to more reading.

Read the full report



Dedame school

Literacy: a life-changing chance for children in Zambia

Our partner Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) provides quality schooling and education for children  who cannot attend government schools. Often, children in Zambia miss out on their opportunity to attend government school, either because the nearest school is too far away or because their families cannot afford school uniforms or exercise books. We partner with them in this work by donating brand new books to ensure community schools have libraries that are well stocked with new and relevant books. Cleo Muma, Programme and Advocacy Manager at ZOCS tells us how the books are used in the schools and the difference they make to the students.

Kububa Community School is located in Mayukwayukwa Refugee Camp in Kaoma District in the Western Province of Zambia. The school has a total of 544 learners, both boys and girls. The school has 12 untrained Community School teachers, four classrooms and currently caters for Early Childhood Education through to grade 7.

In Zambia, English is taken as a subject in early grades and young children are taught in their local language, which in this area is Lozi. From Grade 5 onwards though, English becomes the language of instruction in almost all subjects so it’s important that learners are slowly introduced to English during their education up to this point. Unless this happens, the transition to English as the language of instruction can be very challenging and it’s a time when many children drop out of school.

Until recently, Kububa Community School lacked the appropriate learning materials to introduce children in early grades to English and as a result learners had little understanding of English when they had to make the full transition in Grade 5.

In 2015, Kububa Community School’s dream of improving their literacy levels came to reality when Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) visited the school and distributed books from Book Aid International. The books are colourful, simple phonics books, designed to help young readers learn the basics of spelling and building words in English. By using these simple books, children were able to identify, sound out, read and write simple words in English after just a term in school.

ZOCS - children reading

“Phonics provides the key that unlocks the mystery of reading and education is the greatest equaliser in life” says Dorcus, who is one of the children at Kububa Community School.

Teachers are now encouraging children to apply themselves to their reading. They give prizes such as sweets or even applause from the rest of the class for children who are making the most effort to improve in their reading.

ZOCS - books handed out

“Children need to have a good grasp of phonics in order to learn to read and write. They need to know their letter sounds and how to segment and blend. Phonics teaching has proved to be easier than the schemes we were using before. We thank Book Aid International and ZOCS who have deliberately chosen to complement Government efforts of improving literacy levels in all communities.” Mr. Chikwekwe, Refugee Camp Co-ordinator.

Kububa Community School students are now some of the most confident, vibrant and enthusiastic children in the district and their literacy rates have improved greatly.

We are proud to be able to support ZOCS in their important work to bring education to vulnerable children in Zambia. Last year we sent 28,505 new books to ZOCS for use in schools. You can find out more about our work with ZOCS in this short film or by reading Cleo’s story of her work with the organisation.