Education System In Zambia

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For this assignment, we compared the Zambian and American public education systems with a focus on secondary education. We chose to concentrate on public education because public schools instruct the majority of Zambian and American students. Our discussion highlights how social-economic stratification structures the education systems in the U.S. and Zambia. Within the American public school system, there are several different types of educational institutions available; however, accessibility is dependent on the options obtainable within the school district. For example, American public education offers secondary students the opportunity to attend magnet programs, vocational and technical training, online classes, and charter schools.…show more content…
Government-run, secondary schools are not free and students are required to provide their own books, stationery and uniform. Therefore, most lower-income students do not have access to secondary education. Moreover, there are limited secondary school in rural areas; and these are usually located in the provincial headquarters. Thus, students in rural communities must overcome geographical and socio-economic challenges in order to receive higher education. The influence of class politics in the Zambian education system is reflected in several areas of education. For instance, the failure of the government to pass the 1976 legislative draft that would have led to education reform aimed to benefit the poor and restructure the hierarchical, pyramidal, and inegalitarian formal educational system (Alexander, 2003). Among other issues, the draft intended to develop adult and continuing education for a vast, uneducated population a decade after independence (Alexander, 2003). Additionally, significant to Zambian education system is a massive education expansion, following its independence in 1964. However, this expansion was rather ambitious and by 1970, the set objectives had not been met due to inadequate funding which resulted in the few teachers in rural areas moving to urban areas for better opportunities (Simpozya, n.d., p. 139). Since then, the Zambian government has continued to implement policies…show more content…
Trickling down from colonial rule, the schools have continued to favor the dominant, urban, minority groups (Alexander, 2003). The current Zambian government has maintained a Westernized education system, which is evidenced in Zambia's national curriculum. However, insufficient funding, teacher education, and lack of resources has made it difficult for low-income students to receive the intended quality education within the new curriculum guidelines. Additionally, the government has recently curtailed free education. In the mid-1980s primary and junior secondary levels were merged to form basic education that spanned from grades 1-9 (CDC, 2013, p. 3), this was especially beneficial in rural areas to help children advance in education due to shortage of secondary schools in their communities. However, since 2012 Zambia has reverted to the British, colonial system that provided a 7,5,4 system of education i.e. 7 years primary school, 5 years secondary and 4 years tertiary (Ministry of Finance, 2014, p. 99), which was initially discontinued in the hope to providing further basic education to the majority population. Furthermore, our comparison has shown that even though Zambia and the U.S. are underpinned by democratic governments, they operate undemocratic education systems. Both countries illustrate how inequitable education systems have significant social ramifications and exacerbate the effects of

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